I was waiting for the premiere of Season 4 of Breaking Bad at a friend’s house last night and caught the tail end of Arnold’s action masterpiece Collateral Damage. Before getting into particulars, a few ruminations:
How many actors are known by one name (first or last)? Chaplin, Keaton, Stallone, Garbo, Mifune, Eastwood, Belmondo…but these are all last names. How many are known by their first name? Maybe Marlon? And of course, Arnold. A rare trait bestowed upon this fine, muscle-bound gentleman.
My friend Kevin brought this up: how much ad-libbing do you think Arnold does? I’m hoping, for the director and writer’s sakes, that it’s a lot. He had one monotone killer in this: “Damn you Brandt.” Do you think any sane director just lets A.S. run amok? Or maybe Arnold just doesn’t give a damn, purposely ruins other takes, and then “nails it” (to the extent that he can nail a take) when he wants it to make the final cut.
Arnold in close-up is hilarious. The attempts at emotion. Unbelievable.
So here’s what I wanted to talk about all along. I don’t really know the plot of Collateral Damage, but I understand that Arnold is some kind of operative who’s been sabotaged/blackmailed/double-crossed. Anyway, at one point Arnold calls some agency and he’s using a voice modulator. Kind of like the one popularized in Scream. And the agency, full of state-of-the art equipment and geniuses in the field, play his call on speaker-phone so the whole company can hear it.
Now keep in mind, he hasn’t disguised the most noticeable part of his voice – his accent. This voice modulator is only making it sound like his voice has much more bass in it. Not the brightest move, I guess.
But here’s the best part: 5 minutes later Arnold shows up in the exact agency. And no one recognizes him! Even when he speaks! He has the same accent! They’re all like, “who was that mysterious caller moments ago with the Austrian accent and the very deep voice?” And then Arnold speaks and they’re immediately not suspicious because, despite his being the only damn person in the entire damn world that speaks that way, his voice isn’t quite so deep. Unbelievable! This is the worst/best plotting I’ve seen in my life.