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The Selling of Schwarzenegger, 2013

Arnold returns - but do we still need him?

Three months after T3 opened to decent but unspectacular business, he was elected governor of California. A more face-saving rescue from his foundering movie career could hardly be imagined. Directed by Jonathan Mostow, T3 isn't great, but it's as strong a Terminator flick as we were going to get after Cameron wandered off in pursuit of unobtainium. It was smart enough to have its still-hulking 54-year-old star observe, with a perfect, digital absence of sentimentality, "I'm an obsolete design."

What's left for Arnold, then? He sports a terrifying gray goatee in The Tomb, a prison-break movie he's starring in with Stallone, due later this year. He's playing a crooked DEA agent in Ten, directed by Training Day scribe David Ayer, whose cop films are always worth seeing. Then there are the sequels, one of which is promising.

Schwarzenegger is set to appear in 2014's The Legend of Conan, reprising the role of the senescent warrior-king we glimpse resting on his throne in the bookends of 1982's Conan the Barbarian, his starring debut. Writer-producer Chris Morgan has said the story will depict the warrior in winter, allowing Arnold to play more or less his actual age: a conqueror, seldom burdened by self-awareness, looking back on his bloody trail, withered by age and, just maybe, regret.

It sounds perfect.

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