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  • Made shortly after THE JAYNE MANSFIELD STORY and 18 months before CONAN THE BARBARIAN, THE COMEBACK, a wholly Australian flick was a semi- documentary styled film intending to chroncicle Arnie's attempts to lift a seventh Mr Olympia title at a time he had already declared his retirement from active competition. He had in fact been away from the sport for an incredible five years.

    Obviously intended as another PUMPING IRON, this totally underwhelming production, hopelessly biased in Schwarzenegger's favor, glosses over assertions that the competition (held in Australia that year) was rigged and that his subsequent regaining of the title may not have been altogether kosher.

    The film was produced by Paul Graham who at the time was the current Australian Mr Universe and who hosted Schwarzenegger during much of his stay in Australia. His partner Geoff Bennett edited THE COMEBACK, which should not be confused with the British horror film of the same name, and which starred crooner Jack Jones just eighteen months earlier.
  • Arnold after 5 years comes back to reclaim his throne as the premier doofus in the world. In his own self deprecating words..."It's so ridiculous.....having the title of Most Build Man in the world....very funny..." Jokes aside, this is a 'lost film' that I happened upon by chance. It is made in the same vein as Pumping Iron but lacks the rich drama and layered characters of P.I. This is an Arnold vehicle all the way and in fact was released months before he exploded onto the big screen as Conan the Barbarian. What are the highpoints of this movie for me are getting to see Arnold hasn't changed much despite being way from the sport for 5 years, or 15 in bodybuilding years.He is still the same lovable guy, with his competitive edge sharp as a razor. His English hilarious as usual..."I dream of Western philosophies.....conquering, ruling, being champion of the world...that kinda stuff.." Arnold remains an inspiration.His pursuit for excellence, ability to translate his goals to reality and wanting to be Master of the Universe is something that can be imbibed by all.To sum up....a good docu-film despite the average production values,and if you are a bodybuilding/Arnie fan. This guy rocks.
  • The director of this film is Kit Laughlin, at the time a live TV director at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). Kit is into physical and mental fitness (and still is) and heard that Arnie would be competing. Freelance editor Geoff Bennett edited the film. He is not Paul Graham's partner as someone has reported. This documentary came together very quickly with very little financing. The 16mm film stock was paid for with credit cards and the camera gear and processing on credit. The bodybuilders all arrived in Sydney two weeks ahead of the competition and the four man crew chased all sixteen competitors, quickly narrowing the target to four, including Arnie the comeback king, Tom Platz the philosophical 'Jonathon Livingston Seagull' dude, and Frank Zane the reigning world champion. In the final cut, the contrast between Arnie's take on things and Tom's seemed to be enough for the film. There is conjecture about the contest being rigged, but the filmmakers were unaware of this. The outcome was dramatically satisfying for the filmmakers who felt that the subject matter ended up being a fine example of personal philosophies being bulldozed by big business. Arnie had been retired for five years and was getting pumped up for his upcoming first big screen role as Conan. His friends convinced him to give it another shot. The final competition was photographed by four cameramen, two sound recordists, their girlfriends, and any equipment that could be mustered on the cheap. Most of this young crew were graduates of AFTRS (Australian Film, TV & Radio School) and have moved on to national and international success. It's not 'Pumping Iron' but all in all, a very credible effort with a strong structure for a cinema verité project.
  • as-4813 February 2004
    I first came across this film when I bought pumping iron on video. Packaged as an additional *bonus* film Total Rebuild, as it was marketed in the UK, chronicles Arnie's 'one off' return to competitive bodybuilding (and ultimately his 7th Mr Olympia victory). Shot in 1980 the film picks up during the principle photography of the second Conan movie. Arnie, who has been training for the film, is challenged to take part in the Olympia contest which is merely months away.

    In a rather weak parallel of Pumping Iron, the film fails to deliver the complexity of the original cult classic. The token bully, hopeful contender (destined for failure) and of course champion appear less believable and annoyingly expose the film for what it really was..... a PR stunt for Arnie (now on his way to the Hollywood A list) to regain face following the Pumping Iron movie - in which he was portrayed as a some what less then honourable character.

    If you are a keen bodybuilder, this film is great. It has the grit of the original movie and watching Tom Plats train his legs is reason enough to buy this film. If you are looking for that "pumping iron movie" experience.. then forget it, its doesn't really deliver.

    The video was deleted in the UK in 1995 and is now impossible to get hold of (I know because I have tried desperately!)
  • Arnie, the former Mister Olympia, has had to retrain in order to play Conan the Barbarian, and so decides to re-enter the Mister Olympia competition just to see if he could win it, meanwhile an up-and-coming bodybuilder in the shape of the bleach blond Tom Platz is looking to make an impression on the competition, can he upset the applecart and derail Arnie's big comeback into the bodybuilding arena?

    When I first saw this documentary film it was billed as "Total Rebuild" after the success of "Total Recall" and I had some idea of what I was getting, very much an Arnie self promotion video, but the thing that really makes it a cut above the ordinary bodybuilding features is the study of Tom Platz, who attempts to make out that bodybuilders are clever by reading philosophy, although I suspect that the philosophy that he reads is in fortune cookies. The competition sequence is very interesting and when one watches the posing sequence you can't help but be impressed by Arnie who poses moves poses so quickly with such a great choice of music that it really does hammer away the competition. Even then Arnie had a real sense of spectacle and what makes a great image. Tom Platz by contrast poses like he is constantly tries to amend his pose and make it better, seeming uncertain and unsure of himself, and his dialogue is amazingly bad, the fact that is not scripted and is truly him makes it for an even more interesting spectacle as he reveals himself on the camera and not in a good way.

    For me the Tom Platz humorous touches make this a more rewarding view than Pumping Iron which tends to make Arnie out to be a scumbag and doesn't focus on his better qualities, which he does have. A great guilty pleasure for both the eyes and ears