The late 80ies action cinema. There’s something magic, something unique and often something silly in it. Sometimes we remember those movies in a nostalgic way and when we rewatch them we remind ourselves that this is actually pretty good and fun. Now do Arnold Schwarzenegger’s two movies stand the test of time?
(USA 1985, director: Richard Fleischer)
It’s funny that Schwarzenegger’s face and body is so prominently shown on the cover (at least of the UK BD), even though he doesn’t appear that often in the movie. And when he does he usually runs against the general idea of it, mainly the fearless, mighty female warrior fighting against evil. Arnie always shows up when she’s in distress, again stressing the “damsel in distress” cliché, and of course the romance doesn’t really work. So what about the rest of the movie? Some bad acting, yes, some bad special effects, yes and a rather dull story, yes of course. But is it still fun? In a way, one can enjoy the overall silliness (especially with two other characters, an annoying little prince and his clumsy companion). The music is great too, so are the background visuals, the fantasy vistas. There’s also quite a memorable fight in the water (which looks a bit dated, sure, but it’s pretty cool nonetheless). Still there’s not enough suspense or humour to keep you interested all the way through, especially since the scenes feel pretty disconnected and don’t form a coherent whole.
(USA 1988, director: Walter Hill)
A polit-thriller with Arnie? Does this actually work? It does in a weird kinda way, so does his usually atrociously bad acting as it fits his role, the same goes for his imitation of a Russian accent which isn’t as annoying as his typical American-Austrian mix.
The story itself is a bit boring and lacks some memorable action scenes or suspense, but what works rather well is the relationship between Schwarzenegger’s and Belushi’s characters. They could have used a bit more screen time together, but when they have their moments, especially when they discuss their past or more entertainingly their different methods of interrogation, it works beautifully.
Of course there’s a political undertone and a message behind the buddy-movie jokes and action scenes, but just like Walter Hill’s The Warriors one could easily forget about it and just watch it as an entertainment flick. It does to a certain degree deliver some fun, but there are way better action buddy-movies out there, even though some one-liners are pretty good.