Imagine you binge watch Schwarzenegger’s 1980s movies, and walk away thinking that those movies were even better than you remember them — only to come to the completely opposite conclusion when watching his 1990s movies. Originally, I had planned to watch all movies in which this guy was the lead actor, but this is not likely to happen anytime soon, and the increasing amount of wokeness in his movies, as well as its increasingly poor quality are the main reason. Another issue, which is particularly noticeable if you watch movies in 1080p, is that Schwarzenegger aged pretty badly. In his 40s he looks as if he is in his 50s, and in his post-governator movies he comes across as a decrepit old man. Stallone does not have the same issue, for whatever reason. Anyway, here are quick notes on the remaining Schwarzenegger movies I either fully or partly watched.
Total Recall (1990)
Paul Verhoeven made a great movie with Robocop, and with Total Recall he did an even better job. This movie tells a more or less timeless sci-fi story, with a very interesting hook: imagine someone had wiped your memories and you actually were someone else, and those memories are now coming back, turning your life completely upside down. This is also a surprisingly intelligent movie as it leaves it open if the trip the main character goes on really happens in the world of the movie. It may all just be a long dream, after all.
The action in this movie is great. One aspect I did not like, compared how I remembered it, is that the wife of the protagonist, played by Sharon Stone, does not look like a sex kitten in 1080p. At this point, she is nearing 40 and the wrinkles are showing. This makes the opening scenes a bit jarring. It looked a lot better on VHS. There is minimal wokism in this movie: Sharon Stone’s character can almost hold her own in a fight with the protagonist. Later, on Mars, the protagonist is supported by a female sidekick who channels John Rambo. None of this bothered me much as a good argument can be made that this unrealistic depiction of women is counteracted by the fact that both serve as eye candy, and it is more convincing if they play a role in the story. On a side note, don’t bother with the 2012 remake of this movie. I recall watching it, no pun intended, but I could not remember anything of it, and the second time around, I was so bored that I barely made it to the 30-minute mark.
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
After the surprise success of Twins, Kindergarten Cop was the next attempt by Schwarzenegger to establish himself as a comedic actor. The movie is pure garbage, though. It pushes an anti-children message as they are primarily depicted as nuisances. In the beginning there is a particularly jarring scene in which a boy gets sent to the principal for punching a girl — in retaliation for her poisoning his hamsters. The female teacher tells the boy, in a belittling tone of voice, that said girl was “very sorry” about it, but nonetheless only he has to face the principal. This is supposed to be funny.
Schwarzenegger plays a cop who goes undercover as a kindergarten teacher. Of course, the elementary school he works at has an all-female staff, and they all fawn over him. There are also a lot of single mothers who send their children to that kindergarten. I was quite amused by one of the women furtively glancing at the protagonist’s crotch. This is typically female behavior but you rarely see it depicted in movies. Almost all the women in this movie are divorced single mothers, and all the men are deadbeats. One even left his wife for another man. Promoting homosexuality was not what I had expected at all. I was also disgusted by the fact that this movie that is supposed to be for the entire family deals with plenty of inappropriate subject matter. You hear one kid talking about her mom saying that “dad is a real sex machine”. We see primary school kids hiding away to make out and possibly wanting to bone, and the female colleague of the protagonist casually kisses him on the mouth to say thank you while her fiancé is literally just around the corner. Said guy only serves as comic relief.
Kindergarten Cop could almost have been written for today’s audience as it glorifies single mothers to an absurd degree. The protagonist is a giga-Chad, yet he falls in love with a single mom, and he does not want to be without her and her boy. It is cringe-worthy beyond measure. This movie also taught me that only a life in big, run-down cities full of foreign-born doctors and engineers running amok is worth living because “people moving to small towns are trying to get away from something or they are hiding something”. Fuck this movie. It is one of the worst movies I have seen in my life.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Every time I watch The Terminator, I like it more, but with Terminator 2, the exact opposite is the case. This movie was a technical marvel when it came out, which probably made me look past the shitty story. However, in 1080p the special effects are laughable and make the movie look extremely dated. Years later, we got better effects in video games. Metal Mario in Super Mario 64 looks better than the T-1000.
The tonal shift between Terminator 2 and its prequel is absolutely staggering. The former is a movie seemingly made for retards. It begins with music used for comedic effect, such as playing “Bad To the Bone” in the intro sequence. This is a stark departure from the opening scene of The Terminator. Oh, in the sequel the protagonist also snatches a pair of sunglasses to look cool, because this is what killing machines care about. It makes you wince, but it is nothing compared to the interactions between the protagonist and the boy he has to protect. Among others, he makes the terminator stand on one leg, practice smiling, or do high-fives.
Of course, there is a lot of progressivism in this movie. Sarah Connor makes John Rambo look like a choir boy. She also tells us that a “machine is a better father figure than any man she ever met”. In addition, we learn that the smartest man alive is a black scientist who is about to reconstruct the chip that was left over from the original terminator, which will lead to Skynet coming alive a few years later in the movie’s timeline. This black gentleman is also a family man, with two loving kids. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but somehow I think that this is not an entirely correct depiction of black men. I may just be misinformed, however, and there could be countless genius-level blacks hiding away in secret government or industry labs, working valiantly on moving us towards a Wakanda-like future.
Last Action Hero (1993)
We are going from bad to worse. Last Action Hero is supposed to be another action-comedy, building on the template of Terminator 2. The plot is downright idiotic: a magic movie ticket allows some pre-teen dork to enter the movie world of John Slater, played by Schwarzenegger. This boy gets sucked into the screen, isekai-style. The aforementioned boy is arguably the most dysgenic creature you will see in a major role in a big movie release. I am convinced that this was done to mock the audience. The director basically screams at you that you are this dysgenic boy watching Schwarzenegger, and you do not even get proper Schwarzenegger action. On top, you get incredibly lame jokes. In this movie, Schwarzenegger’s, er, Slater’s signature phrase is “Big mistake!”, which has nothing to do with the best Schwarzenegger one-liners. These were impactful because they were situational. Think of the heavily-accented “Get to the chopper!” in Predator or “I’ll be back” in The Terminator.
I watched this movie a while ago already and could not bring myself to watching it again in its entirety. In terms of wokeness, it immediately stands out that in the first scene of the movie, you see an amorphous mass of policemen and the camera briefly zooms in on a female cop wielding a gun. Of course, there is a black police chief who is surrounded by incompetent white cops, and the mayor turns out to be black, too. It’s just like in the real world.
True Lies (1994)
I did not watch this movie again, but I recall that the female lead, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, can punch as hard as the male protagonist, played by Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger plays a dude who gets pregnant. He was a male birthing person before this term existed. This movie is utter garbage. Well, maybe it is not and the only problem is that I find the premise utterly revolting.
At this point, I decided to stop watching Schwarzenegger movies. From what I gather, they did not get any better. In my view, his last great movie was Total Recall. Out of curiosity, I looked up footage of T2-3D: Battle Across Time (1996) online. It makes you wonder if the target audience has an IQ of 85. Then again, this probably how you make a lot of money in Hollywood. I do not watch those Marvel movies, but it seems safe to assume that they are not high-brow affairs. I should probably rewatch Bloodsport to cleans my soul after all this Hollywood garbage.