Times film reporter and 24 Frames blogger Steven Zeitchik asks the question we have been asking ourselves ever since the trailer for “The Expendables” hit theaters: Will he really be back?
In the recently released trailer for “The Expendables,” the action movie directed by Sylvester Stallone about a group of aging mercenaries on a rebel mission in South America, big-screen graybeards such Stallone, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren and Mickey Rourke (along with the more youthful Jason Statham and Randy Couture) are plotting a coup when an unexpected face suddenly materializes.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, apparently taking a break from the budgetary troubles that have dogged him during his governorship, appears on screen with Willis and Stallone, utters a crisply satirical line (“Give this job to my friend here — he loves playing in the jungle,” he says about the “Rambo” star) and, as quickly as he appeared, turns and walks away.
As the governor prepares to beat a retreat from Sacramento at the end of the year, the scene dangles a tantalizing possibility. Forget low approval ratings, tax hikes and an education crisis — fans and entertainment-business insiders are asking more pressing questions. Is his appearance in the Aug. 13 release “The Expendables” — a testosterone-drenched shoot-’em-up summer movie, if testosterone-drenched shoot-’em-up summer movies were cast in action-film retirement homes — an acting swan song before Schwarzenegger stalks off to a new political adventure (a post in the Obama administration, perhaps)? Or is it a trial balloon for another foray into Hollywood?
Since landing in the governor’s office nearly 6 1/2 years ago, Schwarzenegger has taken on a task that can seem as mercenary as any in “The Expendables.” In fact, after all the political powder kegs, legislative trench warfare and spray-and-pray news coverage, he may have wished they’d given this job to his friend. (Or his enemy.)
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– Steven Zeitchik
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