Before he became the legendary West Coast statesman and master orator that you know, Arnold "Ah-nold" Schwarzenegger permanently altered the leathery, vein-bejiggled face of pre-millennial action cinema. He changed it so much, in fact, that even today, two decades after his golden schnitzel days, we just can't stop rebooting the Arnold.
Like, literally. In Terminator: Salvation we seriously pressed a button and brought Arnold back to life as a naked CG cyborg. It was weird.
Last week Total Recall joined the graphically-enhanced club of post-millennial Arnold reboots whose membership already includes Terminator, Predator, and Conan The Barbarian. There's definitely a right way and a wrong way to reboot an Arnold movie. If you're going to cast a lithe Irish boytoy like Colin Ferrel in the lead role of dubious brain spy, you'd better make damn sure the plot holds up to that '80s ideal of slow-paced, campy creepiness. Given the prevalence of today's CG action template, that kind of pacing seems bloody unlikely.
I haven't seen the Recall reboot yet, so can't speak to it's success. But, in honor of yet another B-12 shot administered against doctor's orders directly into the immortal bicep of Arnold's legacy, here's three more meaty cuts from Cinema Schwarzenegger we'd like to see rebooted (and probably will):
Original Release: 2010
Anticipated Reboot: ~2017
Arnold Plays: A muscly gun guy
For those of you who missed it, The Expendable is kind of like the Horrible Bosses of action flicks—only let's just call it "Horrible People." Like Bosses, The Expendables features a crack team of recognizable character actors set loose in a virtually plotless playground of comic-violent riffage, basically just being themselves while all the things periodically fart and/or explode to death around them. The Ensemble Action Cast is a solid formula for a quick money-maker (and can also be really awesome, as The Untouchables reminds us) so really it's only a matter of time before we get another Expendables catered to a new generation of action hero. Who will comprise our new crack team of violent action dudes? Christian Bale, Vin Diesel, Daniel Craig…Jonah Hill? A CG Chuck Norris model made of interlocking fists? Anyone but the Twilight guys, pls thx.
The Running Man
Original Release: 1987
Anticipated Reboot: summer 2014
Arnold Plays: A contestant on the suckiest reality show EVER.
In your post-Hunger Games bloggery, you've no doubt run into angry usernames bashing Collins' adolescent death match as a "total ripoff of The Running Man." Let's park that argument for now by saying "indentured death-matchery has literally existed since gladiator times," and just agree that our species is sad and deplorable and will probably never get over the thrill of death-themed entertainment. The Running Man, Stephen King's mid-'80s reaction to that morbid curiosity, was adapted into a movie that would not only influence generations of future writers and filmmakers, but also an entire genre of global television programming. Arnold's portrayal of an ex-soldier press-ganged into a reality show killfest in dystopian 2017 America is no remarkable break from his previous roles as a muscle-bound survivor; casting this reboot, then, isn't a huge concern. Tactfully recapturing the shifty and exploitative bent of reality TV programmers will be a director's greatest challenge in rebooting this cartoony gladiator brawl. Christopher Nolan or Bourne trilogy director Doug Liman could do a bang-up job.
Original Release: 1994
Anticipated Reboot: Any time now
Arnold Plays: An awesome secret agent whose wife and daughter think he's totally lame
We're just gonna go ahead and call it: True Lies is the most watchable movie of Arnold Schwarzenegger's career. It's funny, it's sexy, it's full of lotsa great fights, and 'splosions, and horse/car/foot/chopper chases—and, best of all, the heroes and villains who drive the action are all just regular schlubs who make terrible, terrible mistakes on the regular. As a suave, dangerous spy who must hide his badassery from a family who loathes him, Arnold is at his sympathetic best and becomes the butt of deliberate humor rather than stealing laughs through his typical ham-headedness. The inevitable reboot of this movie could be great—if the hypothetical director goes against the recent 21 Jump Street/Kick-Ass/Green Hornet trend of "comedic hero proves himself kind of awesome," and instead hires a lead actor who, like Arnold, can be both powerful and pathetic at once. Just imagine: a sexy, smirking John Hamm stripping out of his underwater spy tuxedo, stepping into the kitchen and getting immediately attacked with cold meatballs for missing another family dinner. Movie history: made.
Which Arnold reboots do you want to see, and who should star in them?