Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Oak and Biehn: Birthday Bros

"Come with me if you want to live."  "I didn't build the fucking thing!"  "Fuck you, asshole." 
"I'll be back."  "I came across time for you."  "Wrong."  "Nice night for a walk."

Sorry, was just thinking of some lines that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Biehn have in The Terminator...  (clears throat) Today marks the 67th birthday of one Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger while his co-star and James Cameron cohort Michael Connell Biehn celebrates turning 57 tomorrow.  The perfect yet opposite duo of all things kick ass, 80's and 90's style, The Oak and The Biehn are both busier than ever 30 years after the release of the seminal film which will celebrate it's own "birthday" in October.  Of course, The Terminator helped Arnold transition from the bodybuilding meathead and stoic Conan to more modern and mainstream roles in hits like Predator, Twins, Total Recall and his greatest box office success, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  If being the world's biggest movie star, a successful businessman and all around king of kings wasn't enough, Arnie went and got himself into politics starting in 1990.  Appointed Chairmen of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Arnold crossed the country on his own dime lobbying all 50 governors to promote kids getting off their asses after school.  Then in 2003, The Schwarz won a Recall Election for the Governorship of California by a landslide, garnering 48% of the vote and serving until 2009. 

Arnold's return to Hollywood has yielded buzz worthy appearances in friend Sylvester Stallone's The Expendables trilogy while excellent headlining efforts The Last Stand and Sabotage were largely ignored by moviegoers.  But like the robotic Frankenstein style monster that is shot, beat and blown up yet keeps coming back that he played in the first film, The Terminator franchise refuses to die.  Since 1984 audiences have been given 3 live action sequels, a television show, comic books, video games, toys and much more.  In 2015, The Terminator will be back...again...with a big budget sequel/reboot/standalone flick helmed by Game of Thrones and Thor: The Dark World's Alan Taylor featuring Arnold as an aging T-800 along with original hero Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), heroine Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and their progeny John Connor (Jason Clarke).  Story details are under wraps but it looks like adult aged versions of Reese, Sarah and John will be hopping in and out of the Terminator timeline we saw from the first films. 

Equally important and arguably the real star of The Terminator, Michael Biehn has carved out a solid niche for himself as a versatile performer, low-watt leading man and the ultimate example of a physical yet vulnerable cinematic hero.  Starting with the first of four collaborations with James Cameron, The Terminator took former model and movie heavy/stalker Biehn into new territory as the mysterious hero and father of the future Kyle Reese, a hardened yet sensitive soldier sent on a suicide mission to save humanity.  Outspokenly as not the hero type, Biehn's convincing and inspiring performance as Reese has led to many a soldier/cop/secret agent type role and the only actor to ever play a Navy SEAL in 3 different films resulting in the Navy deeming him an honorary Frogman.  His quiet intensity and physical prowess have been put to excellent use in titles like Aliens, The Abyss, Navy Seals, Timebomb, K2, Tombstone, The Rock, The Magnificent Seven and Grindhouse: Planet Terror where his cool guy attitude and heroic good looks make you wish he was in a lot more movies.  Director Robert Rodriguez purposely gave Biehn's Sheriff Hague a hero shot introduction in Planet Terror, knowing that genre fans would eat it up and easily establish the badass-ness of the local law enforcement.  In 1987, video game giant Konami based the box art for Metal Gear's Solid Snake on Biehn while 2013's Far Cry 3 expansion pack Blood Dragon features the actor as uber 80's and 90's style hero Sergeant Rex "Power" Colt, a shit talking, wise cracking, girl getting, bad guy killing world savior that was released to widespread acclaim and over 1 million digital sales.

Lately, Biehn and wife Jennifer Blanc have seized control of their destinies and opened their own production company, churning out low budget genre flicks that give actors and directors a stake in the film to insure best efforts.  2011's The Victim sold to Anchor Bay and the Biehn's toured the globe for screenings and meeting the fans.  With 2 more films in the can and at least half a dozen more in various stages of production, Blancbiehn recently acquired office space to centralize their efforts and ensure much more Biehn screen for years to come.

Happy birthday, gents.  Now get back to work and give me more movies to watch!

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