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Total recall

Arnold Schwarzenegger's best and worst characters in movies

By Frank Paiva
Special to MSN Movies

He said he'd be back. This week marks the release of "The Last Stand," which features Arnold Schwarzenegger in his first lead role since 2003's "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."

A lot of unlikely stuff has happened in the past decade for the Austrian Oak. For starters, he was the governor of California. Apparently voters in the Golden State enjoyed writing letters that began with "Dear Governor Schwarzenegger." With all due respect, that salutation still sounds like something from a mid-'80s "Saturday Night Live" sketch. The unlikely politician was re-elected by a margin of 16 percentage points, though, so he was obviously well-liked.

Bing: More about 'The Last Stand' | Video: Watch 'The Last Stand' trailer

At least until the secret-baby scandal happened. The whole thing was just icky, filled with the kind of lurid behavior that belongs in a Lifetime TV movie and nowhere else. Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are in the middle of a divorce after 25 years of marriage. The scandal propelled his tell-all autobiography to the height of public consciousness, but the awareness failed to boost book sales. "Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story" languished on shelves earlier this winter.

"The Last Stand" will be a good way to gauge if the public is willing to separate Schwarzenegger the actor from Schwarzenegger the man. The film is the American debut from Korean director Kim Ji-Woon. Genre film fans who don't mind subtitles are familiar with his odd and violent work: great movies like "I Saw the Devil," "A Tale of Two Sisters," and "The Good, the Bad, the Weird." Given this pedigree, there's a good chance "The Last Stand" will be better than the run-of-the-mill star vehicles that almost derailed Schwarzenegger's career in the late '90s and early '00s.

To celebrate the movie's release, here are 10 of Arnold Schwarzenegger's best and worst characters.

(Lionsgate)