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Film Review: Last Action Hero (1993)

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Last-Action-Hero-1993-movie-Arnold-Schwarzenegger-bluraySYNOPSIS:

With the help of a magic ticket, a young film fan is transported into the fictional world of his favorite action film character.

REVIEW:

“Last Action Hero” was a film well noted at its initial arrival for churning out a few talking points. The first being that it was dismissed by critics as being not up to the standards of other Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. This factor also arriving from the film surfacing between the much hailed “True Lies” and “Terminator films” (of that time). Second, it was especially long coming in at 2 hours and 10 minutes. For an action comedy film, most would argue that it should have been edited down to a more consumable 90 minutes. In fact Last Action Hero is a perfect example of a movie that runs too long to its own good.

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The film itself has an extensive point sheet attached to it that declared it a financial loss and general bomb for Schwarzenegger who received $15 million for his role in the film. On top of that, it meandered its way to DVD and now bluray several years later.

“Last Action Hero” was a film well noted at its initial arrival for a few talking points. The first being that it was dismissed by critics as being not up to the standards of other Arnold Schwarzenegger movies at that time. This factor arising from the film surfacing between the much hailed “True Lies” and Terminator films. It’s 2nd being that it was an especially long film coming in at 2 hours and 10 minutes. For an action comedy film, most would argue that it should have gotten cut down to a more consumable 90 minutes. In fact Last Action Hero is a “perfect” example of a movie that runs too long for its own good.

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The film itself has an extensive point sheet attached to it that declared it a financial loss and general bomb for Schwarzenegger who received $15 million for his role in the film. On top of that, it meandered its way onto DVD and now bluray several years later (making for a slow crawl to home entertainment)

Before we dwell too much on its negative points, I will say that my opinion of this film leans more towards a a positive bias as a film of interest. The subject matter here may have been a bit deeper in some respects that flew over the heads of its simpler viewers. That doesn’t make it a bad film, it just makes it a film that viewers were not expecting under the star power of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Last Action Hero, to me feels more like an action movie meets children’s movie meets drama. Top that off with comedic moments and what you have is basically a bit of a mess. The base of this film is the effects of a magic ticket (given by Houdini) and alternate worlds…aka….the real world and the world of fiction.

When Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) is given a ticket from his old friend Nick, (Robert Prosky) the projectionist from an old theatre that still plays Jack Slater movies, he doesn’t expect that it literally would come with its own “special magic”.

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Danny ends up merging into the movie and as a result becoming a character in the latest Jack Slater film. The twist here is that Jack Slater doesn’t realize that he is a movie character but soon begins to suspect something is fishy with the amount of information Danny Madigan has at his disposal. This notion of “convincing Jack” runs a bit to long as Danny keeps trying to impress Jack with his saviness of Jack Slater films. The movie comes complete with a villain, Benedict (Charles Dance) at thug hit man who wears a interchangeable glass eye. Benedict wants to kill Slater, while Slater does his best one-liners while hunting down Benedict. If that isn’t enough, the movie pushes out a second villain, The ripper played by a makeup-disguised Tom Noonan who plays Jack’s first villain from a previous film. Ya…..first pass it may seem complicated.

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The movie makes its way thru a “movie in process” finally circling its way around to getting back to the real world. This is where fiction bumps into reality as Jack the fictional character follows Danny into reality and ends up meeting the actor r Arnold Schwarzenegger. The concept is great in theory but as mentioned before it gets too bogged down in its middle act making for a tired experience. Arnold Schwarzenegger gets his fair share of action sequences that also become bogged down in the “making a point” premise of this movie.

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“Last Action Hero” is by no means a movie that doesn’t deserve looking into. My advice is not to sit thru it in one complete sitting allowing for intermission breaks. This helps to wade thru the heavier fat of the film so that you don’t miss the better moments that interlace through out. The 3rd act also introduced a great concept which is one villain having the ability to extract other villains (for a world take over, no less). The humor is intended which sometimes feels like its married too much to the drama to make it humorous enough to work.

Take it all in stride as Last Action Hero is a movie I’ve seen a few times and still enjoy. Like its box office returns it isn’t the best Schwarzenegger film, but it still tries to meet expectations.

Last Action Hero is now available on bluray per Mill Creek Entertainment

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