This week sees the release of The Expendables 2 (our review HERE), but what has got me more excited has been the torrent of press releases surrounding further projects involving various members of the burly action hero posse. Most notably has been news of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s impending two releases: The Tomb and The Last Stand. So far, in regard to the former, we have received a simple image of a graying and bearded Arnie in futuristic prison clobber. But the latter has treated us to both a poster and a trailer.
The Last Stand is directed by Korean filmmaker Jee-woon Kim, who is better known for ultra violent and super brilliant films such as, A Bittersweet Life and I Saw The Devil. This mixture of Asian auteur and Austrian powerhouse pretty much guarantees that at the very least, The Last Stand will be unapologetically brutal and knowingly hilarious. If you don’t believe me, then watch the trailer:
As you can see, it looks like Arnie is very much back on form. But one thing about the trailer that got me really hyped was the moment when Arnie comes crashing through a door and a bystander asks, “How are you Sheriff?” To which he replies, “old”. How brilliant is that! Not only does the set up make no sense at all (the answer isn’t even in line with the question), but also it proves that the filmmakers are well aware of just what makes a great Arnie one-liner.
The one-liner is an illustrious and almost sacred tool in any filmmaker’s kit. It has a rare legacy of forever being post-modern and meta. Whenever as story needs instant relief or a knowing glance at the audience, the one-liner is always there to facilitate. Arnold Schwarzenegger has developed a unique reputation as being the king of these pithy deliveries, and has developed his own unique style that is at once, awful yet insanely brilliant. Schwarzenegger has three ingredients in his delivery: the pun, the punch, and the wisecrack. The phrase, ‘so bad its good’, was no doubt invented to explain the paradoxical genius of his pun deliveries, with the likes of “You’re not sending me to the cooler.” And “You’re luggage.” The punch deliveries are the more refined and oft quoted ones such as “I’ll be back,” and then the ever rib tickling wisecracks such as “you are one ugly mother f—ker”. The genius of this potent mix, when they work best, is when they are often unknowingly funny: almost innocently amusing.
The key to an Arnie one-liner is this:
1) Dead pan delivery
2) A loose connection to the current situation
3) Polar opposite in tone to the current situation
4) And, for the character saying it – unknowingly funny
Choosing just 15 funny Schwarzenegger one-liners from a catalogue of literally hundreds, is quite a daunting task. There is no study to support this, but I would suggest that, on average, the hulking star delivers a minimum of 6 stellar corkers per film. The likes of “I’ll be back” and “just bodies” did not make the list because, as good as they are, they are not super funny. I have endeavored to get a mixture of wildly popular and lesser-celebrated one-liners. But I feel that each choice on this list is a fine example of Arnie’s orating brilliance and comic timing. So “bring your toy back to the carpet,” “chill,” and take a journey with me into the glorious world of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Now! – Collateral Damage
That’s easy for you to say – Cactus Jack
Look who’s talking – Total Recall
You’re fired – True Lies
Let off some steam Bennett – Commando
I did nothing. The pavement was his enemy – Twins
Chill out. Dick-wad – Terminator 2
I’m not a pervert! I was just looking for Turbo Man doll – Jingle All the Way
I’m not s—ting on you – Red Heat
Hey Christmas tree! – Running Man
It’s not a tumor! – Kindergarten Cop
But I’m all woman – Junior
Here is Sub-Zero. Now plain zero – Running Man
Put the cookie down! Now! – Jingle All the Way
Stick around – Predator
Please feel free to make suggestions and comments, as undoubtedly there will be quotes that didn’t make the list, and choices you disagree with. I could have easily made this list ‘200 Funniest Arnold Schwarzenegger One-Liners’, but then again, I have a life to live.
This article was first posted on August 19, 2012