The name “Arnold Schwarzenegger” is synonymous with action hero. Of course, the musclebound Austrian has made successful comedies (Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Junior), acclaimed biopics (The Jayne Mansfield Story), and even the outstanding Bob Rafelson drama, Stay Hungry. But it is for his action flicks that Arnie is most beloved.
Surprisingly, many of his pure action films are entirely forgettable, but Schwarzenegger’s sci-fi movies are among the very best of the genre. Intelligent, effects-laden, two-fisted, The Terminator, T2, Predator, Total Recall and The Running Man are classic Arnold.
Role: The Terminator, an evil cyborg from the future.
Plot: An evil cyborg from the future has been sent back in time to kill the mother of the leader of an insurrection against evil cyborgs so that he will never be born.
Coolest Moment: The Terminator without his skin on.
Freaky Bit Part: Bill Paxton as “Punk Leader.”
Defining Arnold-ism: “I’ll be back.”
Terminator 2: Judgment Night
Role: The Terminator, a good cyborg from the future.
Plot: A good cyborg from the future has been sent back in time by the leader of an insurrection against evil cyborgs to protect the insurrection leader as a kid from an evil cyborg sent back in time to kill him.
Coolest Moment: Dueling Terminators.
Freaky Bit Part: Unhappily Ever After’s busty beauty Nikki Cox as “Girl.”
Defining Arnold-ism: “Hasta la vista, baby!”
Role: Dutch, leader of a badass commando unit.
Plot: The CIA hires an elite squad of commandos to rescue downed airmen in the jungles of South America. The badasses soon find themselves being hunted by an alien sportsman who wants a few humans for his trophy room.
Coolest Moment: Soldiers exfoliate the jungle by spraying it with artillery fire. Their ammo spent, the only sound is the giant barrel of a cannon still spinning.
Freaky Bit Part: Lethal Weapon scribe and Hollywood Man-About-Town Shane Black as “Hawkins.”
Best Arnold-ism: “If it bleeds, we can kill it.”
Role: Quaid, a construction worker.
Plot: Quaid visits a false memory implant service to take an imaginary trip to Mars. The process goes horribly wrong and Quaid develops another personality that’s somehow involved in a Martian revolution.
Coolest Moment: Quaid, disguised as an old lady, explodes.
Freaky Bit Part: Sharon Stone as “Lori,” Quaid’s highkicking wife.
Best Arnold-ism: “If I am not me, then who the hell am I?”
The Running Man
Role: Ben Richards, a man accused of a crime he didn’t commit
Plot: In the future, executions are not only public, they’re televised. Running Man, a popular game show, pits convicted felons against each other in a deadly guantlet into which Ben Richards is thrust.
Coolest Moment: Ben Richards cuts a dude in half with a chainsaw.
Freaky Bit Part: Dweezil Zappa and Mick Fleetwood as “Stevie” and “Mic,” members of the Underground.
Best Arnold-ism: “I don’t do requests.”