So it’s been 24 years since Arnold Schwarzenegger and director James Cameron exploded movie screens with action comedy True Lies. And it came right in the middle of an action-packed decade of Ahnuld with films ranging from awesome to abysmal.
For this list we will be counting down the Governator’s Top 7 90s Action Movies and will be leaving out films that were more in the comedy realm like Kindergarten Cop and Jingle All the Way. With a SPOILER ALERT and a punchy one liner (insert punchy one liner here) let’s do this thang:
#7 Batman and Robin (1997)
What can I say about this cinematic abomination that has not already been said? It is easily the worst Batman movie, worst superhero movie and one of the worst movies ever. And a big part of that was the horribly miscast Arnie as villainous scientist Mr Freeze. Instead of being sympathetic and layered the character just mugged and spouted ridiculous ice puns that would give Fozzie Bear a headache. It kicked ice and we kicked it to the bottom of this list.
#6 End of Days (1999)
What was this movie? Seriously? In this odd film Arnie plays a depressed former detective battling Satan in the guise of Gabriel Byrne. It is supposed to be an action horror but there is not enough action and the film is as scary as a baby fart. At least it gave Arnold a chance to stretch his acting chops a bit but it does little else.
#5 Last Action Hero (1993)
Now action comedy Last Action Hero had an interesting premise which it does not fully deliver on. Austin O’Brien plays a boy who enters a movie world with an Arnold Schwarzenegger (the real one) character named Jack Slater.
Now there is a lot of referential meta-humour (the Sylvester Stallone shout out is pretty funny), decent action and Charles Dance’s big bad is a scenery-chewing joy, but many of the jokes fall embarrassingly flat, the kid gets annoying pretty fast and Arnold playing an Arnold-esque character is not as charming as it should be. We should have gotten better from Die Hard director John McTiernan. No sequel for you indeed.
#4 Eraser (1996)
Eraser is your prototypical Arnold 90s action movie. Arnie plays a US Marshall protecting witness Vanessa Williams from evil James Caan. It features lots of big guns — including super sci fi explodey guns — hilariously bad CGI alligators and stupidly over-the-top action sequences with a plane, a train and other automobiles. Switch off brain and enjoy.
#3 True Lies (1994)
This film oozes charm, style and energy. Arnie plays secret agent Harry Tasker and Jamie Lee Curtis plays his unsuspecting wife Helen. The two have sizzling chemistry and are the heart and soul of this wonderfully self-aware flick. Throw in some spot-on humour, stereotypical Middle Eastern terrorists, sleazy Bill Paxton, a horse, a silly sexy dance and the absolute wildest final act and you have the recipe for a roller coaster of awesomeness. Sure many things make no logical sense but that is a major part of its charm.
#2 Total Recall (1990)
Total Recall you are simply the best, better than all the rest. Well not better than all the rest since you are number two on this list. But by Arnold’s bulging biceps this is a fantastic movie! Arnie plays Douglas Quaid (or is it Hauser?), a simple construction worker who gets thrown into a world of spies, ancient aliens, revolutionaries and three-breasted mutant prostitutes after a visit to memory implanting company Recall.
It is it real? Is it a fantasy? Who cares? There is tonnes of bloody action (this is a Paul Verhoeven film), sci fi craziness and wonderful performances from Arnie, Rachel Ticotin as revolutionary and love interest Melina, and Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside and Ronny Cox as some fun villains. It is supremely quotable, infinitely rewatchable and just so enjoyable. Get your a$$ to Mars!
#1 Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
If you have not seen T2 you have not lived! Oh my goodness. What is there not to love about this movie? Arnold kicks so much backside and takes so many names as the reprogrammed Terminator. His surrogate father/son relationship with John (Edward Furlong) is funny, tender and touching. Linda Hamilton’s now buff, highly trained and slightly unhinged Sarah Connor is one of the fiercest female characters ever put to film. And Robert Patrick’s liquid metal T-1000 is terrifying and an unprecedented work of special effects wizardry.
Pick a scene. Any scene. The rescue of John from the mall and the truck/motorcycle chase? The rescue of Sarah from the mental institution? Sarah trying to kill Miles Dyson? The assault on Cyberdyne? The T800 firing the gattling gun at the police? The epic final battle? The T800’s final sacrifice? It is all 12 Flavours of Awesome Sauce! T2 is easily one of the best sci fi action films of all time and one of the greatest all time action films of any genre. And while Total Recall is a classic T2 just edges it out for the best Arnold 90s Action Movie.
So what’s your favourite Ahnuld 90s Action Movie? For the list of Ahnuld movie lines you can use in real life you can click here.
And if you would like to see a ranking of the Top Ahnuld 80s Action Movies show this post some love by giving it a like and a share. Hasta la vista baby.