Will Amie be the last action hero?

Come the brawn

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER is still cinema’s top action hero. But how long can the 55-year-old former Mr Olympia keep pumping iron? And what’s this about moving into

politics? Words: Miles Fielder

hat happens to ageing action heroes‘.’ Some die at

the box office (Sylvester Stallone). Some are

reincarnated (Bruce Willis see his roles in non- action orientated prestige movies such as The Sixth Sense). Some find an afterlife in straight-to-video films (Chuck Norris). ()thers get out while life‘s good and switch careers completely. Arnold Schwarzenegger. still the reigning champ of the action movie genre. is moving into politics. He is hotly tipped to become the new governor of (‘alifornia in 2006.

But that‘s years off we're getting ahead of ourselves here. As for 2003. Arnold Schwarzenegger is still at. or near. the top of his game. l-lis impact on the public consciousness and cinema box office may have weakened

with a string of out-of-date action blockbusters [5nd of

Days. The (Hit Day. Collateral Damage but Schwarzenegger‘s back with a sequel to his most successful film. Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

'Iermmaror 3: Rise oft/1e Mae/zines may have taken 12 years to make (most successful Hollywood franchises spawn a sequel every year or two). but it smashed its way to the top of the US box office and earned Arnie S30m. Across the board critical praise wasn‘t lavished upon T3. But there's no getting away from the fact that cinema-going audiences are only too willing to reach for their wallets in order to see Schwarzenegger don the black leather and dark

shades and. as the ruthless cyborg killing machine. 'l'—X()0. causing mayhem and mass destruction with steely-eyed glee.

Schwarzenegger strides into the hotel suite for our

interview wearing cowboy boots and sporting a six-inch cigar. llc carefully places the cigar on the table between us and sits bolt upright in his chair. I'm a little surprised the former Mr Olympia (seven times a winner) doesn't seem bigger (but then all actors seem smaller after you’ve watched them projected onto a 40-feet-tall cinema screen). Schwarzenegger looks fit. though. from square jaw to broad chest to firm handshake. We exchange pleasantries and then I ask him about the enduring popularity of action movies.

“Action movies have always been popular.‘ he says with that trademark clipped Austrian accent that somehow so suited the cyborg he‘s played three times. ‘lf they're well made. they always will be popular. Today. they are considered as much more important movies than ever before. which has been a great evolution because it used to be that action movies were the B-movies of the studios. Today. they couldn‘t live without the action movies. Action movies are the bread and butter of the studio.‘

And how. I ask. does Schwarzenegger account for his own enduring popularity"? ‘I never deviated from the action genre.' he says. ‘I always liked to add on. to do some comedy. but I never felt like some of the other guys who





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