Five Essential… Arnie Characters

Gary Collinson selects his Five Essential Arnie Characters…

With the recent news that ‘The Governator’ Arnold Schwarzenegger will be back – having filmed a scene alongside fellow action icons Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis for Sly’s upcoming macho-fest The Expendables – we mark his long-anticipated return to the screen with our Five Essential Arnie Characters…

Arnie Predator5. Major Alan ‘Dutch’ Schaeffer (Predator, 1987)

John McTiernan’s action classic Predator sees Arnie as the head of an elite military unit inserted deep in the Val Verde jungle on a hostage rescue mission (those Val Verden soldiers have it tough – see Commando). After despatching a village full of rebels the team soon find themselves prey to an extraterrestrial hunter, the Predator, who picks off the likes off Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura (in a one-liner-stealing performance), Bill Duke and Carl Weathers before biting off more than it can chew with the Austrian Oak. Dutch makes the list not only for managing to kill a Predator, but for having the balls to mock its appearance just before the act.

Arnie The Running Man4. Ben Richards (The Running Man, 1987)

Loosely adapted from Stephen King’s 1982 Bachman novel and directed by Det. Dave Starsky (Paul Michael Glaser), Arnie stars as Ben Richards, framed for the murder of innocent civilians after refusing to open fire from his military gunship and selected as a contestant on television’s hottest game-show, The Running Man. Chased down by WWE-on-steroids (oh, wait…) ‘stalkers’ such as Subzero, Buzzsaw and Dynamo, Richards gets the old ladies excited and gives hope to the people as he brings down the network in explosive style. In doing so, ‘The Butcher of Bakersfield’ places fourth on our list.

Arnie Conan3. Conan (Conan the Barbarian, 1982 and Conan the Destroyer, 1984)

Arnie brings pulp author Robert E. Howard’s classic Hyborian fantasy hero to life and sends camels everywhere into hiding in the role that provided his acting breakthrough, Conan. Sold into slavery as a child and developing a Mr. Olympia-winning physique by pushing a giant wheel into adulthood, Conan rises to become King of Cimmeria by crushing his enemies, seeing them driven before him, and hearing the lamentation of their women. With Terminator Salvation replacement Roland Kickinger rumoured to be stepping in for a 2011 reboot, it looks as if Conan the Barbarian’s promised King Conan story shall remain untold…

Arnie Terminator2. T-800 Model 101 (The Terminator, 1984 and Terminator 2: Judgement Day)

James Cameron’s pair of sci-fi classics blasted Arnie into superstardom as the futuristic killing machine that doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear and absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead (or protected). Launching his iconic catchphrase and sending his bank balance swelling with record paydays – although we can safely ignore Jonathan Mostow’s disappointing third instalment (technicality alert: he’s a T-850) – Arnie is perfect as the unstoppable cyborg sent back in time to kill (or protect) Sarah (or John) Connor. For managing to off half the cast of Cameron’s Aliens in a single film, The T-800 ranks second on the list.

Arnie Commando1. John Matrix (Commando, 1985)

Quite why someone would want to steal this man’s daughter (he eats Green Berets for breakfast for Christ’s sake) is anyone’s guess, but that’s exactly what disposed Val Verde dictator Arius tries in order coerce retired special forces Colonel John Matrix into a presidential assassination. In his search for ‘Chenny’ Matrix averages over a kill per minute, leaving no phone-box unturned or culprit alive to stage a dramatic rescue and defeat an entire army without having to reload. Put simply, if Skynet had sent Matrix back The Terminator would be a short film.

Read more on Commando here.

Honourable Mentions…

Harry Tasker (True Lies, 1994)
Captain Ivan Danko (Red Heat, 1988)
Douglas Quaid / Hauser (Total Recall, 1990)
Hercules (Hercules in New York, 1970) – only joking.
Mr. Freeze (Batman & Robin, 1997) – okay, now the joke really has gone too far.

Agree? Disagree? We’d love to hear your comments on the list…

Gary Collinson

Essentials Archive