The 33 Worst Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies: Part 2

You’ve seen the best Arnie movies, now stick around for the sequel – the middleweight contenders in the filmography of Messrs Freeze and Universe. 

12. Kindergarten Cop (1990)

Kindergarten Cop belongs in the genre of Arnie films they wouldn’t make now, alongside Junior, Commando, Stay Hungry, Jingle All the Way, Batman & Robin and Terminator 3. Easily the best of the comedies he made with Ivan Reitman, it’s still creepy to sandwich a family comedy between child abuse subplots and a lingering shot of a corpse. Festive audiences in 1990 didn’t seem to mind though, and Christmas was spent watching Home Alone and Kindergarten Cop like it was the most normal thing in the world. DM

13. Last Action Hero (1993)

A modicum of good taste had returned to the viewing public in 1993, when Jurassic Park crushed Last Action Hero at the box office and gave Arnie his first major flop since he kicked the steroids. Highly praised in our original review for its meta sense of humour, Last Action Hero grates upon rewatch and marks what Arnie considers the beginning of the end of his film career. His baffling winning streak had to come to an end sooner or later, but from Arnold’s point of view Steven Spielberg picked the worst possible time to bring back the dinosaurs. DM

14. End of Days (1999) 

You might not expect Arnie to return to the horror genre after the nightmare of Junior, but second time round he largely delivers the goods in this Jesus creeper where he takes on Satan himself. It has a fairly sombre tone, which is usually the death knell for an Arnie film, but mostly holds together in a daft but watchable turn-of-the-millennium chiller. AC

15. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

We really cannot recommend highly enough the hostage situation that is the Terminator 3 DVD commentary, whose participants all blame each other for the movie while hinting strongly that they slept with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Those 109 minutes of passive aggression are vastly more entertaining than the uninspired threequel, leaving James Cameron with no choice but to swim to the furthest depths of the ocean out of embarrassment for what Arnie had done to his beloved characters. DM

16. Sabotage (2014)

You’d have thought the world’s most famous bodybuilder would know something about playing to his strengths, but upon returning to Hollywood the Governator ill-advisedly opted for serious acting roles in order to showcase his quite extraordinary lack of talent. Sabotage denotes his most successful attempt, since meathead action is more within his wheelhouse than zombie drama or broody thriller. But despite the presence of Oceanic Flight 815 survivors Harold Perrineau and Josh Holloway, Arnie is the one who looks the most lost. DM

17. Jingle All the Way (1996)

While widely (and fairly) hated for its bare-faced commercialism and inflicting Jake Lloyd on the world, Jingle All the Way nonetheless nudges into the middle of the pack. Its straightforward premise – a neglectful father has to get his spoilt brat the must-have toy on Christmas Eve – is executed competently, with jokes (one or two of them funny) and set pieces, making this a film worthy of the name. AC

18. Twins (1988)

Remember Twins? Arnold Schwarzenegger? Danny DeVito? They played twins? It was all the rage in 1988, when nobody had dared to film such a hilarious height difference after all the unpleasantness between R2D2 and C-3PO. Audiences were so dumbstruck by the notion that a tall man and a short man might be twins that Ivan Reitman’s film became one of the highest-grossing of the year, behind similar odd-couple movies like Rain Man and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but above other size-based chucklefests such as Big. This was Arnie’s first major comedy and for some reason he played a genius, which is a bit like casting Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana or Mark Wahlberg pretending to be a scientist. In 1994’s Junior, Reitman, Schwarzenegger and DeVito reunited in a late bid to make Twins look like a real film. DM

19. Hercules in New York (1970)

It’s a testament to the calibre of the films on this list that Hercules in New York, which fails just about every test of competent filmmaking, is 15 places from the bottom. With disastrously poor direction and novice Arnie, who could barely speak English at the time, giving possibly the worst performance ever seen on screen, this low-rent comedy its still an entertaining watch thanks to how hilariously bad it is. It’s also the first time Arnie appeared with a comedically under-sized co-star, in the form of the impressively competent Arnold Stang. AC

20. Raw Deal (1986)

This film’s title may be a reference to the contractual obligation which required Arnie to star in it, but with a pisspoor performance in an utterly uninteresting film it’s not clear who got the worse side of the deal. This largely forgotten by-the-numbers crime thriller features a stone-faced Schwarzenegger taking on the mafia: an offer you definitely should refuse. AC

21. Escape Plan (2013)

The excitement of Arnie and Sly Stallone co-starring in a prison escape flick lasts exactly as long as it takes to remember that neither of them can act. There still exists the possibility of a fun, dumb action movie in the vein of The Expendables 2, but misplaced earnestness prevails again and what could have been the new Tango & Cash winds up closer to Turner & Hooch. DM

22. Iron Mask (2019)

Currently enjoying little success in Hollywood, Arnie’s most recent effort saw him try his luck in China’s booming film industry. Iron Mask AKA Viy 2: Journey to China AKA The Mystery of Dragon Seal is actually a Chino-Russian co-production, which apparently means everybody shoots their scenes in different countries and someone guesses what order they’re meant to go in. To be honest it barely registers as an Arnie performance, since he contributes about as much as he does in those FCA adverts where he’s just an animatronic head. DM

Join us again tomorrow for more cinematic abominations. Until then… 

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