Smile, 3.5 readers. You’ve just been erased.
Scrolling through Netflix last night with a bowl of pasta in hand, I caught this flick and was transported to me teen years, to a time when seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger on a movie poster meant the film was guaranteed to be good (well, good to fans of action flicks, anyway.)
As it turns out, that era was soon to come to an end. In my mind, this movie is Schwarzenegger’s last good film. In the years since, he’s had a couple of flicks that were mildly OK or at least tolerable, and some bona fide garbage, but at any rate, this is the last movie he made that I remember being awesome.
Side note: Maybe he disagrees, but in hindsight, I think it was a mistake for Arnold to run for Governor of Cal-eee-fornia. Maybe he did it because he thought he was getting older and his movie days were behind him, but I think he might have missed a shot to transition into more seasoned roles. Maybe he might have, gasp, found an Oscar worthy vehicle.
I know. He’s a giant weightlifter action star with an Austrian accent but he also had a lot of Hollywood pull. He could have found his Oscar film. Is it too late now? I don’t know.
Anyway. Back to the movie. This film takes us into the Federal Witness Protection program. Spoiler alert: our first intro into this world is when Arnold evacuates a mobster turned witness and his wife who are about to get whacked.
Arnold dumps ketchup all over the mobster and his wife, takes a polaroid, puts it into the pocket of one of two hit men he’s offed. He then replaces the husband and wife with corpse ringers pilfered from a morgue and drags the hit men’s bodies to the front lawn. He shoots one, then puts the gun in the other’s hand.
The mobster (Robert Pastorelli, by the way) is confused. Arnold, as his character, US Marshall John Kruger, explains, “They killed you, then turned on each other.”
Pastorelli replies, “Right. Sons of bitches!”
I don’t know why, but that line made me laugh as a kid and so many years later it still does.
As the movie goes on, I saw a lot of stars I haven’t seen in a long time – James Caan as the film’s villain, Vanessa Williams as the witness Arnie must rescue and James Coburn as the head of the witness protection program. Oh, and that guy who plays Roger in “Mad Men” has a bit part as an FBI agent. Sometimes it’s fun to watch old movies and catch actors in parts before they get big.
Alas, if only we had known that not too long after this film, Arnie’s movie career went into the witness program. It’s not dead, it’s just in hiding – probably in a farm house in rural Illinois, secluded from civilization and far away from anything resembling a restaurant that can provide a good meal. Maybe it will come out of hiding someday.
For now, it’s just Arnie doing the old actor’s cash-in routine – lots of cash grab sequels to films Gen Xers feel nostalgia for. As if wrecking “Terminator” with “Genisys” wasn’t enough (Terminators with gray hair, my ass), he’ll be out with a new Conan film I hear. Something tells me he’ll be wearing more than a leather speedo in this one.
Oh well, who am I to judge? I’ve never been speedo ready in my life.