Bodybuilders and action heroes. Who can stand against their bulging biceps, veined quads, and dominating vascularity? Especially when they’re equipped with a million machine guns, camouflage, and the perfect script. You? Please. Me? Please.
Well, as these fellows proved, no amount of aliens, South American thugs, or dashes-of-lye-in-the-eye can hold a candle to the no nonsense muscle building and butt-kicking sensibilities of the following muscle movies:
1. Pumping Iron
Pumping Iron traces the clash between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno during their race to a bodybuilding championship. Viewers are taken into their gyms and into their heads–sometimes far more than we might like. This movie is an absolute treasure for me. Whether it’s Arnold talking about how lifting is better than sex, the unsavory tricks competitors might play on each other, or the shot of the skinny guy with the afro doing lightweight curls when Arnold walks by, there’s something for everyone here.
I’m serious. This is one of the most entertaining muscle films in existence.There was a sequel about women, but I haven’t seen it. I’m just not as interesting in the shenanigans of women building muscle for some reason. Sorry ladies.
2. Blood And Guts
Dorian Yates was the untouchable Mr. Olympia for quite a while. One look at his muscular back was enough to send most competitors into tears. How did he do it? Well, a large part of it was training like that featured in his documentary Blood And Guts. The film is in black and white and is nothing but Dorian Yates and his trainer lifting. You want to see the effort these guys use to build muscle up? (Just because steroids are involved doesn’t lessen the effort). Take a look at Blood and Guts and see how you measure up, assuming you’re of the “No pain no gain” bodybuilding mindset. (I’m not).
Are you kidding me? Take a look at this picture. This is how people shake hands in Predator. If you want bigger biceps, if you want to know the best way to build muscle, this is the secret–every time you’re getting your reunion on with your old muscle buddies, shake hands like you mean it. Then go fight an alien with a bunch of other bodybuilders.
Predator pretty much sets the standard for awesome, excessive, hyoooooge action.
I know, I know, lots of Arnold here. But for good reason. If you ever watched Commando, you were no doubt hypnotized by the lingering shots of Arnie rowing that raft with every fiber flexing. And he chops a lot of wood. And then he carries a lot over his shoulder which results in some bicep shots nearly as gratuitous as the Predator handshake.
You might think that if you’ve seen Van Damme’s back flexing while he’s doing the splits, you’ve seen it enough. I disagree. Whatever you want to say about JCVD, the man in his prime was an absolutely incredible physical specimen. Rippling muscles, body control, crazy crescent kicks, Bolo Yeung, that biker guy, and some giant aviator shades…Bloodsport delivers on every conceivable level. Well, no it doesn’t, but it’s pretty great.
If you’re a Van Damme fan and you have not yet seen JCVD, I urge you to watch it. It is wonderful. Not a joke.
All right, I don’t want to have all the fun. What am I leaving out? Let’s drag the waters and see what other movies full of testosterone and muscles float to the surface. Also, who is coming to The Expendables with me?
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