It might just be the mist of the weekend still fogging up my mind, but there are a few things awfully confusing about the saggy cloud of Arnold Schwarzenegger looming over Hollywood and threatening to rain down madness once again.
Precipitation references aside, the last action hero has now publicly stated that he’s going to step back into the world of acting (and anyone who claims what he does is somehow less than hasn’t seen or cried at Kindergarten Cop, and obviously can’t be trusted). It’s kind of a cool idea. Schwarzenegger has impeccable charisma, he’s a veteran at the game, and he generally picks solid projects.
But there are still some head-scratching loose ends here.
His official statement, courtesy of The Arnold Fans:
“Well, first of all it’s [...] 15 films, obvious ones from The Terminator to remakes of Predator and The Running Man and all of those things. Then also a lot of original stuff too. But I am also packaging a Comic Book character right now. I’m going to announce that sometime by the end of March or the beginning of April.”
First of all, there’s the list of the old amidst a new age. Schwarzenegger is a different man than he thirty years ago. Hell, he’s a different man than he was back in 2000. Hollywood is obsessed with packaging known brands into new movies, but why would they snag the former star for it? Why not reboot with an actor who’s currently more popular?
The only reason would be increased brand recognition. It’s unsurprising that there’s high demand to become the project that announces that “Arnold is back!” (even though The Terminator would be the most fitting for catch phrase reasons), but I have to question whether he’s really that hot of a commodity. The biggest target market is the male under 25 zone – and most of those young whippersnappers know him best as a politician, not as an action hero.
Then there’s the question of whether he’s still physically up to the task of carrying, not cameo-ing, an explosion-filled fighting flick.
Secondly, what’s with the Predator mention? Is it just obligatory or is someone out there really prepping yet another installment after the absurdly un-good entry that we just had last year? If it exists, will it be completely separate from the Antal version? Will it be a prequel where he and a character played by Lawrence Fishbourne kill a bunch of baddies on their home turf? Am I starting to make this thing sound exciting on accident?
Just imagining a remake of Predator featuring an aged Arnie is like those Snickers commercials with Abe Vigoda. On the other hand, it could be a fantastic anti-agist movie. Imagine a bunch of youthful hotshots getting their throats ripped out by an alien force while a man in his 60s squares off as the only real hope against the menace.
Still doesn’t work? Fine.
The third confusing thing about all of this is the comic book mention. Again, this man’s return to film might be the nexus point where all marketing comes together. Action movies were never really about story anyway (although Schwarzenegger needs more credit for the non-action stuff he did (Twins represent)), but a studio that snags him can truly throw coherency out, make a teaser trailer featuring just his profile, toss in the comic book factor, call up Burger King and the Shitty Plastic Toy Company of Wehawken, and start printing money.
Only, that’s the trick, isn’t it? None of that sounds sure-fire in the way it should. Maybe because Schwarzenegger is an older star with the word “former” attached to him for years. Maybe because comic book movies have been weighing on us so long. Maybe because it’s all just too much.
Whatever the case, look for Schwarzenegger to announce his comic book role soon and continue looking for his name to appear next to either a reboot or sequel of some his older movies you love. And, hey, if he happens to play Batman in a film version of Batman Beyond, know that the end is near.
What do you think?