With Sly Stallone having proved that it is possible to boast not one, not two but three separate franchises (even as he nudges 70) it appears his one-time rival and now best buddy Arnold Schwarzenegger has followed suit.
Having retired his Governator’s seat Arnie has returned to movies with a vengeance – and a little help from Mr Stallone.
Following guest shots in the Expendables series the Austrian Oak has gone back to basics as the Terminator.
What’s more, shooting has apparently wrapped on the fifth film in the saga.
The movie, revealed as Terminator: Genisys, was described by Arnie as challenging, fun and rewarding.
It’s not yet clear how much action the 67-year-old veteran will be involved in but the cast of up-and-comers includes Emilia (Game of Thrones) Clarke, Jason (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) Clarke and former Doctor Who Matt Smith.
What is evident is that this is still Schwarzenegger’s franchise. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines represented his swansong before entering politics; now he will return to the world of cyborgs seemingly by popular demand.
Also in the pipeline are Triplets, a late sequel to Twins, reuniting Schwarzenegger with Danny De Vito 26 years after their original outing – Eddie Murphy is also set to co-star – and The Legend of Conan, which resurrects Arnie’s first big movie icon.
There is a lot to be said for stars surfing the nostalgia wave. Stallone and his Expendables – and, apparently, an off-shoot starring female action stars called The Expendabelles – have managed three movies before they really do grow too old.
Now Schwarzenegger is copying the format, dredging up the old hits, dusting them off and filming anew before the sell-by date becomes toxic.
One wonders what is still to come.
It was Jean Renoir who postulated the theory that film directors end up making the same film over and over again.
John Ford admitted he followed that route. Much later John Carpenter held his hands up to the same confession with apparent glee.
After years in the wilderness Stallone came back with final chapters in his Rocky and Rambo series.
He knew what the fans wanted and handed it to them on a plate. The end result? Wholesale career revival.
I’m not convinced Schwarzenegger will fare as well. Instead I see this as a valediction, a last hurrah, a longish goodbye. Thirty years is a long time to peddle a franchise.
Then again, Stallone’s been peddling longer. Rocky Balboa first climbed into the ring in 1976. John Rambo ran amok in 1982. So there’s life in the old dog yet.
I guess they’ll keep making them as long as we keep wanting them. Either that or the studios will go into turnaround and opt for new, original material with actors we’ve never heard of.
What a radical departure: a studio system showcasing fresh talent and opening the doors to a new golden age. Think Scorsese in the 1970s.
Pigs might fly but I doubt it.