This much loved comedy thriller from 1990 has Arnold Schwarzenegger in a humorous role. But it’s inventive and thoughtful, plus it lands some of his most quotable moments.
LAPD Detective John Kimble has spent years pursuing drug kingpin Cullen Crisp (in LA—Los Angeles, you idiot!).
He opens proceedings in typical Big Arnie fashion, blowing everyone up with a massive gun and dropping quips along the way. Hell yeah!
Detective Kimble then finds out Crisps’ wife, Rachel, has nabbed millions from her husband and taken her son, Cullen Jnr., to Astoria in Oregon.
Teaming up with Detective Phoebe O’Hara (Pamela Reed) he goes undercover as a teacher to find Rachel. The plan is to offer her immunity if she testifies against her husband.
At this point Detective Kimble, used to the gritty world of wiping out horrible people, suddenly comes up against a bunch of kids.
Initially dismissing the idea as a piece of cake, he soon discovers looking after the little monsters is more hellish than any gun wielding drug gang.
So that leads to the famous “Shuuuutttt upppp!!!” scene. One of the best Arnold noises ever! But Kimble eventually starts to get to grips with things and becomes a better teacher.
Although he’s constantly left exasperated by the children and their weird questions, which he responds to in amusing fashion.
We have to say, Schwarzenegger is bloody good here. He really does have good comedic timing, with his expressions of incredulity making for repeatedly enjoyable viewing.
The screenplay was by Murray Salem, Herschel Weingrod, and Timothy Harris and they do a great job of picking up on the inherent humour of having a bloke like Schwarzenegger in that situation.
So the jokes come in thick and fast around the concept. And for a while, Detective Kimble is drawn into this world and starts to sort of enjoy it.
Especially when he starts to apply his police training towards classroom activities.
The writing and performances are strong enough to mesh the high-concept together well, to the point it’s an affecting and somewhat poignant take on youth and… bodybuilders?
Well no, it’s something of a life experience for Schwarzenegger’s Detective John Kimble. He grows as a character, offering an enjoyable character arc for the audience.
It’s thoughtfully done and that’s what matters.
But it also doesn’t hold back on the mayhem when it needs to, this includes dealing with a case of child abuse where Kimble goes too far in his retribution.
All of which then builds to a rather dramatic ending, making the film a unique blend of family comedy with Big Arnie violence.
And, again, for it just all works. For some reason. Schwarzenegger’s acting by this point was improving.
So it allows for a natural (if that’s possible with this dude) performance. The big draw is, of course, seeing The Terminator in a classroom.
Schwarzenegger is, of course, the main draw. And his comedy chops are excellent. The film pokes quite a bit of fun at him and he goes along with it, highlighting the guy does have some sense of humility.
From the thousands of child actors who auditioned for the role, this lot do a decent job too.
But as a strangely offbeat, lightweight, yet full-on film it really delivers the goods. Bravo! I’ll be back… with my crayons.
Ivan Reitman directed, the Czechoslovak-Canadian is famous for Ghostbusters (1984) and had worked with Schwzenegger on Twins (1988).
More recently he directed the Oscar nominated Up In The Air (2009).
With a $26 million budget and arguably the world’s most famous actor of the day, it’s no surprise Kindergarten Cop was a smash hit raking in $202 million.
Bill Murray was initially approached for the John Kimble role, but it eventually went to Big Arnie. He’d already branched into comedy films and displayed surprising aptitude there.
Despite his reputation, Schwarzenegger is able to poke fun at himself and doesn’t always take things too seriously.
And the sight of a hulking great bodybuilder with a thick Austrian accent, preposterous surname, and history of playing psychotic robots does make for amusing scenarios in different contexts.
A recent candid interview for the latest Terminator film this year shows a surprising side to him, one where he genuinely values the films he’s been in.
So we enjoyed the above interview, it’s a side we don’t often see of him.
Kindergarten Cop 2
In 2016, Dolph Lundgren took up a similar role for the belated sequel. The film met with terrible reviews. Hurray!
We mention this as the odd thing with Lundgren (now 62) is the Swedish actor and martial artist also has an IQ through the roof.
He was studying chemical engineering in America during the ’70s and ’80s when friends suggested he take up acting.
His bodybuilder frame and conventional good looks certainly did make him ideal for the action romps of the 1980s.
It brought him cult status, too, in daft macho action flicks such as Rocky IV (1985) opposite Sylvester Stallone and Universal Soldier (1992) with Jean-Claude Van Damme. More recently he’s back in the Expendables franchise.
It’s odd as he’s not exactly a convincing actor and it’s hardly his major skill in life. In films he often plays grunting strong bloke sorts who look a bit thick—and he’s starred in many terrible films.
You wouldn’t think he can speak seven languages.
Meanwhile he was in superhero film Aquaman last year and is set for a starring role in Pups Alone: A Christmas Peril this year. Well, if it makes the guy happy then go for it.