Four Em­pire writ­ers dis­sect the di­verse out­put of The Aus­trian Oak

Empire (UK) - - REVIEW -

Chris: You can break Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger’s ca­reer down into three parts. There’s the Arnold The Ac­tion Hero part in the ’80s and early ’90s, where he killed ev­ery­body on the planet at least twice and be­came the big­gest ac­tion star in the world. Then there’s Fam­ily-friendly Arnie, where he made a se­ries of ex­e­crable come­dies, in which his edges are dulled a lit­tle bit. Then he takes the break to…

He­len: Be Gover­nor of Cal­i­for­nia, then the world’s eighth-largest econ­omy.

Chris: Then he comes back and makes a whole bunch of movies. There’s a more se­ri­ous side. He’s try­ing to stretch him­self as an ac­tor.

He­len: I think that’s fair. There’s a bit of over­lap be­tween the first two pe­ri­ods.

James: Weirdly, he’s more proud of his come­dies than he is of his ac­tion films. Twins is one of his all-time favourite films. Nick: Twins is his best com­edy. Peo­ple for­get that Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger starred in a Robert Alt­man movie, The Long Good­bye.

Chris: Starred is a very loose term for what Arnold does in that film.

Nick: So he did have an art­house phase. It only lasts for ten sec­onds of screen­time.

Chris: He was around for a long time be­fore he hit it big with Co­nan The Bar­bar­ian.

James: It is worth bear­ing in mind that he came to act­ing quite late in life. He had al­ready gone to the top of two ca­reers. He had be­come the most suc­cess­ful body builder in his­tory and then he be­came a multi-mil­lion­aire through his prop­erty busi­ness be­fore he even be­came an ac­tor. He puts us all to fuck­ing shame on ev­ery level.

Chris: Not phys­i­cally, pal.

He­len: I’ve been to the gym twice this week.

Nick: And he learned to drive tanks and stuff.

Chris: An­other Arnold story I like is that for The Ter­mi­na­tor, he de­cided that be­cause he was a ro­bot from the fu­ture, he wouldn’t blink. He went down to the fir­ing range and shot thou­sands upon thou­sands of rounds. And taught him­self not to blink.

Nick: Has Daniel Day-lewis done that? I think not.

Chris: Here’s one of my con­tro­ver­sial opin­ions: Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger is a bet­ter ac­tor than many peo­ple give him credit for.

James: I agree.

He­len: I agree.

Chris: That was less con­tro­ver­sial than I thought it was go­ing to be.

James: Peo­ple say he’s a ter­ri­ble ac­tor, but he’s not. He wasn’t great when he started out. That’s true of many peo­ple.

Nick: He has an in­ten­sity and grav­i­tas in his more se­ri­ous films. A lot of other ac­tion stars don’t have that. Chuck Nor­ris does not have that.

He­len: I put Es­cape Plan in my top ten. It’s not a good film but it’s a good Arnold per­for­mance.

Chris: I also think that he is bril­liant in

Preda­tor. He is gen­uinely great. In the last 20 min­utes when it’s just him and that space beastie, he con­veys real fear and cun­ning. It’s a non-ver­bal per­for­mance. He’s great.

He­len: I agree. I think Preda­tor

is un­der­rated.

Chris: Again, con­tro­ver­sial opin­ion: I think it’s his best film.

James: I agree.

Chris: What the hell is go­ing on with my con­tro­ver­sial opin­ions to­day?

He­len: It’s re­ally great.

James: It’s a toss-up be­tween this and

Ter­mi­na­tor 2. They are both phe­nom­e­nal films, but ev­ery­thing I love about Arnold is in Preda­tor. He is 100 per cent raw mas­culin­ity in that film. It’s glo­ri­ously over-the-top. It’s ut­terly ab­surd. It’s fright­en­ing, it’s thrilling, it’s ex­cit­ing, it’s funny.

Nick: I think Arnie is unique. Some of his worst films are his best films. Com­mando

is ob­jec­tively a garbage film. But I could sit and talk about it all day.

Chris: Com­mando is a five-star one-star film. It is an ob­jec­tively bad film.

Nick: It’s all about the gra­tu­itous­ness of it. Ev­ery­thing it does, it does too big. It’s got too loud an out­side voice.

Chris: It has some of the best Arnold kills and some of the best Arnold one-lin­ers. It has — con­tro­ver­sial opin­ion — the best Arnold movie vil­lain that is not played by Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger.

James: Not con­tro­ver­sial. It’s Ver­non Wells.

Nick: Pretty con­tro­ver­sial. You’re say­ing Ben­nett is bet­ter than the T-1000?

Chris: Yes.

Nick: That is ob­jec­tively in­sane. One is one of the great­est vil­lains in movie his­tory. The other is an over­weight Aus­tralian in a chain­mail wifebeater.

Chris: I knew sooner or later one of my con­tro­ver­sial opin­ions would ac­tu­ally prove con­tro­ver­sial.

He­len: It’s not even con­tro­ver­sial, it’s just silly.

James: Ev­ery­one should be forced to see

Com­mando ev­ery day.

He­len: No. I saw Com­mando be­cause you all banged on about it cease­lessly. It is shit. En­ter­tain­ingly shit, but it is ter­ri­ble.

James: Nowhere have steel drums been used bet­ter than in that film.

He­len: That’s not a rec­om­men­da­tion!

Nick: Steven E. de Souza, who wrote

Com­mando, he and John Mctier­nan were two guys who knew how to use Arnie. Not many knew what to do with him. And James Cameron is the ul­ti­mate Arnie col­lab­o­ra­tor.

He­len: I agree. The Ter­mi­na­tor, it’s al­most un­be­liev­able once you’ve seen it that he was ever think­ing of Lance Hen­rik­sen for that role.

Chris: He’s ter­ri­fy­ing in that film.

He­len: He’s so scary. I think it’s good to use the weight and the height and the enor­mous­ness of him like that.

Nick: I’m not a huge fan of the first one, to be hon­est. Sorry, that is a con­tro­ver­sial opin­ion. It’s fine, but it’s not a film I pull out and watch very of­ten. If I want to watch a Ter­mi­na­tor film, I go for

Ter­mi­na­tor 2.

Chris: I thought you were go­ing to say

Ter­mi­na­tor 3.

James: They’re dif­fer­ent gen­res.

The Ter­mi­na­tor is a flat-out hor­ror film. Ter­mi­na­tor 2 is an un­de­ni­ably bet­ter film than The Ter­mi­na­tor. It’s an ab­so­lute mas­ter­piece.

Chris: Right, enough squab­bling. Let’s vote!


To lis­ten to the full Sch­warzeneg­ger de­bate as a pod­cast, go to www.em­pire on­­cast

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