Review: Schwarzenegger crashes and burns in 'Aftermath'

Posted Friday, June 2, 2017 at 4:01 PM Central
Last updated Friday, June 2, 2017 at 4:03 PM Central

by John Couture

Over the years, I never really gave much thought to Arnold Schwarzenegger the actor. Recently, he has busied himself with politics and TV, so his acting career was the furthest thing from people's minds.

But now, it appears that the action star is easing himself back into acting so we suddenly have to debate his acting chops or lack thereof. The Terminator made his mark in action films and he didn't do much to shed the typecast as an action star.

He was certainly good at it and my favorite film of his was the old actioner Commando, that also happened to star Alyssa Milano during the peak of my adolescent crush on the actress. Hmm...

As I sat down to watch Aftermath, I really didn't have any expectations. I knew that it was based on (or inspired by or whatever) true events, but I just figured that it would be more of the same. After losing his wife and daughter in a plane crash, I fully expected to see his character go on meltdown while the body count increased. What I got was anything but.

While it's true that the film is based on actual events, they have taken some liberties here and there to muddy the facts and that's never a good sign. A further warning signal was the fact that the role required Schwarzenegger to actually act and convey emotions that I'm not sure he is entirely capable of displaying.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Schwarzenegger's role of Roman would require an actor that can convey the type of internal strife that the Austrian bodybuilder hasn't show up to this point. Granted, the best actors can find a new life in a different genre, Mickey Rourke and Liam Neeson come to mind lately, but I wasn't holding my breath.

I won't spoil the film, but spoiler alert, Arnold Schwarzenegger is probably not going to make the transition to a serious dramatic actor. That's not to say that the film is a waste because the story and pacing are pretty good when they set up the third act, but ultimately the emotional weight of the film falls flat due to Schwarzenegger's efforts.

There are some action moments and Arnold Schwarzenegger handles these as you would expect from an action vet, but it's too little too late and by then the film has lost all of the emotional punch that the filmmakers were hoping the climax of the film would provide.

I will leave it there because there are some different twists that the film takes from the real events and if you ever watch it, you will want to have these preserved for you. I will only say that the film had the potential to be a powerful film about emotional loss and justice but in the end by hitching their wagon to Arnold Schwarzenegger's lead performance, the filmmakers undermine their own efforts.

Aftermath is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray.