Renegade Cinema Staff Picks: Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies
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Worst Oscar Winning Movies

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

 

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

True Lies

LJAY: I could go Terminator 2 but I’m sure someone grabbed that up. True Lies is one of Arnold’s most successful but seemly underrated works. One of James Cameron best works as well. As well as being an typical “shoot them all and let God sort em out” type of Arnie flick, True Lies brings a lot of humor to the table as well.

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Kindergarten Cop

Ruby Le Rouge: You’d think Terminator 2 would be the most quoted, but around my house, “It’s not a tumah.” is heard pretty often, so I’d have to go with Kindergarten Cop. Though I do have a special place in my heart for Total Recall, the pure cheese of it is awesome and how could you not love facial expressions like this:

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Last Action Hero

James C: Lost in the madness that was Jurassic Park, Last Action Hero still held its own at the box office but, neglected to get the fame it deserved. An action movie that not only made fun of the action star that Schwarzenegger was at the time, but also the whole art of what makes an action movie. McTiernan directs a movie that is equal parts Die Hard, a Joe Dante film, and Looney Tunes Cartoon. I love this movie. Arguably, ahead of its time, and certainly misunderstood as it fell inside that all too grey area which Hollywood hates: What genre do we sell this film as to the masses? Arnie is at his most funniest here. Thumbs up.

Tamica Phipps: Wow. How to choose? All the movies mentioned so far I’ve watched many many times and loved them. True Lies just came on a couple of days ago and I had to watch it. I suppose I will pick Last Action Hero. An Action movie with Arnold. What more could you ask for?

 Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Predator

Derek Johns:  I think my favorite Arnold movie would have to be Predator. While the subsequent sequels have never really been able to repeat the magic of the original, to me, there’s no denying the greatness of said original. The Predator proved to be such a formidable opponent, that he could only be defeated by the 80s awesomeness of Arnold Schwarzenegger (not even Apollo Creed himself could put up much of a fight). It also happens to be the film where Arnold utters one of his most iconic lines (which is really saying a lot), “Get to the choppa.”

Calibertholomew Winfield: Of all the topics chosen for Staff Picks, this one almost feels personal to me. As a guy who has literally written the book on action films, and lives in the gym, there’s no one I admire more than Arnold. He’s as cool as cool gets, and one of my all time heroes.

Now, when it came to naming my favorite Arnold film, there were as many choices as there were stars in the sky. But I knew, I knew what I would choose.

Predator.

A film so simple in execution, yet could have only been done by a top notch team comprised of arguably the greatest action director of all time, the greatest creature creator of all time, and of course, the greatest action hero of all time. Along with a fantastic team of characters, you get what I consider the burliest film of all time. There’s no love story. There’s no moral or lesson. No, there’s nothing but 90 minutes of constantly flexed muscles, never-ending ammo clips, spot-on one-liners, and punch-your-friend-in-the-face inducing action scenes. Often times Arnold steals any film he’s in, but this time he’s backed by a cast that’s just as unique and just as fun to watch. In films previous to this his advesaries ranged from a guy in the future, James Earl Jones, and a fat guy in a chain-mail tank top. This time, we get to see someone who’s on par, and was at one time played by Jean Claude Van Damme.

Predator is the film that never tires, no matter how many times you see it, and is never duplicated, no matter how many times they try. Although I will say Predators is a fantastic film, and as close to the original in terms of greatness as you can get.

She said “Me too. Mine’s as big as a house!”

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Twins

Bethany Lewis: I’m going to go with Twins. It is one of the few Schwarzenegger movies that I saw as a kid that really stuck with me. Not only is it a ridiculous and entertaining premise with plenty of 90s style and humor, but pairing Danny DeVito with Arnold Schwarzenegger and making them twin brothers is a stroke of absurd genius. And while DeVito definitely plays to type, making Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger the naive and innocent giant made the movie that much more funny.

Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies

Total Recall

Patricia Márquez: Arnold absolutely nails the role without coming off as too Arnold Schwarzenegger-y (i.e a caricature). The movie is great. We get Philip K. Dick’s brilliant futuristic story with Paul Verhoeven kooky borderline-camp directing and a seriously twisted psychological plot. I still remember watching this movie as a child and freaking out when Arnold’s eyes bug out during his Martian exposure sequence. I can’t imagine anyone else in this role, and the Total Recall remake proves you can’t always fill the shoes of Arnold (no disrespect, Colon Farrell).

Mike Luxemburg: Total Recall for me too, and there’s no doubt about it. It’s one of my favorite movies in general, and definitely my favorite in the Arnold oeuvre. It combines Arnold’s penchant for over the top action is put to great use by Paul Verhoeven’s cartoonish style for directing violence. Beyond that, there are awesome visuals and goofy practical effects, which all serve the broader purpose of telling Phillip K. Dick’s story without messing with it too much or leaning too heavily upon it. Lastly, I think that this is a movie that couldn’t have worked nearly as well without Arnold. Casting this freakishly huge guy as a normal person who turns out to be a freakishly powerful secret agent is a wonderful visual nod to the madcap science fiction that the movie trades in. Schwarzennegger puts this trick way over the top by being the most action-looking action star of his generation.

Tony Beaulieu: Total Recall. Not so much for Ahhh-nold as for Paul Verhoeven. Smart sci-fi/actioner that still holds up today. Couldn’t imagine anyone else in the lead role, not even Colin Farrell.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Jesse Blume: I’m torn between the first two Terminator films. I find it unlikely that these wouldn’t be considered two of Arnold’s all-time greatest performances. As you watch, it’s very easy to believe he’s playing an android. He moves with a smooth and deadly grace and precision and fills the screen with an inhuman presence. In the first film we’re in fear of him, but in the second we grow to care for him and that’s what makes Terminator 2 in turn so beloved. I think I’ll say T2 because of that fact.

Derick ‘d-rock’ Dotson: I have to say Terminator 2. I know it’s the obvious choice but this film is a part of me and my childhood. Growing up it was difficult not to find a poster of Arnie’s half man, half machine face everywhere, or to find someone quoting this flick.

  • “Hasta la vista, baby”
  • “I’ll be back” used again.
  • “Come with me if you want to live”

Plus, as far as sequels go, T2 was an improvement in almost every way. Especially the clever build up of who was the good guy or bad guy, and it ending up being Arnold this time. Even the marketing was created as such to hide the fact Arnold was on the good side.

Aidan Myles Green: T2, naturally. One of the greatest action films of all time and a true statement on a monumental era of action cinema. Here’s a perfect movie whose effects are not only revolutionary, whose script isn’t just airtight, but makes the most of its otherwise lacking lead actor; T2 crafts a touching, funny, hardcore, thrilling yarn that compliments and utilizes Arnold’s stoic strength amazingly. James Cameron kicks ass.

Shawn S. Lealos: I have to go with T2 as well. Look, the first Terminator was a solid sci-fi action movie and is very much like most of Arnold’s other movies at the time. However, T2 is just an amazing feat as James Cameron made what I still consider his finest movie. There isn’t a movie better than this when it comes to big budget action movies.

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
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