This movie has that most crucial of story telling devices: Shit blows up. Often. Fond memories of this, but haven't seen it in probably 10+ years and wondering if it'll hold up or not.
Arnold's movie persona really starts coming into focus here and this one is particularly fun since he's not yet become the caricature of himself he is in his later movies. There are no shortage of cheesy one-liners, but he really nails the dead pan delivery and the lines are so over the top that they really work. The classic "I like you, that's why I'm going to kill you last" and "I eat Green Berets for breakfast and right now I'm very hungry" lines still amuse me and weren't as cliche as I felt they might be. He's still really huge and well-built in this one and even before he starts racking up the body count, the feeling of power he projects is palpable. Arnold just commands attention and I really can't imagine this sort of movie being made with anyone else. Arnold is becoming his own genre.
Arnold commands your attention and I find myself hanging on his every word and expression just to see what he'll do next. It's not what he does, it's not what the plot is, it's all about how he does it. Cheesy though this movie is, this is why I watched every movie he put out in the mid 80s-early 90s, and why I can clearly remember the excitement and anticipation of going to see his next movie in the theater.
The story is about as straightfworward and focused as you could ask for, and it's good to keep Arnold's motivations crisp and tight. Loves daughter. Daughter taken. Get daughter back. Done and done. Ordinarily that kind of bland story would make for a dull movie, but the aim of the movie is to give plenty of time for Arnold to chew up scenery and bad guys. Let's keep all that bothersome story complexity out of the way. Good supporting work by Rae Dawn Chong here (fond memories of her in many movies from the 80s) and the rest of the cast isn't too terribly distracting. Even Fat Eddie Mercury Guy and his oddly effeminate angst works okay, or at the very least helps you really root for him to die in a particularly nasty way.
Ahnold Quotient - 9
Arnold being Arnold, but in a really good way. Line delivery is spot-on, he's menacing, but we're obviously not watching something based on a true story here. As it should be. Did I mention shit blows up? It does. Often.
Rewatchability - Every now and then
Overall this was quite fun to watch again. Not sure I need to do so again anytime soon, but I was pleasantly surprised how solid it was and how well Arnold plays it here. Definitely one to go back to for some popcorn-munching brain-dead goodness.
Next up: Raw Deal. I honestly have no idea whether I've seen it before or not and reading the description and seeing stills didn't help. Apparently not particularly memorable regardless... But Predator coming up after that!!