See Arnold Run

See Arnold Run

***

Reviewed by: Stephen Carty

During the 2003 California elections, movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger (Jürgen Prochnow) decides that he wants to run for governor. However, despite the help of his wife Maria Shriver (Mariel Hemingway) and a top-rate team, Arnold finds himself using similar tactics to those that helped his younger self (Roland Kickinger) win a fifth straight Mr Olympia bodybuilding title back in 1974.

How on earth do you capture a man as unique as Arnold Schwarzenegger? Well, despite a simple-yet-inventive premise (as the contemporary older Arnie chases political ambitions he reminisces and makes parallels with his younger bodybuilding days), that was the problem always facing See Arnold Run.

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Sadly, though it offers enough 'insight' to entertain the Schwarzenegger faithful, this made-for-TV romp simply cannot escape the Austrian's rather large shadow. With his unrivalled screen-presence, boundless natural charisma and one of the most distinctly recognisable voices cinema has ever seen – the only man who could play Ah-nuhld is, well, Ah-nuhld.

This isn't the fault of the cast, though, as both Prochnow and Kickinger are good choices who give their all. As the older politically-aspiring version, Prochnow might sound like he’s doing a caricature take (“Ca-li-for-ni-a”) while not looking that much like the Governator, but it’s hard to imagine someone else fairing better. As the younger muscle-bound version, Roland Kickinger is a bit more successful, possessing a very similar build (in fact, he recently acted as the body double for Arnie’s T-800 in Terminator Salvation) while obviously enjoying mimicking his hero. As for Hemingway as supportive wife Shriver, aside from a few clunkety-clunk bits of dialogue (“Oprah! Girlfriend, your timing could not be more perfect”) she’s reasonably apt.

In terms of how the Austrian Oak is depicted, apart from frequent suggestions that he jumped into politics without really knowing what it involved, it’s hard to argue that this is anything but a love-letter. Using the parallels between learning legislation and forcing out those extra reps, we’re shown that despite all his flaws, this is a hard-working man who used a combination of natural charisma, endless positive thinking and a tireless work ethic to become the best. “You’re a machine!” exclaims one of his political aids after a ‘one more hour’ request on dull regulations. “That’s what Jim Cameron said,” is the reply…

Perhaps best avoided if you don’t love the bodybuilder-come-actor-cum-Governor, See Arnold Run is for fan’s only. If only it had the same self-belief and budget as the man himself…

Reviewed on: 24 Aug 2009
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Biopic tracking the Austrian Oak's bid to become the Governator.
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