Wednesday, August 31, 2011

3 Pairs of Arnold Schwarzenegger Films that are Unintentionally Connected

During Hurricane Irene, I bummed around the web looking for inspiration for a new feature. Shit, I had a few hours to burn before the hurricane-apocalypse (which turned out to be a dud). Remembering old conversations Insano Steve and I had and giving a quick glimpse of Arnold Schwarzenegger's filmography, one can find many instances where Arnold's films tend to blend together. [light bulb appears over head!]

Sure Arnold has made a ton of film series (The Terminator trilogy and the Conan series) but if you really think about it, some of his films are unintentionally connected. Sure I've made Arnold lists in the past (see Top 10 Villains from Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies) but bear with me as I try to connect 3 pairs of Arnold flicks and explain how they fit together.

3.) The 6th Day/The Running Man

How are they connected? The Running Man is a sequel to The 6th Day

Explain that shit: The 6th Day takes place in 2015 and if you've seen it, it's about a man named Adam Gibson who finds out somebody has cloned him and the clone has infiltrated his job and family. Gibson with the help of his clone obliterates the mad scientist and his goons and the Gibson clone decides to go out on his own to Argentina to start another branch of the charter helicopter business.

But what if the clone decided not to go to Argentina?

The Running Man is actually the Gibson clone (he's changed his name to Ben Richards because he doesn't want to be known as Gibson 2.0) and his adventures on a reality show gone amok. Oddly enough it takes place in 2017 and Richards is an ex Military pilot (ahem ahem). The two worlds are eerily similar with mad game shows, cloned pet commercials and violent football games.

Surely this can't be a coincidence right?

2.) True Lies/Eraser

How are they connected? True Lies is a sequel to Eraser

Explain that shit: Eraser was about a US Marshal (John Kruger) who "erases" the identity of a corporate whistle blower but ends up protecting her from the evil James Caan. It's clear Mr. Kruger does his job well and deserves a promotion. He's good with secrets, coming up with multiple identities for himself and his clients. So isn't it likely he got promoted because of his awesome reputation to The Omega Sector, a US terrorism task force.

True Lies continues the adventures of "The Eraser" as he uses his expert erasing skills to change John Kruger to Harry Tasker, international man of mystery. It's clearly in the same universe and not out of the realm of possibility that The Eraser erased his own identity to lead a double life.

1.) Commando/Predator

How are they connected? Commando is the sequel to Predator

Explain that shit: Insano Steve initially came up with this one and it's kinda fuckin scary how it could work. Dutch is the leader of an elite military special forces group and well yada yada yada... you know the rest. Everybody gets killed, the predator blows himself up and Arnold escapes from the island.

It's pretty traumatizing for our boy Dutch. Your best friends have been killed, you've encountered an alien life form and you barely survived. Clearly, you would want to tell people about your story about how the men under your command performed bravely against an extraterrestrial.

But the military decides to force you to retire and keep quiet about the aliens in Guatemala so you build a life, bang a Norwegian hooker, have a daughter and end up changing your name to John Matrix. I always thought Bennet killed Matrix's wife. In any case John and Jenny Matrix will live happily ever after...that is until General Kirby fuckin shows up.

That's when you start leaving bodies piled up and killing entire armies.

Somehow everything catches up to our boy Dutch/Matrix. Still suffering from post traumatic alien disorder, Dutch/Matrix deals with it the only way he knows how: obliterating Val Verde from top to bottom.

All for his little girl.

Can you think of any other connections in Arnold flicks? I've been thinking Kindergarten Cop is a prequel to End of Days (Lovable John Kimble has a tumor, quits the police force and battles Satan) but that might be stretching it a bit.

Are there any other films you know of that might be unintentional sequels or prequels to each other? Sound off fellow jaded viewers.

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  1. I always liked thinking that The 6th Day was the following years vacation for Quaid [Total Recall]. I guess any of Schwarzenegger's other movies could just have been some imagined "recall". OR MAYBE! "Recall" really exists, and only the super rich elite know about it. It's like a perk of being a member of a secret society or something, and Schwarzenegger is the person you become within your "recall"ed memories. His movies are just some of his most adventurous and entertaining transplanted memories, put to film. But, then why does Schwarzenegger exist, isn't he a fictional "recall" character? Why would they make movies exploiting a super secret rich guy vacation? Unless, reality doesn't exist and you and I "live" within the perimeters of the program. We are just extras inside someones "recall". Recall is The Matrix. It's all so clear now!! No wonder the world is so fucked up.
    - Cory

    1. I enjoyed reading this. The 6th Day/Running Man tie is compelling. I think a better case could be made that Eraser is a sequel to Commando, though.

      I recently watched it again for the first time since I saw it in the theater in summer of 1996. I enjoyed it more than I thought I isn't perfect like Arnold's '80s output, but it's aged better than I expected.

      Anyway what struck me most is how this movie could be the Commando sequel we never got:

      1. Schwarzenegger's name is "John" in both films. Sure, it's Matrix in Commando and Kruger in Eraser, but the whole point of Eraser is the "erasing" of identities and replacing them with new ones. His character in Eraser is treated as this legendary shadow or something...famous but unknown. Also, Schwarzenegger is credited as just "Eraser" in the end credits, not as "John Kruger" -- hence, his name doesn't matter much, anyway.

      2. Kruger shows up to Vanessa Williams's house in disguise with a jacket that has "Let's party!" emblazoned on it -- a clear call-out to Commando.

      3. Both "Johns" in Commando and Eraser show a preference for dark-skinned ladies...just sayin'....

      4. Steven De Souza's unproduced script for Commando 2 (dated 1989) features a shadowy defense contractor as the villain, selling arms to foreign powers, and features a scene where Matrix must infiltrate the high-security headquarters. All VERY similar to Eraser.

      There are probably other ways you can tie the films together. The only "miss" would be the last name of the character, which I don't think would be a deal-breaker, and also the lack of Alyssa Milano's character Jenny Matrix. But then, by the time of Eraser, 11 years after Commando, she would've long been out in the world on her own, probably shacked up with some tattooed & HIV-positive grunge rocker...

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