Then the massive engine began to unleash its deafening roar and as I watched the tank speed away with a crew of journalists clinging on for dear life the first thought that went through my head was, “Nothing that big should move that fast.” And that thought stuck with me throughout the rest of the day as Schwarzenegger peeled through the lot at Melody Ranch. More importantly, however, was the surprising amount of grace the machine had with the actor at the joystick. Without axels you’d think a tank would have troubles around curves and shimmy, but the hulk never deviated from course.

And then it was my turn to ride the great beast. While I climbed up the ladder I made sure to avoid the area that Schwarznegger noted could be used as a skillet and attempted to hold on to the tank with one my left hand and shoot video with my right. As the tank picked up speed I learned that this was an awful idea and almost instantaneously turned off my camera, placed it in my pocket, and put on my white knuckles instead.

And a quick tip to any of you who might someday find yourself riding on a tank with Arnold Schwarzenegger at the helm: make sure you’re paying attention to low-hanging tree branches because you can be damn sure he’s not paying attention for you.

And what would the day be without a grand finale 80s action movie style? While I had noticed the white Mercedes-Benz sitting out in the middle of the tank tracks, I didn’t pay it much mind until Schwarzenegger announced that he was going to crush it with his 48.6 ton death vehicle.

And once more, with feeling.

But I’m not through yet. Below you will find a totally stacked gallery that not only features images from our tank rides with Arnold, but also the amazing western sets of Melody Ranch!

The Last Stand hits theaters on January 18th and you can see more from the film in our Blend Film Database.

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