47 Movie Blogs #3 – Five Movies with Fake Arms

“What?  What sort of crazy topic is this?” I cry to my friend Jo.  Except that I am kidding, I actually came up with it myself.  In fact, it might have been a bit of an inspiration for the general list that Jo is working from to select each subject for this blog series.

(Incidentally, this is #3 in a series of 47 posts about movies, with topics selected by my friend, each given to me after the previous one is written.  For more information, check out #1 here.)

For the sake of this, I’m not being pedantic about what is an “arm” exactly.  Hands count as well.

So let’s get into it:  movie with fake arms.

The Fugitive (1993) – Directed by Andrew Davis

• Fake-Arm character:  Frederick Sykes
• Missing arm:  Right
• How the arm was lost:  Unrevealed in the specifics, apparently in the line of duty as a Chicago police officer

This film was one of the best things to come out of a very good year in Hollywood movies, 1993.  It’s probably the best ever big-screen remake of a television series, and it gave us all one of our favorite Tommy Lee Jones parts in a movie, US Marshall Sam Gerard.  It also gave us one of our best ever one-armed characters, Fredrick Sykes.  Sykes is a hitman with a prosthetic arm who is being pursued by Harrison Ford’s Richard Kimble for the entire film.  He’s an unusual but memorable villain, brought to life by the always amazing Andreas Katsulas.

I, Robot (2004) – Directed by Alex Proyas

• Fake-Arm character:  Del Spooner
• Missing arm:  Left
• How the arm was lost:  Unrevealed in the specifics, apparently in the line of duty as a Chicago police officer

One thing you can say about the Chicago police department, they do right by their people when they lose their arms.  Back in 1993, Fredrick Sykes got a “normal” prosthetic arm after he lost a limb, and in 2035, Will Smith’s Del Spooner got a state-of-the-art futuristic  arm after he had a similar problem.  The reveal that Smith’s character’s arm is robotic is a surprise twist in the middle of I, Robot, and conveniently allows him to go on to have much more dynamic combat scenes with the hordes of marauding automatons that he has to go on to fight.  Anyway, a lot of people deride I, Robot, but I’ve always enjoyed it.

Captain America:  The Winter Soldier (2014) – Directed by the Russo Brothers

• Fake-Arm character:  James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes
• Missing arm:  Left
• How the arm was lost:  Possibly in the fall from a train as seen in Captain America: The First Avenger, but possibly a result of the experiments that took place later on which turned him into the Winter Soldier

One of the best Marvel movies turned Captain America’s apparently dead friend Bucky into the Winter Soldier, a brainwashed assassin working for HYDRA.   The Winter Soldier also shows up in Civil War and briefly in Ant-Man, but Winter Soldier is his most memorable turn, or at least the most memorable turn of his artificial arm.  It debuts in style when Bucky seems to be the one thing nobody else can, which is catch Captain America’s shield.

Young Frankenstein (1974) – Directed by Mel Brooks

• Fake-Arm character:  Inspector Kemp
• Missing arm:  Right
• How the arm was lost:  In combat with the original Frankenstein’s monster

Young Frankenstein is one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, and the credit for this can be spread around to a lot of people.  But one of those is Kenneth Mars for his hilarious performance as Inspector Kemp, the police officer in the local town where the Frankenstein’s come from.  With his outrageous accent, his monocle atop of an eyepatch, and his poseable artificial arm, he is memorable and really funny.

Return of the Jedi (1983) – Directed by Richard Marquand

• Fake-Arm character:  Darth Vader & Luke Skywalker
• Missing arm:  Right / Right
• How the arm was lost:  In combat with Count Dooku / In combat with Darth Vader (both originally in other movies)

I know, I know, Darth Vader has already lost both of his arms, and he has artificial arms in every Star Wars movie that he appears in (at least, every one he appears in as Darth Vader).  And Luke has an artificial hand in 3 out of 4 movies that he appears in (so far).  But I pick Return of the Jedi because it’s the most poignant out of all the possible examples.  In one of the saga’s most dramatic sequences, Luke fights his father with the light-sabre for the second time, getting the better of him and eventually taking off his  hand.  The sight of his father’s mechanical hand brings back the memory of his own lost hand, and immediately Luke can see where the dark side of the force will take him.  He turns to the Emperor and says, “Never.  I’ll never turn to the Dark Side.  You’ve failed, your highness.  I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”

Awesome stuff.


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