Arnold Schwarzenegger: Luck Or Judgement?

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Tom Pheby don't do dis kind of verk...

You could be forgiven for thinking that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a lucky guy. Possibly blessed by god himself. Or perhaps he's the owner of a pair of magic pants that give him the ability to control the minds of others in a positive way. Because, let's face it, Arnie is not a looker in the traditional Hollywood sense, he's not a naturally gifted actor or a man capable of delivering convincing Shakespeare with consummate ease. Could you imagine old muscle head bursting out of the wings in a frilly ruff, holding a skull aloft and saying "Alas poor Yor-ick. I knew him 'vell' ... Baby."

But he managed to rise to the top of the Hollywood elite, marry one of the Kennedy clan, became governor of California and maintain a chest that could provide shelter to a medium sized school boy from an ensuing storm. Yes Mr Schwzznibbler (I can't keep typing it) has had his share of good fortune.

But here's the thing, a lot, in fact most of Arnie's films have been rubbish. Often the cinematic equivalent of purchasing a previously used toilet role. Take for example Twins, who can forget that? (well, everyone apparently). A 'comedy' film that relies upon the single hysterical concept of 'he's big and he's little and they're twins'. Hilarious!

"Keep smiling Arnie our careers aren't over just yet."

Apparently they're making a sequel with Eddie Murphy, because who doesn't want to see 'he's big and he's little and he's black and they're triplets'. Oh my aching sides!

Then there's Kindergarten Cop, or flop as I refer to it, Junior, Jingle all the way, Batman & Robin, Terminator 3, the recent Terminator (something to do with Phil Collins), End of Days, Collateral Damage, The 6th Day, Raw Deal - and that was just how I felt after paying to see the movie!

I could go on, but jeez! Normally that would be enough bad films to end a career and begin a new one selling sausages at the deli counter in Big Jeff's super discount minimart.

Karl, now working at Big Jeff's, shows off his wiener to almost anyone these days since he failed to capture the publics imagination as Chewbacca's love interest 'Goike.'

But no, although Schwelitzer has had more than his fair share of stinkers, he has either by accident or accidentally on purpose starred enough brilliant movies to keep him firmly in the minds of the public for the last 30 years. Allowing him to puff on an endless supply of cigars and eventually reach the dizzying height of starring opposite a pair of meerkats in a commercial flogging something or another.

But it wasn't all meerkats and glory. The Austrian had a shaky start. His first role came in 1969's Hercules In New York, a truly awful film where he was credited as "Arnold Strong 'Mr. Universe'". His first 'big' break came in 1982 with Conan The Barbarian. It was like watching Pinocchio in a sword infested porn movie, and even worse it spawned a sequel! "Conan the Librarian" or something, i don't remember but it had Grace Jones in and that says it all! Still Arnie sucked it up, bad reviews 'anall '.

Good fortune came Schwizwiglers way when James Cameron decided that the public wouldn't be able to accept O.J Simpson in the role of a vicious killer - irony is a tool I will be using quite heavily in this section of the blog - and so Arnie assumed the role of the Terminator, and it seemed to fit like a glove (unlike O.J's). He had struck gold, speaking just 18 lines and less than 100 words. He probably thought "Dis is a cushy gig!"  - a cushy gig that took $78.4 million at the box office, an astronomical figure for its day.

"I'll be back .... 'Agin and Agin until zay stop paying me too."

Fast forward to 1987 and a John McTiernan film entitled 'Predator'. It seems 20th Century Fox stumbled across it by accident and didn't know what to do with it, passing it to rising star Shane Black, who immediately thought of Arnie and John McTiernan. Yet the Austrian had reservations with elements of the script. Schwarzenegger said,
"The first thing I look for in a script is a good idea, a majority of scripts are rip-offs of other movies. People think they can become successful overnight. They sat down one weekend and wrote a script because they read that Stallone did that with Rocky. Predator was one of the scripts I read, and it bothered me in one way. It was just me and the alien. So we re-did the whole thing so that it was a team of commandos and then I liked the idea. I thought it would make a much more effective movie and be much more believable. I liked the idea of starting out with an action-adventure, but then coming in with some horror and science fiction"
The big fella strikes gold with a jungle/Sci Fi yarn.

Arnie flexes his muscles as Dutch, the leader of a bunch of gun waving mercenaries, dropped in the jungle on a recon mission which leads to an encounter with a barbaric Alien being (more irony, oh those poor defenseless mercenaries).

Predator is certainly my favourite film of the big mans and gets viewed about once every two months in our house. It's also the one where I like to copy the line he delivers to Carl Weathers (Dillon) upon finding out his team have been misled "I don't do dis kind of verk" - brilliant

Then in 1990, director Paul Vehoeven cast A.S (initials! Note to self, should've gone with initials earlier) as Quaid in Total Recall. Playing a construction worker who has dreams of visiting Mars, he sets about buying memory implants from Rekall, a pioneering brain' messeruperer' of a company. It's a tremendously fun yarn and although Arnie is as wooden as a oak dining table the movie has a certain undeniable charm missing from the dire 2012 reboot.

Arnie catches a futuristic cab driven by wax faced comedian Jimmy Carr.

Most actors don't get to appear in one excellent film, let alone three (and I'm ignoring sequels here before you all shout Terminator 2), and whether it was by choice, intuition or just plain dumb luck, Arnold Schwarzenegger popped up at the right place, right time, and landed some absolute corkers.

Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter

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