The 33 Worst Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies: Part 3

We have reached the last and worst part of our definitive Arnie ranking, so put that cookie down, let off some steam and remember…

23. Conan the Destroyer (1984)

In 1984 Arnie re-entered the Conan canon without so much renewed vigour as tired disdain. Conan the Destroyer (suggested subtitle: The Camel Returns) is a shadow of its barbarous predecessor, its budget and violence cut in order to outperform the original. Evidently Arnold the Entrepreneur was not at that particular meeting, and a third Conan (The Conqueror) was swiftly abandoned. Then in 2019 Arnie threatened us with a comeback Conan (The King), where he would play the hero as a septuagenarian. Now that’s barbaric. DM

24. The Running Man (1987)

Edgar Wright is currently adapting Richard Bachman’s (AKA Stephen King) The Running Man, though he’s going to have to work pretty hard to make it any worse than the Arnie version. The dystopian novel concerns a gameshow whose contestants are hunted down while allowed to go anywhere in the world, restricted in the 1987 film to one very tacky obstacle course. For all its prescient satire of reality TV, The Running Man is hamstrung by poor visuals and puns so bad even Arnie sounds embarrassed. People watched it though, which is more than can be said for when he hosted The Celebrity Apprentice. DM

25. Batman & Robin (1997)

Widely considered the worst film ever made, Batman & Robin isn’t even one of the eight worst Arnie movies. And thanks to Red Sonja it’s not even his worst comic book adaptation, nor is it the worst Batman flick (that dubious honour goes to Batman v Superman, with Batman Forever a close second). It is however a sub-zero effort, another Arnie film most remembered for its terrible puns and crippled by his extortionate fee (see also Terminator 3) – apparently $25 million still isn’t enough for Arnie to shave his head. That said his Mr. Freeze is the best thing in the movie, because who doesn’t want to see Arnold Schwarzenegger with a blue LED in his mouth yelling, “Lets kick some ice”? Lovers of cinema, presumably. DM

26. Red Sonja (1985)

Arnie returns to the world of Conan as a character who is not Conan (?) but has all the same characteristics: muscles. Filming his scenes in just two weeks, he disappears for vast stretches before showing up to rescue Sonja and her pals from their latest scrape, in the process undermining any positivity the film might have garnered from having a female lead. AC

27. Red Heat (1998)

With Rocky ending the Cold War in 1985, Arnold couldn’t resist jumping on the bandwagon, with this story of a Russian police captain joining the LAPD. But what’s written like a comedy is, for some unfathomable reason, directed completely straight. The result is less buddy cop more bloody crap. AC

28. Terminator Genisys (2015)

This follow-up to the poorly-received and Arnie-free Terminator Salvation wraps itself in nonsensical knots to explain the robot’s elderly appearance and have a scene where he fights his younger self, while the mythology and supporting characters are treated with criminal negligence. This was meant to be the genisys of a new trilogy, but its only lasting contribution to the franchise was establishing that it’s ok to ignore every film since T2, which its sequel duly did.  AC

29. Collateral Damage (2002)

Arnie blamed 9/11 for the failure of this film, in which a firefighter takes on drug smugglers. But its hard to see how international terrorist networks are to blame for this dreary, miserable film that thoroughly deserves every cent it lost. AC

30. Maggie (2015)

While clearly not a great lover of the craft of film-making, Schwarzenegger does understand marketing, and Arnie vs zombies is a marketable premise. Unfortunately Arnie vs zombies this is not – it’s actually a numbingly slow and dour drama about a destraught father whose daughter has been bitten and is gradually fading. Somehow managing to be the worst Arnie film in a year which saw the release of Terminator Genisys, Maggie is a fate worse than death. AC

31. Stay Hungry (1976)

The fact that this confusing and morally reprehensible drama won Arnie a Golden Globe is more testament to his personal charm offscreen than anything which happens in front of the camera. His performance is so bad that he convinces less as an Austrian bodybuilder than he did as a freeze man. And since just about everything else in the film is either inept or creepy and weird, if you’re hungry for a bodybuilding drama it might be better to take this film’s own advice. AC

32. Junior (1994)

From the people who brought you the hilarity of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito as twins, comes the super-hilarity of Arnold Schwarzenegger being pregnant, a notion so obviously hilarious that there’s not a single other joke in the film. This was the final Arnie/Reitman/DeVito collaboration, presumably because the trio couldn’t conceive of there being anything funnier. Arnie famously tricked Sylvester Stallone into starring in the relative masterpiece Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. We don’t know who tricked Arnie into getting in this elephant piss jaccuzzi but they got him good. AC

33. Aftermath (2017)

Finally, at the very bottom of the Schwarzen-oeuvre we find Aftermath – though in the context of his film career it’s more an afterthought. It barely even got a cinematic release and when we did eventually find the DVD the faulty packaging meant we had to prise it open with a knife, a sign from Mr. Universe to watch literally anything else. Arnie plays a brooding father seeking vengeance on the air traffic controller responsible for his daughter’s death, but rather than doing it the old-fashioned way (à la Commando) he spends the whole film grappling with feelings far beyond the reach of an actor whose emotional range peaked in Terminator 2. Grim, grey and so glacial it would make Mr. Freeze blush, Aftermath ensured that Arnie the serious actor won’t be back. DM

Thank you for joining us on this gurniest of journeys, now let’s never speak of this again – until they finally deliver on their threat of making Twins sequel Triplets.


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