From: Subject: Date: April 21, 2005 3:53:51 PM CDT Hankblog

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Movie Retrospectives: One Man Armies

Name: Col. John Matrix (Arnold Schwarzennegger, sporting the worst name in Hollywood since...Arnold Schwarzennegger), former military elite commando, now retired.

Mission: Search and rescue. Matrix's daughter Jenny (Alyssa Milano, a year into her run on Who's The Boss has been kidnapped by a South American dictator who Matrix helped depose. The dictator (Arius, played with hammy glee by Dan Hedeya) wants Matrix to kill the man who replaced Arius, or Arius will kill Matrix's daughter. Matrix has only 11 hours to be able to find his daughter and rescue her.

Allied forces: Cindy (Rae Dawn Chong), a flight attendant who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, but quickly comes to Matrix's aid in the most unbelievable ways; and Major General Franklin Kirby, whose sole purpose as Matrix's former C.O. is to appear on the scene, look gruff, and occasionally make overtures to Matrix to get back in the service.

Enemy combatants: Hedeya's Arius, who's just all kinds of awful; Bennett (Vernon Wells), a former colleague of Matrix's whose just dying to show Matrix how much better he is than Matrix.

Success of mission: A successful campaign with a lot of carnage the whole way through. A whopping body count that I came to an end at with 99 confirmed kills. When Alamo Drafthouse ran a series of Mondo Trivia nights, their onscreen death count for this movie came to triple digits, I thought. They may have been a lot more generous with the exploding buildings than I was. But Matrix essentially obliterates the entire working population of a small island working for Arius at the close of the movie. It's one of the most ridiculously over the top killing sprees in any movie ever done, let alone of the five we'll look at this week.

Other notable activity: Helped dull the thud that came with Red Sonja, Arnie's contractually obligated film appearance that released after The Terminator, same year as this feature. Further established Arnie as a box office action draw on his way to the Governor's Mansion in California. Whether that's for good or bad still is open to debate, I suppose. The state hasn't fallen off into the sea and floated away yet.

Summation of activity:
Absolutely cheesy action fodder. Some of Arnie's worst one liners are thrown about this movie like frisbees. Thankfully, the movie did not help to draw out Rae Dawn Chong's overextended 15 minutes of fame (she had several films after this, but only a couple with the same kind of broad appeal and box office that this one did). In addition to employing 80s TV refugees Milano and Hedeya, also gave one more film credit to Bill Paxton alongside Arnie (he has a bit part as a Coast Guard radio operator). Nice if you want to have a drinking game where you can binge at the end by taking a drink every time Arnie caps somebody (you'll have to do a keg stand to get through the last half hour).

Tomorrow: the last One Man Army and film retrospective for a while, John McClane in Die Hard.