Action Movie SUBGENRES


This is a huge, ongoing project that I live to work on :D  If a movie that you think should be in a category is not there,
it's probably because I haven't gotten around to re-watching it to be sure. Same thing, if you see any glaringly wrong placements
of films in categories, please email me: For a list of movies, see my Hit List.

ARNOLD Movies 

PUMP YOU UP! Blame Hans and Franz for this but they only pointed out what every Action Movie Freak was thinking:  There are two kinds of movies:  Arnold movies and non-Arnold movies.  Arnold was so big that just having him in a movie made it a hit.  It didn't even have to be Action (Kindergarten Cop, Junior, Twins).  Arnold spoiled Action Movie Freaks because to this day all we want is a hero, a really big hero.  Hollywood doesn't seem to get this. Unless you've got the screen presence of Robert Downey, Jr., you better have the physique of Arnold.  What do we want?  BIG MEN, the bigger the better. Who's bigger than Arnold? The Rock WE WANT THE ROCK! I love that Arnold seemed to pass the torch to The Rock at the beginning of The Rundown. Let's run down my favorite Arnold movies.









Terminator 2: JUDGMENT DAY





Terminator 3:

Conan The Barbarian (14 May 1982)
When this movie came out, it was definitely much talked about. It gave us big Action, and big men in small outfits! They really used Arnold's assets to best advantage. It seemed tongue-in-cheek but it wasn't. Watching it now I see the straight-to-cult-classic element of it more than I did when it was released. At the time, Action Movie Freaks wondered if there was going to be a lot more barbarian movies, but it petered out after 1985's Red Sonja. Maybe this movie benefited from the novelty of being first, because Conan The Destroyer was not as good.  Still can't believe when I watch it now, that there is so much sex.

It satisfies our blood lust like Centurion or Ironclad.  A must-see, must-own for the true Action Movie Freak.  (Pictured at right Arnold with co-star and basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain and wrestling legend Andre The Giant; a photo that really drives home the freak-show appeal of the movie.) 

The Terminator (26 Oct 1984)
Arnold was born to play this role. It launched his
career into the stratosphere and re-defined Bad Ass. Overkill never looked so lethal (until T2). Our fascination with robots and weapons and apocalyptic scenarios all rolled into a Chase movie with a relentless villain.  It's probably in everyone's top 5 Action Movie series.  Little did we know at the time how incredibly good the sequels would be. 

As the unstoppable killing machine, Arnold owned the lethality with intensity. The VHS extras at the time gave Arnold credit for the scene where the Terminator is in the patrol car searching for Sarah Connor—He looks around with just his eyes, keeping his head movements to a minimum (robotic economy of movement). This was Arnold's idea and it was effective in making the character even scarier.  It was just creepy enough to make it seem like the Arnold exterior was fake and there really was a robot underneath.  It was pretty much everyone's worst nightmare come true. If you were being chased by a psychotic killing machine, hard to imagine anyone more frightening for it to look like than super strong and intimidating Arnold.


Commando (4 Oct 1985)
Such an Arnold vehicle
.  This movie gave audiences what they were clamoring for:  Arnold, Arnold, and more Arnold.  The one-man army.  When he takes off to rescue his daughter from a guerilla camp, his determination knows no bounds. From how he boards the plane to scene where they rob the store for weapons (and subsequent rescue) to the beach assault where he takes on the entire camp by himself.  This should be a superhero movie because G. I. Joe was never so well built or well armed.  Arnold's walk-and-shoot borders on hilarious (but in a good way).  Audiences ate it up, still do.  Cheesy one-liners abound. The final gun battle is epic.  Alyssa Milano is good as Arnold's resourceful daughter.  Audiences loved that too: the idea of Arnold as their Dad.  The movie also stars Bill Duke who appeared next on the big screen with Arnold in  . . . Predator.

Predator (12 Jun 1987)
One of my Top 5 Action Movies. The more I watched this movie, the more I loved it.
Stan Winston has to be credited for making a creature that was way beyond Bad Ass for 1987, and fo
r all the Bad Ass Big Men who starred in Predator, what really made the movie was the creature itself.  Our fear of being hunted carried the series all the way to a fifth movie with multiple predators, aptly titled Predators.  This movie also stands out because of it's treatment of the characters. Each of them was so cool and had their own personalities—it set up the idea of playing a character in a game and then being dropped into a scenario where you have to fight. This is the experience video games were created to emulate.  Read more . . .

The Running Man (13 Nov 1987)
The movie that, sadly, will forever be associated with September 11, 2001.  Loosely based on a Stephen King novel written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, the novel's ending featured a suicide run with a hijacked airplane crashing into a high-rise. They changed the ending for the movie but you can't help but wonder if making the movie contributed to the knowledge of the ending of the book (in other words promoted it as much by leaving it out). The film ending is considerably more upbeat, even fun (!).  There is plenty of action, and nothing mainstream came as close to the death-as-primetime-entertainment format until Death Race (2008) (unless you count Battle Royale 2000 which, according to Wikipedia, was never released in the U.S.).  It was a physically demanding role even for Arnold. Joined by Predator buddy Jesse Ventura as Captain Freedom, the movie also starred football legend Jim Brown, as well as one of my favorite character actors, Yaphet Khoto, (who also appeared in Live and Let Die, Alien, and Midnight Run)  While it was great fun, the movie was also a little too cheesy/campy (it was the 80s). It's fun to watch but the look of it seems more made-for-TV. 

Total Recall (1 Jun 1990)
This movie was huge at the time. Full of original and funny elements, it's even easier to appreciate in retrospect. When they made the 2012 remake with Colin Farrell, they didn't have that quirky, creative feel.  X-rays at the airport: How we laughed at the idea that security would ever be that bad.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (3 July 1991)

True Lies (15 July 1994)

End of Days (24 Nov 1999)

The 6th Day (17 Nov 2000)

Collateral Damage (8 Feb 2002)

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines (2 July 2003)
You know you went in thinking it can't be better than T2, but it was! 

Action Movie SUBGENRES