Success, as those dealing with cryptocurrencies know, goes hand in hand with ability of take or manage risks. That includes even the greatest Hollywood stars at the top of their game. Arnold Schwarzenegger took such risk in late 1980s when he had its reputation built exclusively on violent action films. He tried to prove that he could be successful also as star of comedies. Hollywood establishment was initially sceptical towards the idea and Schwarzenegger actually had to fight hard for the starring role in Twins, 1988 film produced and directed by Ivan Reitman. Ultimately he secured it by giving up the fixed salary in exchange for percentage of profits – a move that would, thanks to the film’s massive box office success, become best business decision of his career.
The plot deals with consequences of secret US government experiments aimed at creating physically and mentally superior human being. Six top scientists and athletes had their DNA taken and used in order to inseminate a woman that bore two babies. The first one was Julius Benedict (played by Schwarzenegger), who grew on a remote South Pacific island supervised by scientists, receiving top class education and physical training. On his 35th birthday, Julius learns that he had another brother and decides to go to Los Angeles to find him. It turns out that his twin brother Vincent Benedict (played by Danny DeVito) isn’t identical twin and that not only has different look but his life took completely different path – after growing up in orphanage, he was educated on the streets and now gets involved in various shady deals and petty crime for a living. When Julius finally meets him, Vincent is at first sceptical at his claims but soon learns to appreciate his huge brother as his personal bodyguard who would protect him from the criminals he had crossed during his line of work. Julius, on the other hand, wants to find their mother with the trail leading to New Mexico. Brothers’ plans converge when Vincent learns that the trunk of a car he stole contains valuable item he is supposed to deliver in Austin. Brothers go on a journey, accompanied by Vincent’s girlfriend Linda Mason (played by Chloe Webb) and her sister Marnie (played by Kelly Preston).
Schwarzenegger’s idea to test himself as a comedic actor might have looked strange in late 1980s, but not those familiar with his early career in which most of the now forgotten or obscure films in which he appeared used to be comedies. Schwarzenegger actually showed some knack for comedy even in action films which would never have worked without some of his famous one-liners. In Twins he was paired with genuine comedy star Danny DeVito. That pairing worked not only because of physical differences between the two but also because of a great “buddy buddy” dynamic. Schwarzenegger and DeVito perfectly played their stereotypes with both characters having strengths and weaknesses – Julian is well-educated and physically strong, but naive and potential victim at the mean streets of Los Angeles; Vincent is ugly and unrefined, but he has not only street smarts but also devilish charm to be a successful ladies’ man. DeVito also does very good job of winning the audience’s sympathies for his initially unlikeable character, as well as making his inevitable bonding with the brother look natural.
Twins, on the other hand, is hardly among the best of Schwarzenegger’s films, although hardly something Schwarzenegger should be ashamed of. Most of the film’s flaws come from the poor script which complicates things too much with often unnecessary subplots – like the one dealing with loan sharks threatening Vincent (whose leader was played by veteran character actor Maury Chaykin) or the one dealing with deadly “fixer” (played by Marshall Bell) who wants to get the content of Vincent’s car. Those subplots make film overlong, just like some plot twists near the end also serve as rather unconvincing excuse for film to be little longer. Impression isn’t improved by rather forgettable music including some forgettable 1980s pop songs. Reitman as director, on the other hand, keeps things neat and tidy and the film, despite its flaws, ends on a positive note, affirming traditional family values. Schwarzenegger succeeded in his plan to entertain the audience as comedian and, at the end of the day, that was the most important.
RATING: 6/10 (++)
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