Director: John McTiernan
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O'Brien, Anthony Quinn, Mercedes Ruehl
Released: June 18, 1993
Last Action Hero is a movie from my childhood that I never watched because it was aimed at boys and I am of the female gender. But being that I don't discriminate, I decided to watch it. The film has a pretty cool premise, but didn't exactly execute it very well. I found that I was able to enjoy it because my expectations were pretty low anyway and it was actually better than I thought it would be. It's no Oscar-winning movie, but it is a fun way to spend a Wednesday evening (which was the day I happened to watch it on).
Austin O'Brien (he's one of those child stars who faded into obscurity) plays Danny, an eighth grader who would rather be at the cinema watching cool action movies than at school, and in fact, sometimes skips school just so he can watch cool action movies. His favorite is a franchise called Jack Slater which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (and I had to go to IMDB to see how to spell that!) as the title character, a cop who does a lot of ass-kicking, gun-toting, and blowing s**t up. You know, the usual things any eight-grade boy would love. He sneaks out of his house to see the latest installment of the Jack Slater series and the projectionist gives him a magic ticket. Danny asks him what it does, but he has no idea because he's too scared to know. So just give it to the pre-teen boy. Yeah, that's a good idea.
Danny watches the movie and he's the only one in the theater (either because the movie sucks or because this was at midnight - they didn't quite specify) and through the power of the magic ticket he is transported into the movie. Cool! So of course Danny thinks this is the coolest thing ever and thinks he's just on the set of a movie, but he's not. He's actually stepped into the world of the movie he was watching and is shocked to discover that his favorite action hero thinks he really is Jack Slater and has never heard of anyone named Arnold Schwarzenegger before.
There are some funny and clever scenes where Danny tries to prove that this is just a movie (like pointing out that all the women are ridiculously attractive and that there's a cartoon cat - don't ask), but one of my favorites is when he takes Jack to a video store to show him he's actually Schwarzenegger, star of Terminator 2, but when he sees a poster for the movie it has Sylvester Stallone on it. I also liked it when he writes down a bad word and Jack says he's not going to say it and Danny says, "I knew it! You can't say it because this movie is rated PG-13." (And yes, Last Action Hero is rated PG-13). I did laugh when Danny pointed out all the obvious action movie cliches because they're all in this one.
Some scenes are funny in an amusing way, but don't make any sense whatsoever. For example, F. Murray Abraham plays Slater's ex-partner and Danny's all in awe and says, "He killed Mozart!" Of course Jack has no idea what he's talking about and Danny tells him, "Didn't you ever see Amadeus? It won eight Oscars!" Okay, how the hell would a middle schooler know that? Now I saw Amadeus in my seventh grade music class, so I'm guessing Danny probably saw it at school too since he doesn't seem to be the type of kid who would watch it on his own. So perhaps it's possible he would recognize the actor in that movie. However, I'm calling shenanigans on him knowing that it won eight Oscars!
This movie is littered with cameos. From the totally random (Tina Turner playing a reporter in the movie's movie) to the huh? (Sharon Stone playing her character from Basic Instinct and Robert Patrick playing his character in T2, I guess because movie characters hang out with each other...?) to the pretty clever (Arnold S. does double duty and plays himself as well as Jack Slater).
All the characters get transported back into the "real world" and the bad guy figures that if he kills this Arnold Schwarzenegger guy, he can get rid of Jack Slater forever, so he has plans to have him assassinated at the premier of the film and that's where you see Arnold as himself along with Maria Shriver and there are some pretty funny scenes with them bickering. And of course when he sees Jack he says, "Wow, you're the best celebrity impersonation I've ever seen." Haha, movie, haha.
So Last Action Hero is a fun movie and there are some clever little winks, but don't go in expecting a masterpiece or anything.
It does make you wonder, if you could step into any movie, which one would you want to be transported to? Although I love Jurassic Park and Titanic, I wouldn't want to go to those worlds. My sadistic side would want to enter the world of Twilgiht. I would wear a Lady Gaga-inspired meatdress so Edward could be attracted to my scent and "fall in love" with me (just to piss off Bella), then I would drive a stake through his heart (just to piss off Bella). But I wouldn't want to waste time with those characters - I would probably die of the sheer boredom and bad acting! I think it would be fun to enter the world of Harry Potter or maybe Back to the Future to tell them, "Um, guys, there's no Hover Boards in the future." The possibilities are endless!