Maybe this is something that every film fan goes through, or perhaps it is just me, but I get a feeling of unease and extreme nervousness whenever I trundle along to the cinema to watch one of my favourite stars in action.

It’s not quite as extreme as my ‘boxing shakes’, when I would have to listen to the commentary of Lennox Lewis, Chris Eubank or Joe Calzaghe fighting rather than actually watching as I could not stand the thought of seeing them knocked out, but it’s close.

Which is why the palms are starting to sweat ahead of the release of Last Stand in January.

As you probably all know, the film marks Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the big screen (Expendables cameos apart).

The truth is, you see, that of all the actors in the world, there is little doubt that Arnie is the one star that dominated my teenage years, and I have stuck with him since.

It was Commando that I remember piling round a schoolfriend’s house to watch on VHS, cackling like crazy when he gave one goon a buzzcut with a mower blade.

It was Total Recall that I remember lowering my voice and sneaking in to see at a Cardiff cinema despite being below the age, emerging two hours later raving about what I had just witnessed.

Throw in the fact that I watched the original Terminator for 14 nights straight after being dazzled by it when it cropped up on TV during my A-Levels, or that Predator became the favourite movie of my university household, with each of us battling the other to crowbar ‘over here’ or ‘turn around, turn around’ into as many conversations as possible.

The frustrating fact was that, when I was able to savour Arnie’s flicks on the big screen without having to grow some dodgy facial hair first, we were served the likes of Last Action Hero or End of Days.

Sure, these flicks still had elements to recommend them, but they were pale shadows of the classics that had gone before.

And this is not simply hazy memories clouding my mind either, as I made a point to sit through both Eraser and 6th Day recently – and it wasn’t pretty.

All this is why, while part of me is obviously over the moon that Arnie is back, the other half of me fears big time that I am being set up for a fall.

True, the trailer for Last Stand does look pretty decent, and I like the fact that they have embraced, rather than glossed over, the ‘Arnie is getting on a bit’ angle.

But, if you look back at the likes of Predator, Running Man or Commando, there is one undoubted truth as to why those films stand head and shoulders above in my book – and that is the indiscriminate, comic-book violence that flows from first minute to last.

In fact, I would be a happy bunny if you simply strapped me to a chair and blasted me with the ‘Arnie laying waste to an entire island’ closing sequence of Commando.

The simple fact is though those days will never return, as society and cinema has supposedly ‘moved on’, at least in a mainstream sense.

There is no doubting the market is still there – check out The Raid if you want proof.

Now before anybody gets overly excited and stars wailing that Arnie is highly unlikely to start flying through the air, or flattening an army of hoodlums with his bare hands at his advanced age – I know that.

But my fear is that we will get another watered down, right-on, lukewarm Arnie flick that will simply have me breaking out the old DVDs when I get home from the cinema.

Please prove me wrong Mr Schwarzenegger.

 

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.