The World According to Arnie – Hercules in New York (1970)
Growing up I didn’t watch a lot of TV or movies. I spent a lot of my time outdoors playing sports, at the beach or just tooling about on my BMX with my mates. When I did watch movies, I wasn’t in to fantasy or horror movies like a lot of other kids of the 80’s. Movies I liked pretty much fell in to three categories; sports themed movies like Karate Kid, Rocky or Major League; adventures like Back to the Future, Star Wars or Indiana Jones; and Arnie. Lots and lots of Arnie. Thankfully for me, my Dad didn’t’ really give a shit about the ratings system, and frequently rented me R18 ultra violent films like Commando, The Running Man and Predator. Seeing this blood and carnage at an early age, it’s a wonder that I’ve become the well adjusted person I am today.
Watching Arnie films is one of the many fond memories I have of my childhood, and in a bid to recapture my long lost youth, I have decided to celebrate the life and times of one Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger by reviewing all his films (which he has had at least a significant role in). Quite a few I haven’t actually seen, particularly early in his career. Some with good reason. Like Hercules in New York for instance.
God this movie is a piece of shit. It’s terribly acted, the storyline sucks, it’s completely shoddy and worst of all, after about 30 minutes (being generous) it’s fucking boring. The version I watched contains Arnies original dialogue, and actually made me wish I’d watched the dubbed version.
Hercules (Arnie, billed as Arnold Strong) is as dumb as dogshit and a whining little bitch to boot. On Mt Olympus, his father Zeus (some bloke in a fake beard), surrounded by supposedly hot women that all look like they sucked a fat blokes sweaty cock to get the role, forbids Hercules to travel to the mortal plane so he can letch on chicks. This is a significantly wise move on Zeus’ part because he recognises that Hercules is an epic moron and the temptation of smoking hot mortal poon would be too much for his tiny pea brain to handle. But Herc is a little cunt and pisses off anyway. Through a series of shitty hijinks he winds up as a professional wrestler with an annoying fucking comedic sidekick called Pretzy (some irritating “oy vey” cliché ridden twat). He’s nicknamed Pretzy because he sells pretzels at the wharf. Fucking hell. There’s also a love interest (some overacting untalented wench never to be heard from again) and a wiseguy manager (some… ah, fuck it. Who cares?). Herc fights sailors, competes against athletes, fights a bloke in a bear outfit, loses his not very godlike abilities, takes his shirt off a lot and completely mangles the English language.
There’s nothing redeeming about ‘Hercules in New York’. It truly is a terrible film. Arnie regrets appearing in it. Me too. Cause I had to watch this piece of shit for his retrospective. Sometimes terrible films can be hilarious, but apart from one or two mildly amusing scenes, it really is incredibly boring, and worse than that, the Hercules character is fucking annoying. There is some amusement (maybe bemusement is a better word) to be had from the production. The direction by Arthur Allan Seidelman is utterly inept. At one point in a conversation scene, the close up shot of an actor is completely obscured by the entire back of Arnies head. The escaped bear looks exactly like what it is; a bloke in a cheap bear costume. It’s all shot at a long distance with a zoom lense to try to obscure that fact, but unless you’re an inbred mongoloid raised in a hidden cellar in Austria, it’s blatantly obvious. The fight scenes are horribly staged. People frequently fall down from hits that obviously do not connect. The sound is worth a few chuckles. The scenes on Mt Olympus are filled with dialogue obscuring background noise (which is a good thing) including street noise such as the honking of car horns and barking dogs.
The “acting”, for want of a better word, is utter garbage from everyone involved. Arnie, who was just 23 at the time, looks to be struggling when he is required to recite anything longer than a four word sentence. It’s no wonder they dubbed him. The hammy cunt Pretzy is so unbearably over the top you want Arnie to pummel him with his mammoth fists, and the “love interest” reacts in a bewildering fashion to almost every situation. The most irritating thing about this whole festuring bowel movement is Seidelmans insistence on inserting goofy fucking reaction shots, particularly from Pretzy, who constantly has his mouth agape like he’s attempting to swallow a watermelon whole. The love interest also has at least two completely baffling reaction shots, one when Arnie wrestles the bear, and the other when Arnie removes his shirt on Broadway. But despite these being incredilbly irritating, they at least elicit an emotional response, which breaks up the sheer, unbridled monotony of watching Arnie butcher his lines and stumble in to one pathetically stupid situation after another. And I do mean stumble. The ridiculously huge bastard actually stumbles during a romantic walk with the love interest. He knows it and doinks his palm on his forehead and laughs. And Seidelman doesn’t give a shit. Cut! Print! Next scene! Un-fucking-believable.
The music also becomes irritating as fuck about 30 seconds in to the movie. And it’s repeated constantly throughout the movie. It’s a faux comedic score, supposed to highlight the comedy, but only succeeds in annoying the fuck out of you.
Overall, this is not an auspicious debut for the Austrian Oak, and it’s understandably one he’d rather forget. But all legends must start somewhere, and at the very least, it’s a reminder that, especially during his body-building days, Arnie was fucking massive. As thick as two planks. But massive nonetheless.
For an idea of how inept this flick is, take a look at this.
Next up, Arnie will be back and this time he rubs his massive shoulders with The Dude and The Flying Nun in “Stay Hungry”.