- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 26, 2013

Arnold Schwarzenegger, 65, stars in his first lead role since he completed his tenure as governor of California in 2011 in the “The Last Stand,” an action drama directed by Jee-woon Kim that opened this month. Mr. Schwarzenegger plays a sheriff tracking down a drug cartel leader who has busted out of the courthouse and is headed for the Mexican border. The List this week looks at Mr. Schwarzenegger’s top 10 films.

  • 10. Eraser (1996) - The action-movie icon plays John Kruger, an ace lone wolf of the Federal Witness Protection Program who must survive conspiracy within the ranks, in order to prevent the abduction and assassination of Lee Cullen (Vanessa Williams), a patriotic executive at a defense firm. The film also stars James Caan.
  • 9. Conan the Barbarian (1982) - Fresh-on-the-screen Mr. Schwarzenegger plays writer Robert E. Howard’s golden age pulp hero, Conan. We forgive Mr. Schwarzenegger’s leaden lines because he projects so much endearing meatheaded menace. Mr. Schwarzenegger performed most of his own stunts and used two types of swords, costing $10,000 each.
  • 8. Running Man (1987) - This futuristic action film is loosely based on a 1982 Stephen King story. Mr. Schwarzenegger plays Ben Richards, a wrongfully convicted military pilot. As an enemy of the state, he has to fight for his life on a televised game show in the year 2019. The show’s premise is simple: The Network gives a fugitive a 12-hour head start before releasing an elite squad of hunters to kill him. If the contestant survives for 30 days, he wins $1 billion.
  • 7. Kindergarten Cop (1990) - In this charming Ivan Reitman film, Mr. Schwarzenegger plays Los Angeles homicide detective John Kimble, a hard-bitten Los Angeles cop who mellows while going undercover as a kindergarten sub in scenic Astoria, Ore. Kimble stalks his longtime nemesis, a drug-peddling killer called Crisp (Richard Tyson). Mr. Reitman surrounds Mr. Schwarzenegger with actresses, notably Pamela Reed as his witty sidekick, Linda Hunt as an indulgent principal and Penelope Ann Miller as a delightful love interest.
  • 6. Twins (1988) - Mr. Reitman teamed up odd-couple Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as long-lost twin brothers in this irresistible comedy. Mr. Schwarzenegger proves he can handle comedy as adeptly as he has his muscle man’s tough-guy roles. The twins are the product of a genetic experiment in the early 1950s. After a hilarious reunion in a L.A. jail, they set out to find their mother who doesn’t even know they exist.
  • 5. True Lies (1994) - This thrill-packed, high-tech superextravaganza reunites director James Cameron with Mr. Schwarzenegger, who plays Harry Tasker, an operative of a mythological American intelligence service called the Omega Sector. Tasker lives a double life for 15 years with his bored, estranged wife, Jamie Lee Curtis, who turns in a fabulous performance.
  • 4. Predator (1987) - Mr. Schwarzenegger takes on one of sci-fi/horror’s pre-eminent species as he leads an elite special forces team on a mission to rescue hostages from bad guys in Central America. Carl Weathers and Jesse Ventura also star in the film.
  • 3. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) - Mr. Cameron and Mr. Schwarzenegger collaborated on this lavish, deluxe-budget sequel to “The Terminator.” The original blockbuster was budgeted at a rock-bottom $3.5 million, then came in at $6.4 million. The “Terminator 2” production budget hovered between $80 million and $100 million. Mr. Schwarzenegger now plays the hero who has to protect Sarah Connor and son from T-1000 terminator, a shape-shifting assassin played by actor Robert Patrick, who nearly steals the show from the Austrian-born star.
  • 2. Total Recall (1990) - In this science-fiction adventure thriller, Dutch director Paul Verhoeven casts Mr. Schwarzenegger as construction worker Doug Quaid, who can’t stop having nightmares about Mars. Sharon Stone plays the sultry wife, Lori, who attempts to soothe his ragged nerves. Quaid journeys to a colonized Mars, circa 2084, where he discovers his true identity while dodging persistent assassination attempts. The film was based on a short story by the late science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick, whose work also was the source for “Blade Runner.”
  • 1. The Terminator (1984) - A thrilling and haunting sense of dread permeated this admirably ominous, fleet and resourceful science-fiction thriller directed by Mr. Cameron. Mr. Schwarzenegger played a robot sent back to the past to accommodate a nuclear war by killing Sarah Connor (Miss Hamilton) and preventing the birth of her son, the future rebel leader John Connor. The role set Mr. Schwarzenegger on an irreversible path to stardom.

Best of the rest: “Last Action Hero,” “Pumping Iron,” “Commando,” “Red Heat,” “Raw Deal” and “Batman & Robin.”

Compiled By John Haydon
Sources: The Washington Times, Wikipedia and UPI