Len Wiseman’s Total Recall roars into theaters this weekend, placing Colin Farrell at the heart of a head-scratchingly twisty sci-fi thriller where everything our hero knows isn’t what it seems.
If you experience a distinct sense of déjà vu during your Recall screening, it might be because you recall an earlier version of the story. Back in 1990, director Paul Verhoeven and Arnold Schwarzenegger adapted the same Philip K. Dick short story that has inspired Wiseman and his team. The arrival of Total Recall teaches us two important things: The 1990s are now fair game for remakes; and Schwarzenegger’s body of work is open to interpretation, as well.
Since it would be nearly impossible to open the floodgates on suggestions for 1990s movies you thought deserved a remake, we figured we’d narrow the pool to Ah-nold films. If Total Recall can be remade using all of the bells and whistles that come with 2012 technology, then why not Predator, Eraser or Jingle All the Way? OK, fine, we know why Jingle shouldn’t be remade. But the rest are in the conversation.
Here are the five Schwarzenegger films we’d like to see remade in the near future, and a quick spin on how we’d update them. Now, tell us which Schwarzenegger films you’d like to see in theaters … and which ones are off limits to Hollywood producers looking to capitalize on our movie nostalgia.
1. The Last Action Hero
At the time, John McTiernan’s deliberately overblown Last Action Hero poked fun at the typical Schwarzenegger vehicle by casting Arnold himself in a tongue-in-cheek homage to the genre. So how do you remake The Last Action Hero in 2012? Simple. You cast Arnold in the lead again. Figure some way to circle back around to McTiernan’s original. Have present-day Arnold entering a movie-within-a-movie to rescue (or possibly battle against) his previous Action character. It could be meta and muscle in one.
2. The Running Man
Everyday citizens competing in a televised fight to the death? Yeah, we know, it’s The Hunger Games. But before Katniss Everdeen, there was Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger), a wrongly-accused man forced to participate in a demented, futuristic game show. Given our culture’s continued fascination with reality television and rigged competitions, a remake of The Running Man is inevitable. My only request? Give the Richard Dawson role to Ryan Seacrest.
3. Red Heat
The buddy-cop format is making a comeback. Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) has Sandra Bullock and Mellisa McCarthy on board for the comedic The Heat. Why not revive Walter Hill’s guilty pleasure Red Heat while we're at it, which cast Ah-nold as a Russian policeman paired with a Chicago slob (James Belushi) to capture a drug dealer. Cold War jokes were made by all. But an updated Red Heat could cast a New York City cop with a Middle Eastern investigator, playing on the inherent tensions of that relationship while also conjuring some international action sequences. Hire Kathryn Bigelow, and you have an instant hit.
4. Kindergarten Cop
It may not be a tumor, but it's a ripe opportunity to highlight one of Schwarzenegger's comedic roles. Kids and action heroes are an easy pairing when a producer want to go for laughs. The reason Cop worked -- and why a remake would be an obvious investment -- is because Arnold had such a gentle chemistry with the children. Now tell me, who wouldn't want to see the softer side of The Raid star Iko Uwais? Just so long as he doesn't have to fight his way through hundreds of preschoolers to make his way to the monkey bars on the playground.
5. The Terminator
The controversial pick, as The Terminator largely is considered to be Schwarzenegger’s trademark role. But the series has played itself out in terms of sequels. Arnold's too old to keep playing the Terminator. Yet at the same time, the concept of an unstoppable force traveling back in time to eliminate the mother of a future rebel leader is too cool not to explore … so long as you can find a burly beast of an actor capable of filling Arnold’s massive sunglasses and leather jacket. Tom Hardy, anyone?