Directed by Chuck Russell Screenplay by Tony Puryear and Walon Green
Arnold Schwarzenegger as John Kruger Robert Pastorelli as Johnny Casteleone Rick Batalla as Kevin, the Bartender
Kruger, a Witness Protection specialist, goes to see Casteleone, a mob witness who has been given a new identity.
So this particular scene exemplifies the standard gay bar / disco as it will appear for the next fifteen years to the current day. From being something secretive, faintly grubby, now we have all these gay bars that flatter audiences that gay life is just a little more glamorous and exciting: “Absolutely Fabulous”, ”Sex and the City”, “Will and Grace” , and “Queer as Folk”.
What you get here are as many disparate, but non-controversial aspects of the gay club scene as can be crammed into one scene in as short a time as possible. So you get flamboyant drag queens performing, and also one or two female impersonators in the general audience. The extravagantly dressed pair are not drag queens but instead evocative of the more avant-garde club scene, reminiscent of Leigh Bowery or the Club Kids in the early 90s (and I’m old enough to remember seeing Michael Alig and co on various NYC talk shows when I did homework after school). Otherwise the rest of the clientele are gym-toned and either in revealing or tops or else in waistcoats. What there aren’t are any clones of leather daddies. This isn’t “The Blue Oyster”.
The flipside to this openness is a corresponding ease on the part of the two straight men. This is lightly humorous scene, where the characters are just amused that they are in a gay bar and nothing more. The characters tease each other but aside from the opening “Was it your idea to leave me with the Village People?” line from Pastorelli, they don’t mock the gay men. They’re not uncomfortable being there. There’s no sense of their masculinity being threatened or fear of sexual assault.