menu

Advertising

The former actor-turned-California-governor is returning to the big screen in a modern-day western. Critics, however, wonder if he'll still have the same spark at 63 years old.

Valentina Park
  • 18 july 2011



Powered by Guardian.co.uk
This article titled “Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in an action film – but can he cut it at 63?” was written by Paul Harris, for The Observer on Saturday 16th July 2011 23.04 UTC

He will be back – but will he be any good?

In fulfilment of one of his most famous movie lines, it was confirmed last week that Arnold Schwarzenegger, the action movie star-turned-two-term California governor, would be returning to the big screen in his first major role since entering politics. The critics are divided on whether it will be worth his while.

While many actors have moved from films into politics – Ronald Reagan was the most famous – few have ever tried to make the switch twice and go back to their former career. “It is a unique moment in his career and for action cinema in America,” said Professor Christopher Sharrett, a film academic at Seton Hall University.

The most obvious challenge facing Schwarzenegger, now 63, is his age. In The Last Stand, a contemporary western, he will play a small-town American lawman who has to capture a criminal drug lord before he escapes across the border. The man who played a barbarian warrior in the Conan films and a robot from the future in the Terminator series is choosing to stick with action roles even though he will soon be a pensioner. He has kept in remarkable physical shape for a man with six decades on the clock, but convincing movie audiences of his credentials as a heroic crime-fighting cop might be difficult.

“He is getting long in the tooth and the movie industry is not very forgiving of that. There is not much tolerance of it. Young men in the audience will see him as an old codger and older people will see him as a star of yesteryear,” Sharrett said.

But there is a precedent. Sylvester Stallone is still pumping out action flicks at 65 and, while his films have not been winning him Oscars, they have generally been hits. His last action film, The Expendables, took in 5m at the box office.

Adding to the chances of Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen being a hit is the fact many people will be keen to see the film for its curiosity value. It also features an exciting new director, South Korean Kim Ji-Woon, who is trying to break into Hollywood after cult hits in Asia such as I Saw The Devil and The Good, The Bad, The Weird.

Also in Schwarzenegger’s favour is the fact that western-style films have a long tradition of ageing male leads. “He can be made to look good, but it will depend on the quality of the script and the film direction. If that is good, then the film could easily work,” said Professor Christine Holmlund, a cinema studies expert at the University of Tennessee.

The Last Stand promises to feature all the staples of a modern-day western: desperate criminal, FBI convoy, hostages, gun-toting henchmen and, of course, a hero.

Kim, who originally envisioned Liam Neeson in the lead role, has called the film “a kind of a combination of Die Hard and High Noon”. It is clearly going to guarantee audiences more in the way of high explosives than high art.

There might be another reason for Schwarzenegger to be heading back to Hollywood. Though he left office with an international reputation on environmental issues, he was hit by a scandal over fathering a child with a maid.

“There is no surprise that he is coming back to films,” Holmlund said. “This whole love child incident messes up his prospects for much else in the way of politics.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

Advertising
Trending

Editorial Roundtable: What A People-First Workplace Must Prioritize First

Work
Work Today

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Today

Airport Mural Puts Passengers In The Clouds

The installation in an Amsterdam terminal lets travelers float through a series of billowing 3D digital shapes

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Automotive Today

DevBot Is An Intelligent, Driverless, Electric Car

The unmanned test vehicle from RoboRace is a preview of upcoming AI race models

Fitness / Sport Today

Turn Any Wearable Into A Mental Health Tracker

Cognition Kit is a software platform that lets people track and better understand their cognitive states

Augmented / Virtual Reality Today

AR Ski Goggles Make Racing Down The Slopes Even More Immersive

Israeli startup RideOn weaves digital overlays into the thrill of skiing with an unconventional pair of protective eyewear

Advertising Today

Japan Wants To Make 2020 Olympic Medals From Recycled Electronic Waste

The Tokyo Games could showcase the first-ever gold, silver and bronze awards made from discarded phones and computers

Culture Today

This Small Town Has Become A Hide-and-Seek World Championship Destination

An old abandoned village in Northern Italy has become a massive playground for over one hundred competitive players

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Today

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Design Today

Garmin’s New Smartwatch Is Challenging The Luxury Market

The brand adds a premium version of its popular multi-sport trainer to its accessories collection

Syndicated Yesterday

What Could The Highway Of The Future Look Like?

As technology for automated vehicles improves, there’s a sharper focus on building a ‘smarter’ infrastructure where they can thrive

Design Yesterday

Plastic Wind Trees Are Bringing Sustainable Power To Residential Homes

These French-made turbines are offering a small, aesthetically pleasing approach to affordable personal energy

Home Yesterday

Dyson’s Wi-Fi Connected Fan Purifies, Cools & Heats The Air

The new luxury home appliance aims to be an all-in-one device for the connected home

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Advertising Yesterday

Brewing Company Turns Car Emissions Into Ink

Tiger Beer has created a sustainable process to transform air pollution into supplies for street art

Design Yesterday

Space-Saving Sofa Has Extra Furniture Hidden Inside

Living in an apartment with limited space? This three-in-one bed transforms based on your needs

Culture Yesterday

Browser Extension Blocks Any Pages That Make You Unhappy

The software can detect your facial movements and prevent content that brings up negative emotions

No search results found.