It’s a new year. Time for resolutions, fresh starts, life changing decisions and all that bollocks. It’s also a good time to evaluate the cinematic landscape that we’ll be navigating in the new year. 2012 was, let’s face it, a very mixed bag in terms of cinema. Some good, a lot of bad, but mostly it was content with mediocrity. Will 2013 be any different? Let’s take a look.
I haven’t visited The World According to Arnie since the ‘Jarv reviews New Years Eve’ Christmas blitz of 2011. That one was Arnie’s moderately successful first foray into family friendly comedy, ‘Twins’. But after a brief respite, Arnie’s back where he belongs, as a kicking, punching, shooting, neck snapping, murdering planetary saviour in Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Total Recall’. I love this movie. It rivals ‘The Terminator’ as my favourite Arnie movie, and I’m going to have to turn to my old mate the thesaurus to look for new superlatives to use during this review. I can’t very well describe everything as “awesome” can I?
The career of Arnold Schwarzenegger is really quite impressive. More accurately, the development from a stiff, awkward actor to one that seems like a naturally gifted action star is impressive. By the end of the 80’s Arnie was one of the worlds biggest stars, despite making nothing but R-rated action films (Lets forget about the Conan sequels). By the time ‘Twins’ came out, he had become confident and comfortable acting in front of the camera, and this confidence, as well as some very tongue in cheek roles in ‘Commando’ and ‘The Running Man’, established him as a gifted comedian, with terrific comic timing. So it seemed a natural progression that he tone down the violence (a little) and make a (mostly) kid friendly comedy. The result is, of course, Ivan Reitman’s ‘Twins’.
Buddy movies are the comic book movies of the 80’s. When Walter Hill’s ’48 Hours’ proved a surprise hit in 1982, it spawned countless variations on the theme. The buddy movies of the 80’s are nearly always based around cops from different walks of life who become partners (‘Lethal Weapon’), or cops and criminals thrown together (‘Midnight Run’, yes technically he’s a bounty hunter, but that movie is awesome and I wanted to mention it!). But the formula dates back further. The earliest successful buddy movie (that I can think of) is Neil Simon’s ‘The Odd Couple’. It’s an easy formula, because all you need to do is put two completely different personalities together, have them clash, then find a common ground (in the case of the buddy cop movie, it’s always the villain) and as they work together towards their goal, they become friends.
There have been an awful lot of adaptations of Stephen King’s work. According to the internets, not counting short films or episodes of a TV show (such as the X-Files), the number sits at 62. And counting. There is a pretty even split across Film and Television, with some even doubling up, such as Carrie and The Shining. Most of them remain unseen by me (something that is unlikely to change in the future), but the one’s I have seen tend to fall in either one of two categories. Brilliant or Terrible. There seems to be no middle ground with Stephen King.
Amazingly, it’s been over a year since my last foray into the rollercoaster career of one Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger. For those out there who truly appreciate laziness, this one’s for the books. Since the ‘Raw Deal’ review was published, a lot has changed for Arnie. He’s no longer Governor of California, his wife divorced him because he was diddling the help, and his acting career is getting back up and running with an expanded role in 2012’s The Expendables 2, as well as his true comeback film, 2013’s The Last Stand.
It’s been quite a while since my last foray into the world of Arnie. After a terrible start to his acting career, Arnie seemed to have found his niche, either as an emotionless killing machine sent back from the future in ‘The Terminator’ or as a wise cracking killing machine in ‘Commando’. Both these roles used Arnie’s limited range perfectly, and created the persona we know and enjoy. Following these excellent films came ‘Raw Deal’, a film that in theory ticks all the Arnie boxes.
I have no rational explanation for it. Maybe I simply like subjecting myself to garbage. Let me explain. I rattled through a whole bunch of Arnies early works with relish. They nearly all sucked (‘The Terminator’ being the obvious exception), and when I finally got to the good stuff I did a Keyser Soze (otherwise known as “pulling a Frankie”). But here I am, back with what is easily one of my favourite Arnie flicks, ‘Commando’.
Now we’re talking. After a pretty lackluster (to say the least) start to his career, Arnie finally finds the role he was born to play. A massive, hulking, emotionless robot killing machine in James Camerons (official) directorial début. And what a terrific film it is.