Austrian Oak. Mr. Universe. The Governator. No fewer words can be used to best describe the man best known for his one liners; Arnold Schwarzenegger. It didn't take much to enjoy an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, back in the 90s. Arnie was the Hollywood icon as the big man with a big gun, firing away with bullets of one-liners. While admittedly his Austrian accent the size of his biceps in the 80s did get in the way during the early days of his movie career (watch "Hercules In New York" and you'll see what I mean), it made him the perfect deliverer of the laziest piece of work done by Hollywood screenwriters of the time. Sometimes witty, sometimes weird, and even sometimes profound, but mostly hilarious when taken in and out of context of his movies, it was his one-liners that made Arnie to be the quintessential Hollywood action hero. Arnie's movie career peaked in 2003 when he entered into politics, but failing to sound anything close to John Kennedy, we weren't surprised that he wasn't the President. After being out of Hollywood (and out of shape, really) for 8 years while running the whole state of California, Hollywood action movies had changed (thanks to them spoiled kids and their CGI) and his return to make "The Last Stand", will stand as testament as to whether he still has what it takes to be a movie star again, and whether he has improved his one-liner spouting skills.
The Terminator (1984), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Alright, alright, we know that the lines from this series are overused to the point of being cliché. But a list of Arnold's best quotes without mentioning this series would get us terminated (see?). So let's just get it out of the way first. As the artificial (semi-)intelligent killing machine sent back in time (and again) from the future of James Cameron's sci-fi action franchise, there was nothing much to do except terminating men and machine with heavy weaponry, while carrying a sidearm of one-liners. In "The Terminator" Arnie only had a total of 18 lines, and we are still convinced that there were some things that would've been better said by just shoving a shotgun into the person's face.
"I'll be back!" ("The Terminator")
"Hasta la vista, baby!"(Terminator 2: Judgment Day")
"Come with me if you want to live." ("Terminator 2: Judgment Day")
"Talk to the hand!" ("Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine")
As special forces leader Dutch, Arnie is sent down with a team on a rescue mission in the jungles of central America, until the objective gets side-lined when the world is introduced to what cloaking technology, infra-vision, triangular targeting systems and the error of giving Arnie teammates in his movie, can do.
At the height of his movie career, Arnie's physique and typecasting was so stereotypical manly, that the only way to greet him properly is by arm-wrestling and taunting you for going soft from sitting in the office all day. We'll just imagine that when he was signing off paperwork as the Governor of California, he was using pens with weights.
Arnie had to improvise with a few clever puns ("Stick around") and mild cusses ("Bullshit!") for the most part of this movie, so by the time when the true face of the Predator alien was revealed, his apt description was considered a big deal at the time.
"What's the matter? The CIA got you pushing too many pencils?"
"If it bleeds, we can kill it."
"Run! Get to the chopper!"
"You are one ugly mother****er."
The Running Man (1987)
Arnie becomes "The Running Man" Ben Richards, after disobeying orders to massacre hungry civilians under a totalitarian government. He gets thrown into a reality show where he must survive in a game of death being stalked by murderous Stalkers, for the amusement of the general public and Richard Dawson. Adapted from a Stephen King novel well before Suzanne Collins thought of a similar concept and aside from the ridiculous yellow outfit Arnie had to put on, "The Running Man" was a goldmine for some of Arnie's best one-liners, which showed hints of his propensity for classical puns every time he kills a Stalker (which we would explore in a later movie). We also wondered what changed his mind about what he had to say about politics in this movie to make his next career move.
"I'll live to see you eat that contract, but I hope you leave enough room for my fist because I'm going to ram it into your stomach and break your goddamn spine!"
"Here's Subzero! Now... plain zero!"
"I'm not into politics. I'm into survival."
"He had to split."
"Now that hit the spot."
Total Recall (1990)
We wouldn't have guessed that Arnold Schwarzenegger would be able to star in a high concept sci-fi adaptation of Philip K. Dick's short story, but Paul Verhoeven's vision for "Total Recall" was one that we recall to mince with very few words about pseudo-science, and more of an action thriller.
Arnie is Douglas Quaid, or at least that's who he thought he was, until imagination gets the better of him to visit a place called Rekall. As Arnie becomes confused with his own identity, and why Jeremy Ironside is very much eager to tear him a new one, Arnie gives some of his best lines about marriage, existential questions and of course, instructions on where to go (to himself!).
"Consider that a divorce."
"If I am not me, then who the hell am I?"
"Now, this is the plan. Get your a** to Mars."
"See you at the party, Ritcher!"
John Matrix was a happy father to a young daughter until a group of mercenaries breaks his peace and silence by kidnapping her to extort Matrix to assassinate a political leader as ransom. Although Arnie doesn't say the words from Liam Nesson's "Taken" about the consequences of kidnapping someone's daughter, but the retired Delta Force operative gets the message across with his skillsets as a one-man-army when all hell breaks loose with bombs, machine guns and rocket launchers. Matrix's ruthlessness to leave a trail of 'just bodies' by the end of "Commando" means that he is one of Arnie's characters with the most racked-up kills, so naturally we can taste the blood in every of his best lines in this movie.
"I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now I'm very hungry."
"You're a funny guy, Sully. I like you. That's why I'm going to kill you last."
"Come on, Bennett, throw away that chicken-shit gun. You don't want to pull the trigger.
Put the knife in me and look me in the eye and see what's going on in there when you turn it."
Kindergarten Cop (1990)
Detective John Kimble, Schwarzenegger would face his greatest enemy when he has to lead a classroom of six years olds on an undercover assignment in "Kindergarten Cop".
In his first turn in an Ivan Reitman's movie where Schwarzenegger tries to add some comedic shticks to his action-packed repertoire, we were pretty amused to see that he has some ability to make us laugh, even when he is losing his marbles to a bunch of kids, who should have known better than to mess with the man who could snap their necks with just his thumb. Although "Kindergarten Cop" does go back to Arnie's action roots by the climatic conclusion with drug dealer Cullen Crisp, we would never forget Arnie's best lines that came from the interaction with the children.
"I'm the party pooper."
"It's not a tumour!"
"No more complaining. No more "Mr. Kimble, I have to go the bathroom". Nothing!
There is no bathroom!"
The Last Action Hero (1993)
You either die as an action hero, or live long enough to make a satire out of your acting career. That certainly was the case for Arnold as Jack Slater in "The Last Action Hero", when a kid enters into the fictional world of his favourite action hero with a magic ticket, while the bad guys get unleashed into real world where they can win for once.
Aside from the riddled self-references to quotes that Arnold has already been known for throughout his career, who says you can't add new quotable lines of your own, especially like having an answer to the most profound questions from Shakespeare or the fears of puberty?
"To be or not to be? Not to be."
"No sequel for you."
"You've seen these movies where they say "Make my day" or "I'm your worst
nightmare"? Well, listen to this one: Rubber baby buggie bumpers!"
"Well I'm sorry to disappoint you but you're gonna live to enjoy all the glorious fruits life
has got to offer - acne, shaving, premature ejaculation... and your first divorce."
Not all of Arnie's roles involved machine guns, explosions and dead bad guys. When Ivan Reitman wanted to make a comedy about male pregnancy, what better actor to be the subject than the epitome of testosterone in the 90s? Right?
In Arnie's second involvement with Reitman, in his attempt to establish himself as a comedy actor with funnyman Danny DeVito, Schwarzenegger and DeVito are two gynaecologists who are working on a drug to help women prevent miscarriages. When both of them are rejected by the FDA to carry out human testing, Schwarzenegger's Dr. Alex Hesse does what every sane scientist would do and puts a bun in his oven.
Even with the lack of rooms full of bad guys to clear before making his clever remark, Arnie still manages to deliver some of his most memorable one-liners, precisely because of their emasculating nature and coming out from the mouth of the man that was the definition of masculinity.
"My nipples are very sensitive."
"Feel how soft my skin is."
"Does my body disgust you?"
Batman and Robin (1997)
After the resounding box office success that is "Batman Forever", it was really sad to see that the follow-up "Batman and Robin" had put the Batman cinematic franchise into cryo-sleep before Nolan's reboot. Instead of being the hero (and we are thankful that Clooney was around to take the fall for the nipple suit), Arnie tries something new in "Batman and Robin" as the villain Mr. Freeze, who plans to create an ice age on Gotham City.
It was also here where Arnie takes a step-up from his usual one-liners, and goes crazy with his chilling puns, which is probably part of the reason why the reception for this movie was anything but warm. Still, we still love 'em for at least trying something new. So much so that we think he should just stick to what he knows best.
"Mercy? I'm afraid my condition has left me cold to your pleas of mercy."
"What killed the dinosaurs? The Ice Age!"
"Allow me to break the ice. My name is Freeze. Learn it well. For it's the chilling sound of your doom."
"Stay cool, Birdboy."
Conan the Barbarian (1982)
Here it is. The one that started it all. Not only did Schwarzenegger's beefcake-ness as the iconic barbarian set off his acting career, it was his archaic articulation that would set the conciseness for all his future lines, whether it was due to accident or Hollywood's exploitation of the exotic accent. In Conan's quest for revenge against the sorcerer Thulsa Doom for killing his family and people, Conan teaches us what is best in life, and gives the most eloquent prayer (and his longest memorable line) we've ever heard since.
"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."
"Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That's what's important! Valor pleases you,
Crom... so grant me one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!"