Friday, January 25, 2013

AHHnold is BACH!

I wasn't always a fan of Arnold.  He was a musclebound he-man that wanted to be in the movies.  He was a painful to watch in his early rolls.  Hercules in New York (1969) was godawful.  Even when he gained notoriety in the Conan the Barbarian franchise (1982 and 1984), he was a terrible actor.  It wasn't until James Cameron put him as the stoic cyborg hunter-killer in Terminator (1984) that I began to like Schwarzenegger.  Even in Terminator, Arnold didn't really have to act, he was a robot, all he had to do was look emotionless and kill people.  Arnold throughout most of his career wasn't an actor, he was an action guy.

When Cameron first approached Schwarzenegger, he was wanting Arnold to play the part of the good guy, Kyle Reece.  The Terminator part was originally supposed to go to a small more unassuming actor Lance Henriksen.  Lance would've made for a great T-1000 because he would've blended into the surroundings better.  I don't think a man Arnold's size could walk into a room without attracting everyone's attention.  Lance on the other hand could be just another face in the crowd.  It was Arnold that wanted the roll of the hunter-killer from the future.  He didn't want to be the good guy.  He saw being the Terminator as the prime character and he was right.

Ever since Terminator, I made sure to watch everything Arnold made since.  He made A LOT of movies I didn't care for, but I went to see them anyway.  For some reason I am drawn toward Schwarzenegger movies.  Through the years Arnold has tried stretch, tried his hand at comedies with some success.  Kindergarten Cop was okay.  Twins, so-so.  Junior, so-so. The romantic comedy True Lies was surprisingly entertaining.  Still though, I didn't think of him as an actor or much of a romantic lead, he was an action guy.  He could always deliver on the action.  I just didn't expect him to act.

Arnold re-entered the movies playing a bit part in Sly Stalone's Expendables.  Recently he had more presence in Expendables II.  There was a lot of shooting and things blowing up real good in the second movie but absolutely no storyline to it.  I was disappointed with the movie and left the theater thinking that Arnold wasn't even what he once was.  He seemed to be less the action guy, just a fellow rehashing the tired old movie tough guy quips.

Tonight Gina and went to see The Last Stand.  It's Arnold's first movie back in the starring roll.  Like I said, I am drawn to his movies.  I have to see them.  Gina wanted to go with me and I tried to down play it.  I didn't think that she would like it and I wasn't sure if I was going to either. 

I was surprised.  It was a great cast and a great story line.  Here's something that I didn't expect. Somewhere along the way, Schwarzenegger became an actor.  Yes, he's an action guy, but he can act.  Somewhere along the way the stoic awkwardness disappeared.  Yes, this is an action movie, but Arnold delivered more than ever before.

I think I can put my finger on it for you.  Arnold seems to wear his job of acting like a worn and comfortable leather jacket.  It fits him and he's relaxed.  He seems to not have to try.  He's not stoic or tough, not trying to be intimidating.  In The Last Stand he's playing a guy that's aged and laid back.  He's taking on the bad guys coming to town as a job he doesn't want to do but must.  When he gets knocked down, it aches to stand back up. He's not playing a tough guy.  As the movie unfolds, the story becomes like an old Western.  The bad guys are coming to town and somebodies got to take a stand.  There's a High Noon moment here.

This is a Gary Cooper  roll. This is a John Wayne roll.  The Last Stand is a great vehicle for Arnold to ride back into Hollywood.  I've read some bad reviews on this movie.  I was going expecting to be disappointed.  I wasn't.  I was expecting the same kind of action formula of his earlier blockbusters.  There's a little.  The Last Stand gave us a different Arnold, an Arnold that I would like to see more of.

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