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Underrated post-modern take on action movies
Sentinel-1529 June 2002
Highly underrated Arnie movie.

Is it a comedy? An action movie? A spoof of the entire action movie genre? Well, it might be all of them, and more.

This movie could be interpreted in several ways. In it, Arnold is spoofing himself (or his on-screen persona, anyway) and the genre of action movies in general.

What's more, it's a story within a story, making an audience member part of the story, giving the whole thing a post-modern twist. The movie is full of genre in-jokes and self-references, making fun of many of the clichés - while at the same time referring to other films, actors, and even other genres, making this sort of a celebration of the entire film business.

On the other hand - in case you don't care about all of this - as an action movie in itself, it's still very entertaining. If you like Schwarzenegger action movies, you'll like this one as well.

Don't let anyone tell you this is a "bad movie". See it for yourself, and make up your own mind.
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quick reviews!
malkane31623 May 2004
Another underrated movie, and one which few people understand, or try to. This is a spoof of action movies, primarily those starring Arnie and Stallone, ones which director McTiernen has made a living from. That said, the action, stunts, effects are good, the cast, especially Arnie, ham it up as much as possible, and the plot is pretty clever. Tons of in-jokes make this an entertaining film, and I'll admit that's all it is. But that's all it is trying to be. Don't whine to me about artistic merit, character development, internal meditations on life and all that crap-I have those movies on my list too. It's an action movie, where the bad guys are supposed to die, cars are meant to explode when scratched, the good guy is untouchable, and it knows it. 8 out of 10
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An Unappreciated Gem
ReelCheese20 August 2006
We all have that one movie we absolutely love but of which no one else seems to think very highly. My 10/10 rating for LAST ACTION HERO signals that this is mine. But before you laugh me out of IMDb, allow me to explain why I think this notorious bomb is in actuality an unappreciated gem.

The central highlight of LAST ACTION HERO is the plot. I've seen this film three times, and in each instance I've been completely drawn into the notion that there exists a magical Movieland where we too could travel if only we had a magic ticket. It's sort of every film buff's fantasy, one that we get to enjoy through young Danny Madigan(Austin O'Brien) as he meets up with clichéd action hero Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course). It's priceless to see the real-world youth interact with the silver screen community and its cartoon cats, 555 phone numbers, and impossibly perfect women. It's equally entertaining when Slater comes into our world, discovering that he can't effortlessly smash his fist through a vehicle window or blow up his enemies with ease. Love it or hate it, you have to admit the story gets high marks for originality.

The writing is another highpoint, convincingly mixing so many great elements. Those behind the script nicely exploited the vast potential within the storyline. LAST ACTION HERO is on the one hand a satire of so many action films in which the likes of Schwarzenegger have straightfacedly starred. The oft-sequelized Slater chomps a cigar and wields bullets like confetti at a wedding, effortlessly taking out the bad guys and spewing witty quips. At another angle, the movie is a lighthearted romp, with one-liners and plenty of pokes at Hollywood. From another viewpoint, it's a dramatic piece, with Danny struggling to make it through an awkward age and Slater coming to grips with his unreeled existence -- and that in the real world, the bad guys can and do win. Nowhere along the line is it Oscar-caliber stuff, but it is entertaining.

There are other things to like about LAST ACTION HERO. The action is well-paced and well-placed. The acting is more than up to par, with O'Brien and Schwarzenegger great individually and as a tandem. The humor is sharp and effective, with Arnie often hilarious in his self-deprecating ways.

Perhaps much of the negative criticism directed LAST ACTION HERO came from those who didn't understand what it was trying to do. This was never meant to be another one of Arnie's shoot-'em-ups, lame attempts at comedy or even a family film. It was just meant to be fun to watch. And that's what matters most in any film. There are things about the film that don't work, but there are things about THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE that don't work, either. All that really matters is, Are we entertained? On that note, LAST ACTION HERO delivers.
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Great movie! Those who hate it just don't understand the joke.
Skeletors_Hood31 January 2003
Okay folks, this movie is what's called a spoof, send-up, parody, satire, or all of the above. If you were expecting a serious action movie, well DUHHHH!! No wonder you hated it!

I happen to think that it is real clever that Arnold was willing to spoof the genre that he had been trapped in for most of his life. So few actors are willing to do that, even in a bit of fun. Acting is a job, but it's supposed to be fun as well. Not every movie we see is meant to win an oscar. They are just entertainment. Take it for what it's intended.

This movie is on my top five of my favorite Arnold films, because of it's boldness, and the fact that Arnold can be really funny when he wants to be. It's on my top twenty favorite comedy movies, and it's also in my DVD collection. Don't worry Arnold. Your true fans love this movie.
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Nihilist_2328 November 2002
What can I say? A lot of people looked at this as a cheap Arnold action movie, and while it's not a great film it's certainly a good one with a very good concept. The intentional continuity errors are funny and clever, the movie cliche's are great. So what if it's a little cheesy and Arnold is the only decent actor? Enjoy the conflict of reality and fiction, and see this movie because it's a fun and somewhat thoughtful flick.
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Too intellegent for it's target audience
Mike26 December 2002
After a string of predictable cookie cutter script action flicks that made money from Arnie's muscles and persona, one studio decided to take a chance and try a Hollywood self-mocking film starring the big guy. It had a story line that actually made one think and pay attention in order to appreciate the paradoxes arising from its premise.( A fun side effect is that its movie within a movie allowed for some more over-the-top stunts and tough guy scenes than even the simplest knuckle dragging mouth breathing 'action' film fans would normally sit for) Scenes with recognized characters drawn from recent popular films were played tongue in cheek and while the story proceeded on a couple of levels there were enough innuendos and amusing elements in the background to keep the viewer's appreciative attention. The result of this comparatively well polished gamble was the sort of reception reflected by the vote results in this IMDB poll. A surprizing number of viewers don't like it.

Maybe the studios waited too long to try a movie like this with Arnold. It is possible that the market segment that would appreciate a film like this had already dismissed Arnie as the Commando/Raw Deal lout and dismissed the film unseen, while the usual shoot'em punch'em fans found their brains hurting too much from trying to follow a real story.

One thing is sure, the studios are watching and you can bet they won't make that mistake again. Get ready for more movies that play to the lowest common denominator and are written so the dullest gonk in the movie house can still comprehend the plot. Red Sonja, Judge Dredd, The Running Man, here they come.
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Totally THE best action spoof movie of all time (and prob one of the best spoof movies ever).
BadWebDiver1 September 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I am totally amazed that most of the so-called "expert" film critics at the time didn't seem to have a clue what this movie was doing. It is positively one of the tightest, most brilliant, sly, wickedly satirical action movie spoofs of all time. I am also rather amazed that Arnie actually agreed to this one; it's almost like he's biting the hand that fed him.

The biggest clue of this movie is in the opening shot, when the whole picture wipes into frame in the shape of a "movie" screen (hint, hint!) From then on, anyone with any experience at watching blockbuster action movies at all should have picked up how the scene was taking the standard setup-action pieces of the time, and then pushing them a little bit further than normal; so that they become an obvious (to most people) parody of the situation. The close-up of the feet as Jack exits from the car is just a little closer and off-angle than normal. The ranting chief yelling at the hero that he's gonna get fired if he disobeys orders is just a little bit more heated that the standard action movie would do it. Come ON people, couldn't you get the tongue-in-cheek nature of this?

Then we fuzz out and see the "real" story - introducing Danny, our viewer's representative (played by a very adorable and very chatty Austin O'Brien). The one scene I dislike in this movie is the actual "real-life" robbery scene at Danny's home, which comes across as a little too bleak and depressing; even though it does set up the thematic contrasts in the story very well. On the other hand, one of my all-time favorite scenes is when Danny is in school watching the Olivier version of "Hamlet"; and he starts to drift and re-imagines the story in a modern action style. (Gee, if I had a penny for every time I've done that with a pretentious old film - well, anyway...)

Of course the two outstanding highlights of this movie are the police station/video store scenes in the Jack Slater movie; and the climactic show-down at the big premiere, especially when the action hero confronts the movie star: "You have caused me a lot of pain. I don't like you very much." (Y'know, I've often felt that is movie characters could come alive, some actors would have great reason to worry. Just a thought.)

All I can say is, if you can't get this, you don't really deserve to be watching movies, or even let out to the cinema. It's too complicated for you! Just go back to your padded cell, and vegetate.

Best lines: "Mom, you're turning him into a wimp!"; "This has got to work. I'm going to win. Wait a minute; I'm the comic relief. I'm NOT going to win. Ahhhhh!"; "You go through all this pain and suffering, only to find it's all the product of someone's sick imagination, for public entertainment!" [-probably not a precise quote, but you get the gist of it]
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A little confused, but very fun and totally under-rated.
vickievallencourt2 June 2004
LAST ACTION HERO went down in the books as a notorious, hopeless bomb, putting it in the same company as films like HUDSON HAWK, BATTLEFIELD EARTH, and GIGLI. And although it was a huge financial dissapointment back in 1993, this film stands head and shoulders above those other stinkers, and has certainly found an appreciative audience over time. Perhaps it wouldn't have earned such awful word-of-mouth had it not been advertised and released as a straightforward action film. No doubt 1993 audiences were expecting a TERMINATOR- or TRUE LIES-style adventure. Instead, LAST ACTION HERO is fairly misleading, and it shifts tones pretty dramatically, from a free-wheeling action adventure, to something much more dramatic, set in the "real world", and back and forth again. This can be quite jarring upon a first viewing, and certainly unappealing for anybody who doesn't enjoy Hollywood satire. Eleven years later, the American public is a little more film-industry-savvy (its seems like every Mom and Pop follows the salary rumors and box office races these days), and may appreciate the insider jokes a little more. If you prepare yourself for a cheeky spoof- and DONT expect TOTAL RECALL!- you'll definitely find LAST ACTION HERO better than you remember.
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An intelligent, under-rated and over-looked satire
Shawn Watson31 January 2011
It's sad to think that 18 years after its release Last Action Hero is still trying to find its target audience. Audiences don't like smart movies. Or perhaps I should say audiences don't like to be OUTSMARTED by movies. In the summer of 1993 the world was going crazy for a certain dinosaur movie, almost everything else didn't stand a chance. LAH came out a week after Jurassic Park. The only people who really went to see it were those who were too late for sold-out screenings of Spielberg's movie. Bad word of mouth spread for many reasons.

Those lucky enough to actually see it on the big screen walked away confused and disorientated. They thought they were in for a straight-up action movie, not an existential, meta-fictional parody of the genre they cherish. It was just too much and they weren't ready for it. Arnold had been riding the wave of Total Recall and Terminator 2 before the release of Last Action Hero, no one expected such a radical deviation from the norm.

Danny Madigan is a lonely kid living in a tiny New York apartment with his single MILF. His only friend is Nick, an old-time projectionist at a run down theater (a REAL theater, no multiplex nonsense). Danny likes to escape into the world of action movies, his biggest hero, obviously, being Arnie himself. The latest Arnie blockbuster, the simply-titled Jack Slater IV, is a day away from its premiere, and old Nick has been tasked with checking the print. Before Danny sits down for his own personal pre-premiere midnight screening Nick gives him a magical ticket he's been saving since childhood. Five minutes after Jack Slater IV begins Danny is warped into the cinema screen and becomes part of the movie.

In the movie world Danny quickly learns that the laws of physics and simple logic don't apply (how often has THAT proved to be true?). He's partnered with Slater, a renegade L.A. cop and the absolute zenith of action hero stereotypes, to find who killed his favorite second-cousin Frank (BIG MISTAKE!). Danny and Slater smash their way into a hokey, James Bond-ish plot, though it's not long before suave English henchman Mr. Benedict discovers Danny's secret and plans to escape to the real world. Danny and Slater follow, but Slater's movie-world abilities are rendered useless in reality. Doubt begins seep in for the first time as he ends up questioning his powers as a good cop.

Last Action Hero scores huge points all round. It's technically wonderful, with gorgeous anamorphic Panavision photography full of wide angles and lens flares. The writing is sharp is funny. Arnie is great as an infallible hero in crisis as well as making fun of his screen persona. And the action, both fictional and meta-fictional, is wild, overblown, and exciting. I just love Slater's huge fall from the elevator.

It's interesting to note that it has a lot in common with Loaded Weapon, which came out earlier that year. Both are send-ups of the 'L.A. cop movie' genre, both star F. Murray Abraham in supporting roles. Both feature Frank McRae as a screaming Lieutenant. Both have obvious Die Hard references (also directed by the infamous John McTiernan).

The bad reputation is unjustified. The financial loss was a mistake entirely on Sony's part and their lack of foresight into the 1993 summer season. Last Action Hero and Jurassic Park went head-to-head with their advertising but the dinosaur movie's marketing campaign was just too groundbreaking. They also competed with each other on a technical level. JP was the first film to feature DTS sound, while Last Action Hero was the first to feature SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound), an eight-channel system that delivers every decibel of Slater's big gun and the multiple explosions of his daily life.

It may be a satire, but Last Action Hero just may be one of the last true action films. Real stunts, real explosions, real destruction, reality gone twisted. It's Arnold's most subversive movie, and it's many things, but bad ain't one of them.
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The "Blazing Saddles" of Action Movies - Arnold's Best
lonshapiro29 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Whether you laugh at him because of his bad acting, or laugh with him because he is able to make fun of his own persona, Arnold Scwarzenegger has always been one of my favorite actor/comedians. His scene in "Terminator 2" as a robot learning how to mix and match teenage slang into the appropriate insult from a young John Connor showed how funny he could be while not trying to be funny. Having said that, Arnold made a quantum leap forward in his comedic abilities with the hugely underrated "Last Action Hero".

Unfortunately, audiences in 1993 were not ready to accept Arnold Schwarzenegger spoofing himself in this wickedly funny satire on action blockbusters. The rich use of background gags, cameo appearances and in-jokes playing behind the main action in this film make it is as good a genre spoof as "Blazing Saddles," "The Naked Gun," or "Austin Powers." In addition, "Last Action Hero" contains a number of original elements that elevate it above the normal spoof (which only confused the unsuspecting and unsophisticated audience further):

1) The use of classical references twisted to fit the action film genre are hilarious - Schwarzenegger as Hamlet was one of the funniest things he has ever done.

2) The "movie within a movie" device present in "Last Action Hero" is just as powerful a juxtaposition of reality and fantasy as we see in "The Matrix," but it came out six years earlier.

3) Jack Slater's growth as a character throughout the film reveals a depth in him that far surpasses most of the "real" people introduced to us in other films. There are so many instances where we see this growth: his understanding of current vehicle specs in the third "chicken" scene (which takes place in the dangerous real world); his consistent ability to surprise the audience with out of character choices like the scene with classical music and the choice of a new action hero one liner; and his ability to learn the nature of physical pain. Especially entertaining is the background monologue at the end of the movie when he tells the chief that he is perfectly capable of hearing and that he would like to develop a more respectful relationship.

There are a number of reasons the film was panned at the time that have been referred to by other reviewers - a misleading marketing campaign that had people actually expecting an action blockbuster, the misfortune of premiering right around the time of Jurassic Park, and an anti-Arnold backlash. But the biggest problem the film faced was the inability of the audience to accept Schwarzenegger as more than an ignorant muscle man. As Arnold has proved in his rise as Governator, he is far more intelligent than most people give him credit. (Don't get me wrong, he has been a terrible governor, but when you consider that his competition is made up of lawyers, businessmen, and self-made millionaires, he has certainly held his own in game of politics.) If someone else had played the role spoofing Schwarzenegger and Mel Brooks was credited as the producer, this would have become an instant classic. However, twelve years have gone by, and people are beginning to discover how good the film really is. Which is good news for Arnold, because he will most likely need a job after the 2006 gubernatorial election, so at least there will be a built in audience for "Last Action Hero: The Sequel."
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Say what you want about it . . .
frankfob16 June 2003
but I actually liked it, and I'm not particularly an Arnie fan (he's not a very good actor and he's a terrible governor). Some of his movies are pretty good, some are pretty lousy, but this one isn't, IMO, anywhere near as bad as its reputation. I happen to think it's a lot of fun. Sure it's cartoonish, but ARNIE is cartoonish! That's what makes this movie so much fun; all of his movies--in fact, all action movies in general--are not much more than live-action cartoons, and this movie gleefully makes fun of them in general, and Arnie in particular, and the best part of it is that he's in on the joke. I don't know why it was savaged so much when it was first released; it really didn't deserve it. Several of his later movies ("Eraser" and "End of Days", for example) were far more deserving of that kind of treatment than this one is.

Anyway, I just like this movie. The action scenes were exciting, there were some very funny lines and a ton of clever in-jokes, some great cameos, and it was just an all-around fun flick. Try it, you'll like it.
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One of the most underrated movies I've ever seen - an ingenious satire of action movie clichés
DaRick8911 January 2006
Last Action Hero has to be the most underrated movies I've ever seen. I've seen it at least four times, but I still like it. Stuff the critics and enjoy it for what it is: a spoof of action movies and their clichés. It's something that probably hasn't been done before and hasn't been done since (because this was undeservedly bashed, I'd say). I would say that it was poorly received because audiences expected a mindless Rambo or Terminator-style film, rather than a satire.

The plot concerns this kid Daniel Madigan. He leads a pretty poor life and the only good thing that happens in it is that he gets to go to the movies to watch his favourite movie(s), Jack Slater with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He finds a golden ticket and travels into one such movie: Jack Slater IV. Madigan marvels at his good fortune and observes the many action movie clichés: a police officer getting blown up two days from retirement, Jack Slater evading every blast and machine-gun burst that comes his way, the bad guys never winning, the attractive daughter and not one unattractive woman to be seen. He also witness a whole array of unrealistic characters, including an animated cat and Robert Patrick (AKA Liquid Terminator from Terminator 2), as well as the stereotypical screaming boss. Let's not forget the big explosions and loud noises that always take center-stage in action movies. The sidekick also always get into trouble (i.e when Madigan plays chicken with a car). This is truly brilliant stuff.

If Last Action Hero has a flaw, it's that Daniel Madigan himself is excessively annoying and this doesn't bode well, as he is a major character.

However, that only has a slight effect on the rest of the film. I've said it before, I'll say it again: This is an ingenious satire, a spoof of action movies and their clichés. Not only that, but it is entertaining in a mindless way as well. It is not perfect, but it is about ten times better than the critics say it is.

Ignore them and see this film.

4/5 stars

EDIT (1/4/2013): This movie is slightly more flawed than I remembered. The second half does drag a bit while Austin O'Brien remains annoying. Still grossly underrated though.
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A good send up of itself
mjw230520 January 2007
Last action Hero, makes fun of the Hollywood action flick and stars one of Hollywood's most successful action hero's. Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien) is crazy about the screen character Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and when he uses a magic ticket he is pulled into his latest film, where guns don't need to be reloaded, cars can jump the grand canyon, and the hero can't be hurt, etc. When Jack Slater comes over to the real world in pursuit of the bad guy (Charles Dance) the fun really begins, and for once Jack Slater seems out of his depth.

The whole movie is a funny parody of itself, and it's crammed with ludicrous stunts and action throughout. Beneath the fun is a reasonable storyline, but its the concept of the movie that makes i so much fun.

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Last Action Hero
Scarecrow-8829 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I remember as a teenager at the time how Last Action Hero was deemed a major commercial flop of the proportions of Heaven's Gate & Waterworld. LAH was considered a sign of Arnold Schwarzenegger's decline in the action market, perhaps signaling to the world that he had lost his appeal. Watching it for the first time in ages, I don't know why it wasn't more successful other than it was PG-13 and more "teen-friendly"( in, aimed at a younger audience and without the kind of graphic on-screen violence often associated with Arnold's 80's movies). I like how LAH pokes gleeful fun( does the actor himself, always winking)at the persona, image, and movies Arnold has made that led to his financial and cult success.

The knowing, tongue-in-cheek script and playful performances, makes such a ridiculous action movie as LAH easy to swallow, since most of the film occurs in the "cinematic unreal world" of the character of Jack Slater, from the point of view of a kid who adores his films(..a representation of us who grew up watching his R-rated blood-and-guts action movies behind our parents' backs).

A kid, Danny Madigan(Austin O'Brien) receives a "magic ticket" from a movie house proprietor whose theater is being shut down. The kid uses it to enter the world of his favorite action hero and, in turn, gets caught in the middle of Jack Slater's feud with a sadistic, glass-eyed assassin, Benedict(Charles Dance, having fun with his fiendish killer) working for an evil mafioso. As expected, plenty of car chases, explosions, and machine guns firing off rounds of ammunition, not to mention damage to buildings, vehicles, and streets as a result. I think if one might have a beef with this film, it is probably when Slater, Danny, and Benedict exit their world into the very real streets of New York City as his newest movie is about to premiere.

There are some jaw-dropping action stunt set-pieces from great heights, and, as mentioned before, plenty of structural destruction wonderfully lampooning how Slater is always able to survive such devastating feats which would undoubtedly kill mortal men outside of the celluloid universe. Many might find the movie premiere of Arnold's movie quite amusing in it's inclusion of memorable Hollywood faces and how Benedict attempts to use a villain from one of the Slater series to kill the actor himself! It's a diabolical plot to erase Slater by killing the man who portrays him!

I think LAH will probably find the audience today it didn't have back in '93. It's directed with a stunning versatility from a man who knows how to make action movies. Part of the movie's charm is how Danny attempts to clue Slater in on how his world is fictional, make-believe and how Slater allows him to tag along, getting themselves in grand, and dangerous adventures only a movie could concoct. Tom Noonan( a hideous heavy in a raincoat) and Ian McKellen( Death from Bergman's The Seventh Seal!) have memorable roles as fictitious characters brought to life from movies because of the magic ticket. Dance's Benedict enjoys the fact that blatant open violence in the middle of a New York City street at night after shooting an innocent man doesn't necessarily draw the attention of the police it would in the cinematic world for which he derives. The one-liners and constant nods to action movies of the past are in full force so if you hate these aspects from the genre, beware.
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Keep an open mind...
Mat Pinckney29 July 2002
This film is one of Arnie's most thoughtful, in terms of creating the film within a film world. For example, the fact that there are no 'ugly' women, or the sheer scale of the L. A. P. D precinct. There are some brilliant cameos made by celebrity names, including Jean-Claude Van Damn, and even Arnold's wife, Maria Shriver. The action is fast and furious, and shows off even more of Arnie's sense of comedy.There is also a dark contrast between the film world and the real world, for example, the fact that Benedict can kill people in the real world, without anyone caring.

Arnie also performs the action scenes with humour, in a way, taking the mickey of his past characters.

Keep an open mind, and it's hugely enjoyable.
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The Good & Bad Of Last Action Hero
ccthemovieman-17 April 2006
If you look at this movie as a cartoon-like adventure story, not to be taken seriously, it is great fun. The elitist critics took the movie seriously and panned it.. They couldn't see the film for what it was....just fun and nothing else. I enjoyed, but I have a few complaints of my own, too, so......

THE GOOD - It's very entertaining, start-to-finish. You never fall asleep watching this 2-hour-and change movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger, obviously is the "hero" and Austin O'Brien does a nice job playing an 11-year-old kid who is wise (a bit too wise) beyond his years.

The villains are particularly interesting in here. They are very "colorful," sporting different glass eyes, doing Jack-The-Ripper imitations, etc. Some of the action scenes are spectacular with good special effects.

There are good lines about fantasy and reality. (This was one of those "film within a film" stories like "The Purple Rose Of Cairo."). They make fun of many Hollywood clichés in films, including my favorite: the villains talking too much instead of just killing their opponent.

There are many cameo appearances by other stars, some of whom don't even speak any lines. It's fun to pick them out.

THE BAD - It's inappropriate for an 11-year-old co-star to be in a film with questionable language and a bunch of sexual innuendos. Here is another example of a PG-13 movie than should have been "R." As for the kid himself, his character is way too obnoxious.

There is too much violence in here and a desperate need for a few more lulls. Give your ears and other senses a rest! A cheap shot, too, of showing a nun with a machine gun at a funeral was unnecessary.

Overall: The pluses, as you can see, outweigh the minuses, but a note of caution to parents wondering about showing this to their young kids.
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Gmarkjames16 September 2002
This is UNDENIABLY one of the greatest action movies I've ever seen. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS FLOPPED AT THE BOX OFFICE! Arnie is at his wisecracking/comic/action best in this picture and there's a fantastic supporting cast too! The film includes many cameos from other movie stars like Chevy Chase, James Belushi, Tom Noone (THE RIPPER), Jean-Claude Van Damme and many other! GET IT NOW!!!! 10/10
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An incredibly underrated film
Sam Cox8 December 2005
Last Action Hero has a young boy get magically transported into an action film starring non other than big-old Arnie. Although it sounds like a kids film, IT'S NOT.

This film is incredibly underrated, and for the life of me I can't see why! It's all here, action, Arnie, beautiful women, comedy, tons of inn-jokes that poke fun at the clichéd action films (especially those of Arnie and Stallone's caller). This is done with the really cheesy punchlines, over exaggerated action (which is spot on, a villain throwing a stick of dynamite at Arnie, who shoots it, knocking it back at the guy) Plenty of in-jokes include cameos by Sharone Stone and Robert Patrick, reprising their roles from T2 and Basic Instinct. Ian Mckellen plays an interesting role as Death, and Charles Dance is excellent as what is possibly the best villain ever created.

The story is spot on superb, mixing effortlessly classy action, with comic dialogue, inn-jokes and emotional binding factors.

However as interesting as a boy taddling along with his action hero may be, it gets better once the villain escapes to the real world, in which Arnie and the boy follow. Things turn around now, as the boy is now in his element as opposed to Arnie (eg, Arnie punches in a window of a car, then complains of it hurting...he also did the same in the movie world as if it was paper) All in all, this is a fantastic film, and possible Arnie's best. Perfect blend of action, comedy, witt and depth...whom I'm sure movie-buffs to appreciate more than the casual viewer.
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Nice effort!
jrgirones31 December 2002
The concept here is brilliant, as it was in Buster Keaton's "Sherlock Jr." or Woody Allen's "The purple Rose...". Collision between fiction and reality is given an ironical and witty treatment, and that makes "Last action hero" one of the most interesting commercial action films of the late years.

Then, why everybody says it is flawed? Aside from the ambivalence of having born with a smash hit vocation and wanting to be something more, which makes the original premise to lose weight along the way, I would say the principal flaws have its roots in a bad structured screenplay: the plot of the movie within the movie (a vane, not original at all mob story) is given too much importance, and when we come to the real point (the confrontation between fiction and reality) we are almost at the end and then a lot of a good story beats happen quickly and disordered, creating a little bit of a mess.

Anyway, let me insist this is, at least, very curious and fun, and movie lovers will appreciate it above all its flaws.
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Waay underrated delightful entertainment...
bheadher4 September 2016
I'm giving it a 9, since the movie tickles you all the way through...

I'm not sure who came up with the idea to spoof action movies, but I'm sure glad they did. Last Action Hero is so irreverent it is hilarious.

Danny Madigan is a big fan of Jack Slater, a larger-than-life action hero played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Danny goes to his favorite movie theater to see the latest Jack Slater fare, and listens to a story told by the theater projectionist, Nick, about a magic ticket he's had for years. Nick gives Danny the ticket, and somehow Danny is transported into the movie right behind Slater in the middle of a car chase scene...

The laughs begin right away as Jack and Danny get wrapped up in the movies plot, and just keep going on and on.

Last Action hero has a stellar cast literally, having a huge selection of big name stars, which simply adds to the delight...

This movie has had lower reviews than I would have ever imagined. It's quite sad really, since the movie is not only hilariously funny throughout, it also has some very poignant moments as deserves so much more...
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A meta thrill ride for movie lovers
Jimmy L.3 June 2015
LAST ACTION HERO (1993) is a clever satire of blockbuster action films and is loaded with meta references that are sure to delight movie buffs.

At the heart of the story is Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien), a young movie lover, raised by a single mom (Mercedes Ruehl) in New York City, who skips school to watch his favorite action flicks for the umpteenth time at a dilapidated movie palace run by a dotty old man named Nick (Robert Prosky). Danny escapes his troubles in the adrenaline-pumping fantasies of the cinema, especially the JACK SLATER film series.

The JACK SLATER movies spoof the action franchises popular at the time, like DIE HARD or LETHAL WEAPON. Jack Slater is the ultimate badass, working for the LAPD but doing things his own way. Chomping on cigars, kicking down doors. Going where other cops wouldn't dare.

In the film, the star of the JACK SLATER series is real-world action superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is LAST ACTION HERO's biggest meta concept as Schwarzenegger stars as a parody of himself (playing both Arnold and Arnold-as-Jack).

With the help of an enchanted ticket given to Nick by the famed escape artist Harry Houdini, Danny is able to enter the world of the newest JACK SLATER movie and help Jack beat the bad guys. It should be a dream come true, but instead of just going along with it, Danny tries to shatter Jack's worldview by proving that he "lives" in a fictional movie universe, full of improbable explosions, predictable one-liners, and physics-defying stunts. Danny calls out Jack for using well-known Arnold catchphrases like "I'll be back" and tries to explain the absurdity of Jack's LAPD colleague being an animated anthropomorphic cat (voiced by Danny DeVito). Jack thinks Danny's crazy (obviously), but Danny's uncanny knowledge of secret information (gleaned from watching prior installments of the JACK SLATER series, as well as the opening scenes from this one) gets him assigned as Jack's partner, in true buddy movie fashion.

Danny is always completely self-aware about being the comic sidekick in an action movie. He knows Jack Slater's world is governed by plot contrivances and movie clichés. He even calls out the villain for monologuing. Austin O'Brien doesn't do a bad job in the film, but he does start to get on my nerves a little.

The fun really starts once the villain (Charles Dance) gets ahold of the magic ticket and enters the real world, a place where heroes can bleed and bad guys can actually win. Jack and Danny track him to the star-studded premiere of JACK SLATER IV, where fictional hero Jack Slater comes face-to-face with Hollywood superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger (among other fun celebrity cameos).

The satire of LAST ACTION HERO is on-point. Besides getting Arnold Schwarzenegger to spoof himself, the movie is directed by John McTiernan, who directed DIE HARD (1988), and the screenplay was co-written by Shane Black, who wrote LETHAL WEAPON (1987). The top-notch pedigree surely helps sell the film's high concept.

The script has a lot of potential for the right actor, and Arnold Schwarzenegger seems like he's having a lot of fun with the material. It wouldn't be the same without a real A-list action star playing Jack Slater. Arnold has a good sense of humor about himself and seems to enjoy playing with his image.

One of the best in-jokes for serious movie buffs comes early in the film when Danny's English teacher, played by Joan Plowright, introduces a clip from Laurence Olivier's HAMLET (1948), suggesting that the students might know the British acting legend from his late-career role of Zeus in CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981) or an older TV commercial for Polaroid. Plowright is, of course, Olivier's widow.

In addition to HAMLET, the movie includes nods to Ingmar Bergman's THE SEVENTH SEAL (1957), Francis Ford Coppola's DRACULA_(1992), and WITNESS (1985) with Harrison Ford. In the movie world Danny warns Jack not to trust his FBI buddy John Practice because he is played by F. Murray Abraham, the guy who "killed Mozart" (an allusion to AMADEUS (1984)). A Humphrey Bogart-type detective in a trench coat appears in one of the JACK SLATER police station scenes. And since "Arnold Schwarzenegger" can't exist in the fictional world of Jack Slater, his famous role in the TERMINATOR films is played instead by Sylvester Stallone.

The JACK SLATER action is hilariously over-the-top and stylized, satirizing Hollywood action blockbusters and further contrasting the fantasy world of the silver screen with the real world Danny knows. The original story, developed by Zak Penn and Adam Leff, is quite clever and the film, unconventional as it is, succeeds because of its uniqueness. The movie's a lot of fun and there are plenty of Easter eggs for hardcore cinephiles.
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Weird, unfunny hybrid of an action-movie parody and a kid-fantasy film
J. Spurlin28 January 2005
"The Last Action Hero" stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, who plays a character who is played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sound fun? Prepare for an offbeat, off-putting bore.

Austin O'Brien plays a fatherless boy who lives in a crime-infested neighborhood, but finds escape by going to see Schwarzenegger movies in a run-down movie theater. The kindly old projectionist (Robert Prosky) gives the boy a sneak preview of Schwarzenegger's latest, "Jack Slater IV." Thanks to the stub of a movie ticket once owned by Houdini, the boy is able to leap onto the screen and join the adventures of Jack Slater, who doesn't know he's just a movie character.

So far so bad. The idea of a boy magically transported into a violent Schwarzenegger action picture is singularly charmless, and the movie does nothing to overcome this basic problem. O'Brien is a cute, blonde Hollywood kid, who could never pass for the friendless nerd he's supposed to be here. His dialogue sabotages any hope of credibility. The boy sits in the movie theater, making the kind of criticism that a movie critic would make, mocking the clichés, bad puns and so forth. These aren't the quirky gripes a real kid might have about a movie.

Remember "Cop and a ½," the hilariously awful, low-budget action comedy where Burt Reynolds and an eight-year-old are buddy cops? That kid watched a lot of cop shows, and made comments much like the kid in this movie does. Only this kid is not just aware of genre conventions; he's seen the first reel of the film. He knows he's in a movie, and tries to prove it to Slater by taking him to a video store. But in this parallel world, Sylvester Stallone, not Schwarzenegger, is the star of "Terminator 2."

That's pretty funny, but most of this movie isn't. The problem here is much the same as in "Scream," the movie that tries to be both a slasher movie and a parody of slasher movies. You can't parody a genre that is already relentlessly stupid. You just look like a fool, chortling at something that no one could have taken seriously in the first place. The funniest scene in "The Last Action Hero" is early on, when the boy watches "Hamlet" in school and imagines an action-movie version of it. "Hamlet" is good enough to parody. Schwarzenegger movies aren't.

Now, "Terminator," "Total Recall" and others are a lot of fun, but only because they're played straight. This movie is what one of those movies would be if it were smirking at itself.

Halfway through, the snooty movie villain with a glass eye (Charles Dance) finds the magic ticket stub and enters the real world, followed by Slater and the boy. Things become a bit more engaging, because now there are real stakes involved and all sorts of possibilities are opened up. But the movie makes little of them. For instance, the inevitable meeting between Jack Slater and the man who plays him is a huge disappointment.

I won't give away how this movie ends, but one of the last lines is repulsive. Slater says to the boy, "I need you to believe in me." Like he's Tinkerbell or Santa Claus. The movie-within-the-movie may be PG-13, and it may feature a cartoon cat and titanic flatulence, but it's clearly an R-rated adult action fantasy at heart. Believe in a Schwarzenegger hero? What a comedown from "Peter Pan."
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Underrated Schwarzenegger's solid action comedy satire favorite of mine
ivo-cobra814 May 2017
Underrated solid Arnold Schwarzenegger action comedy satire that doesn't deserve the hate. People really don't understand and don't appreciate action films this day. I grew up watching action heroes and Last Action Hero is my childhood film with Arnold I grew up watching. After 14 years I re watch this movie today and I still love it. I love this movie to death I miss Arnold Schwarzenegger I miss him, I wish he would make such a good action films today I really do wish. Why is Arnold now fat and he can't get in to shape anymore why?

Back there were all these action heroes who were my idols! Where are they now: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton where are all those action heroes now? I miss those guys a grew up with it. I miss the Rambo trilogy, Tang & Cash, Demolition Man, Commando, The Running Man, Predator, Total Recall, Red Heat and of course Last Action Hero. Everyone today is talking about Terminator films what about this movie? It doesn't get even mentioned and get's a bad rap why? I don't understand the hate it is a f****** satire man! It is a fiction not to be taken serious and that a good one.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Austin O'Brien does a solid job at acting performance. God I wish Arnold would be today in the best shape, they don't make em like this anymore! Sorry is PG-13 rated but it still good and entertaining movie that i enjoy. This movie reminds me on Die Hard it has a beautiful score by Michael Kamen beautiful soundtrack by Tesla - Last Action Hero. Screw The Goonies this is my film it is my favorite of Arnold it is my favorite action film with humor, sorry we have animated cat but so what he wasn't that much in the movie and he wasn't annoying.

It may be a satire, but Last Action Hero just may be one of the last true action films. Real stunts, real explosions, real destruction, reality gone twisted. It's Arnold's most subversive movie, and it's many things, but bad ain't one of them. I miss those movie I grew up and I want them so much back. It is a real shame making an action film today without real practical effects or without CGI every god damn action film today has to be CGI, no explosions nothing. I want the 90's back and I want my childhood back. Why can't we have a good action movies anymore what is wrong with Hollywood this days? I miss Arnold I miss his stunts I miss all that.

I miss John McTiernan I miss his movies work direction. please come back why did you leave us? You movies are my favorite, Predator, Die Hard, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The Hunt for Red October and The 13th Warrior those were really good movies. He directed perfectly I love his art direction I didn't see anything bad about this movie. I love the actors it was well done acted it is an entertaining flick. Arnold Schwarzenegger make fun of his self. Sly Stallone did make fun of him self like in Tago & Cash (Rambo is a pussy...) I miss those action heroes it really hurts me that we don't have a such a good actors anymore.

Last Action Hero is a 1993 action fantasy starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater, an action movie hero whose movie world is invaded by real-life teenager Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien) through the use of a magical ticket.

I give this movie 10/10 it doesn't deserve the hate, f*** the haters again I don't understand the hate for Batman Forever another 90's superhero flick. I love it, I love the acting in this movie, good dialogues, a lot of humor, little drama and Arnold kicking evil scumbags of the planet I miss those kind of action movie it is really sad today. This movie has no CGI or shaky cam at all it are practical stunts and real explosions unlike today.

Last Action Hero is a 1993 American comic fantasy action film directed and produced by John McTiernan. It is a satire of the action genre and associated clichés, containing several parodies of action films in the form of films within the film. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater, a Los Angeles police detective within the Jack Slater action film franchise. Austin O'Brien co-stars as a boy magically transported into the Slater universe. Schwarzenegger also served as the film's executive producer and plays himself as the actor portraying Jack Slater, and Charles Dance plays an assassin who escapes from the Slater world into the real world.

Last Action Hero was a box office disappointment during its initial theatrical release. The film also features Art Carney's last appearance in a motion picture.

10/10 Grade: Bad Ass Seal Of Approval Studio: Columbia Pictures Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O'Brien, F. Murray Abraham, Charles Dance, Frank McRae, Tom Noonan, Robert Prosky, Anthony Quinn, Bridgette Wilson, Angie Everhart Director: John McTiernan Producers: John McTiernan, Steve Roth, Arnold Schwarzenegger Screenplay: Shane Black, David Arnott, William Goldman Story by Zak Penn, Adam Leff Rated: PG-13 Running Time: 2 Hrs. 11 Mins. Budget: $85.000.000 Box Office: $137,298,489
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One Word: Underrated
Viva_Chiba1 December 2010
Director John McTiernan (director of Die Hard, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Predator) and Action star Arnold Schwarzenegger teams up again, delivering another good action movie, but this time, a little bit different.

Last Action Hero is a satire of the action genre, showing us it's over the top moments and how they DON'T work in real life.

This is one of the best performances of Arnold Schwarzenegger, his character does what we like about him: Saying one liners and working on the action fest ! The action scenes are cool, the unrealism and the over the top moments can be "justified" because of it's satire and it's comedic theme.

The rockish soundtrack is cool, making the action scenes more enjoyable and exciting.

Watch it, you will get a wind of explosive nostalgia that will fill your screen !
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