I think its fair to say if you are asked to create a list of the best action movies ever it would/must include 'Die Hard' and this film. Probably one of the most over the top, ridiculous, continuous action set piece films ever committed to film, it stars Arnie, his character has a silly name and its fudging fantastico!.
Lets be brutally honest here for a minute, back in the day this was the dogs bollocks, as a kid I LOVED it!. When the film was made it was suppose to be a serious adult action thriller, 18 cert, plenty of swearing and plenty of violence, no mistake...this was the real deal. Looking back now its a very different story, yes it still rocks ass but boy is it cheesy, predictable and cliched, if this were made now it would be an over the top CGI filled homage to be laughed at.
Thing is people nowadays have gotta remember these classic action films weren't suppose to be stupid at the time, they were (semi) serious films for adults. This is why many modern action 'homages' fall flat because they always go for the utterly ridiculous merely for laughs (and for a PG rating half the time), its not serious...yes I'm looking at a certain franchise Mr Stallone.
Yet despite how crappy the film actually is if we're honest about it, its a legend of an Arnie vehicle. Of course the main reason is because of Arnie, without him I'm sure this film wouldn't be half as memorable (sorry Sly), but its also the influence it had. How many action films can you think of that have pinched ideas from this film? even better, how many videogames have totally ripped off this film? a lot is the answer.
This film pretty much created the 'unstoppable one man army v hordes of bad guys' genre, much like Eastwood pretty much created the 'rugged good looking silent lone gunman who takes out all the bad guys in a town' genre. The tooled up rippled macho special forces super soldier that simply cuts through whole camps of soldiers and military vehicles, mowing them all down with a machine gun in each hand whilst the sweat glistens on his overly pumped body. Think of all the videogames where the main character/s are basically complete copies of Arnie in this film, just running around slaughtering enemies eg. 'Mercs'.
'Come on Bennett, let's party!'
Anywho we all know the plot here don't we, Arnie's daughter is kidnapped by the rather camp looking/acting Vernon Wells complete with chain mail mesh vest (oh yes), who in turn is being controlled by a hairy sweaty looking Dan Hedaya. This of course pisses Arnie off big time so he decides to go after his daughter and kill EVERYONE!!!.
When I say everyone I mean every last bad guy and his dog (not really). This begins a long series of battles that involve Arnie kicking the shit outta henchmen one after another until he gets to the baddie base camp and single handedly destroys it. When I say single handedly I mean just that. Arnie runs around topless with rocket launchers, large knives, Uzi's, shotguns and the awesome M60E3, quite literately blowing lines of men away like there's no tomorrow.
The sheer magnitude of killing going on in this films is incredible, its mind numbing! yet its totally tubular to watch. Arnie looks buffed as hell, he's in his prime, the biceps are bulging, the veins are popping, he's tanned up and he's got that weird haircut he used to have where its cropped on the top n sides yet a bit long at the back, afraid of the clippers methinks. The man is a mountain, a tank...and once he's set in motion nothing gonna stop this guy...not even hundreds of heavily armed troops.
Like all Arnie films not only is the action big but so are the one liners, the dialog. This film doesn't disappoint with tonnes of memorable quips that are the stuff of legend now (I like to use the word 'legend' now). Much of these witty snaps come up when Arnie must battle someone, no shortage of that here. Each and every henchman get his own chance to deliver some cool evil exposition and ultimately receive a timely last word from Arnie before he beats him to death, or guns him down, blows him up whatever.
'Let off some steam, Bennett'
The film is what you may call the pinnacle of 80's action fests, the prime example of pure 80's action gold in camo pants. The whole thing quite literately plays out like a videogame with end of level boss battles for the main henchmen, taking out vehicles and buildings for extra points and a roaring finale. It is incredibly dumb and cheesy now yes, not back then, but now yes. There are some nasty visual continuity errors throughout, hokey acting by dozens of soldier extras doing some of the most acrobatic deaths you will ever see, really wooden acting, a rather odd reggae/calypso type musical score and the most laughable bad guys ever.
I mean come on, what the hell is Vernon Wells character wearing and what does he look like, the fat tash and beer gut? really?. David Patrick Kelly as 'Sully' is a really annoying evil Michael J Fox looking clone and Bill Duke...is Bill Duke and his tiny ears. Altogether they are a funny bunch but memorable so job done I guess.
But still, despite all its flaws and with tongue firmly placed in cheek, the film manages to be one of the greatest action films ever. Not serious in terms of plot with the likes of 'Die Hard' but still violent enough to make your parents not let you watch it. All I can say is quite simply, if you are an Arnie fan you can't fail to enjoy this, one of his best films. Gun porn a plenty, bloody squibs, real stunts no CGI, Arnie never gets so much as a scratch during his ordeal and a small cameo for Bill Paxton. 'Rambo' always was a 'Matrix' wannabe hehe.
'I eat Green Berets for breakfast. And right now, I'm very hungry!'