Arnold Schwarzenegger

Total Recall (1990)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Total Recall (1990)

Director:

Paul Verhoeven

Writers:

Ronald Shusett

Dan O’Bannon

Jon Povill

Gary Goldman

Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Rachel Ticotin

Sharon Stone

Ronny Cox

Michael Ironside

Blurb:

When a man goes in to have virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars implanted in his mind, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real – or is he?

Thoughts:

Out of Robocop, Total Recall, and Starship Troopers, Total Recall is the only film by Paul Verhoeven that I can watch. I’ve seen the others several times, but they’re too graphic for me to enjoy. I just do not like them. My poor husband loves them, but he’s nice enough to watch them when I’m not around. That being said, I don’t like Total Recall either. It just doesn’t bother me the same way the others do.

I have not read We Can Remember it Wholesale by Phillip K. Dick but just based on a Wikipedia read, it doesn’t sound like Total Recall followed it very closely. Maybe it would have been better if it had. The story seems to be trying too hard to make you question if it’s real or not. Specific plot points don’t make sense or are outright stupid. Personally, I prefer to think that it’s all fake and he wakes up back in his miserable life married to Sharon Stone, but there’s no way to know.

I should probably dedicate a paragraph to the two women in the movie, but I’m finding it difficult. Sharon Stone is a spy married to Arnold, who’s supposed to keep him distracted with her body, so he doesn’t remember his past life. Or is she? He’s supposed to remember his life eventually, so why is she there exactly? Then you’ve got Rachel Ticotin, who’s a member of the rebels and in love with Arnold. She is his contact with the rebels and the woman he’s really interested in. She gets jealous that he was with Sharon Stone but quickly gets over it because she loves him so much. The women don’t have much in the way of personality and are very similar. Both love Arnold, and both can fight.

The special effects in Total Recall are good for the time. Lots of eyes exploding and faces blowing up, plus a ton of bloody squibs. It was impressive and unrealistic enough not to bother me. It’s odd, I don’t mind action violence, but some movies just hit me wrong, and I can’t handle them. Certain types of hyper-violence make me physically ill.

Nineteen-ninety has been the year for movies my husband loves. I think Back to the Future Part III is the only one of my movies I’ve watched. I’ve still got one more movie of his for the year, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then I move on to a couple of mine. The nineties are an odd mixture of both of our tastes, so there will be some random whiplash to come.

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Director:

Ivan Reitman

Writers:

Murray Salem

Herschel Weingrod

Timothy Harris

Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Penelope Ann Miller

Pamela Reed

Linda Hunt

Richard Tyson

Carroll Baker

Blurb:

A tough cop must pose as a kindergarten teacher in order to locate a dangerous criminal’s ex-wife, who may hold the key to putting him behind bars.

Thoughts:

Kindergarten Cop is too dark to be considered a straight comedy. There are comedic scenes, but there are too many people killed for that category. It’s kind of interesting. It never goes full comedy. There’s always this menacing undertone. Schwarzenegger nails his funny lines, though, definitely a better comedy actor than Stallone.

What really shines in the film are the kids. Whoever wrote the dialogue for them nailed it. The one kid obsessed with death, the other that likes saying penis and vagina, and of course the twins that say something their parents would never want them to share.

There’s technically a romance subplot, but it’s not worth mentioning. The bad guy and his mother are terrifying, not like zombie scary but leaning Umbrage scary. They’re not quite over the top, which adds to the menacing undertone.

I wouldn’t say Kindergarten Cop is a good movie, but it’s definitely entertaining and worth a watch, even if it’s just to experience Schwarzenegger’s one-liners.

Commando (1985)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Commando (1985)

Director:

Mark L. Lester

Writers:

Jeph Loeb

Matthew Weisman

Steven E. de Souza

Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Rae Dawn Chong

Dan Hedaya

Vernon Wells

Alyssa Milano

Blurb:

A retired Special Forces colonel tries to save his daughter, who was abducted by his former subordinate.

Thoughts:

Commando wastes exactly zero time getting into things. It starts with bad guys killing people, then moves right into John Matrix, Arnold Schwarzenegger, carrying a tree trunk over his shoulder while also holding a chainsaw. There is no wasted time or bloat, and at a 90 minute running time, it’s the perfect length.

Whether they realize it or not, this is the movie most people think of when they think of 80s action movies. You’ve got the over-the-top hero who has a high body count and is virtually unstoppable. A clear bad guy that is, in this case, more than a little unhinged. Multiple one-liners and a basic plotline. It’s uncomplicated, and when the main goal is completed, the movie stops, no matter what else is up in the air.

One of my favorite parts of Commando is Rae Dawn Chong’s character. I love the way she handles herself around first the scummy henchman and then later Matrix. She doesn’t let either man push her around, well, Matrix to a degree, but when he isn’t around her, she immediately goes to the cops. Then she decides for herself to help him. When he’s bossy, she answers back. She doesn’t come off as a pushover. She’s not forceful and in your face, but she’s a survivor and has a say in what happens to her. I like her.

What is even better than all of that, Matrix and Chong’s character do not kiss. I love it! So many action movies put a couple in constant peril, with the male hero a lot of the time being a total dick to the woman while he’s saving the day, and then it ends with them kissing. I hateeeee that. Good for you for saving the day but after the way you treated her, why the fuck would she kiss you??? It’s such a male power fantasy trip at the woman’s expense, and it always bothers me.

Bennett, Vernon Wells, is wearing a crochet vest that is supposed to look like chainmail, and I will never be able to take him seriously or find him threatening. Every time he appears on the screen, I’m just looking at his vest and wondering if his grandma gave it to him and if he kills people who bring it up. There’s also the clear, nearly orgasmic faces he makes when facing off with Matrix at the end. Dude clearly has some more than homicidal feelings toward Matrix. It explains his hatred of Matrix’s daughter too. She has come between them.

I like Commando. It’s one of my husband’s movies, but I appreciate it for what it is. I like the idea of 80s action movies. There are several elements to them that I enjoy, but then there are several elements that I don’t. I like the action. I like how over the top they can be. I could use a little bit more thought put into the script, just a little bit. I’m not asking for a ton. I just want there to be something there. Even if it’s basic, I want it to make some sense. I also really do not like how they treat women. Commando is tipped more into the positive side of my list than the negative.

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Expendables 3

The Expendables 3 (2014)

Director:

Patrick Hughes

Starring:

Sylvester Stallone

Jason Statham

Jet Li

Harrison Ford

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Mel Gibson

Wesley Snipes

Dolph Lundgren

Randy Couture

Terry Crews

Kelsey Grammer

Antonio Banderas

Plot:

Barney augments his team with new blood for a personal battle: to take down Conrad Stonebanks, the Expendables co-founder and notorious arms trader who is hell bent on wiping out Barney and every single one of his associates.

Review:

It sucks that this movie got leaked, but then it sucks that they screwed over their fans and made the movie PG-13. I don’t expect much of a story from an Expendables movie but I do expect lots of blood, action, and violence. When the best part of the movie is the dialog you know that something is wrong.

The best parts were Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes, Harrison Ford, and Antonio Banderas. The kids might not have even been in the movie, though if they weren’t we wouldn’t have the awesome scenes with Grammer. I wasn’t expecting much from Banderas but he was crazy and not what I had anticipated. I expected more from Snipes, but apart from the beginning, he was barely in the movie.

Evidently the original cut was four hours long but obviously it couldn’t be that long so they cut a bunch. At least I hope that’s what it was, because there were a lot of parts where it was just what the hell? They had a dude for half an hour just jumping up an elevator shaft. They’d just cut to him randomly.

There are a lot of people in the Expendables movies but unlike the Avengers movies they have a hard time finding a good balance with characters. That’s actually something I wish they had done with these, have build up. One movie shows off how much of a badass this character is and then another movies does the same with another and then they team up to kick even more ass. But that hasn’t been done so I should just get over it.

I really liked the first two Expendables movies, they were on the cusp of being awesome and with each one they just fell a little short. They suffered from too many quick cuts, poor editing, and bad CG. This one had that times a hundred. My hope is that they cut a lot to get a PG-13 rating and that when the extended cut comes out on Blu-ray I get a better movie.

3/5

True Lies (1994)

movies-true-lies

Directed By:

James Cameron

Starring:

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Jamie Lee Curtis

Tom Arnold

Plot Synopsis:

Harry Tasker is a secret agent for the United States Government. For years, he has kept his job from his wife, but is forced to reveal his identity and try to stop nuclear terrorists when he and his wife are kidnapped by the terrorists.

Review:

I’ve watched True Lies a few times but it’s been a while. The other night it was on TV and even though it was edited all to hell I was still reminded what an awesome movie it is. It’s got good action, several laugh out loud moments, and Jamie Lee Curtis dancing in black sexy underwear. It doesn’t get much better than that.

With Hollywood’s love of sequels I wonder why this hasn’t gotten one? Is that something you’d be interested in? Reading more into it, it sounds like there was one in the works but no more.

4/5 stars