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Last Action Hero (1993) Poster

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (3)
Filming continued until the week before this movie debuted in theaters.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted this movie to be PG-13, so it would appeal to a broader audience. Being Executive Producer (for the first time) he approved script, director, cast, studio financing, distribution, marketing, budget, PR firm, planning a foreign release, et cetera. Schwarzenegger enjoyed the added responsibility, because he could be involved in every facet of production.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger thought the script was one of the best he'd ever read. He especially liked all of the elements of comedy, action, drama, and satire in it.
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The AC/DC song "Big Gun" was specifically written for this movie after Arnold Schwarzenegger personally approached the group and asked them to write a song for it.
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Charles Dance said in interviews that, after being told that he had won a part turned down by Alan Rickman because of the salary, he wore a t-shirt on set which read; "I'm cheaper than Alan Rickman!'
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When Danny (Austin O'Brien) and Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger) arrive at L.A.P.D. headquarters, Sharon Stone and Robert Patrick appear outside the front door as Catherine Tramell (from Basic Instinct (1992) ) and the T-1000 (from Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) ), respectively.
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The merchandising people came up with some Jack Slater action figures with guns. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed the idea because this movie was a warmer, more cuddly action movie. Merchandising included seven video games, a twenty million dollar Burger King promotion, a thirty-six million dollar theme park ride, N.A.S.A.'s first paid ad in space, and a four-story inflatable Jack Slater at Cannes. Schwarzenegger gave forty television interviews and fifty-four print interviews in twenty-four hours, setting a new personal record.
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Just after Frank's house explodes, the black cop says, "Two days to retirement" as a nod to Danny Glover's character in Lethal Weapon (1987). At that point, a soundtrack excerpt from the Lethal Weapon theme plays in the background.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger considered this movie his first real failure after an unbroken string of successes. He also considered it the beginning of the end of his movie career.
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Sharon Stone's casting in a brief cameo as her Basic Instinct (1992) character was somewhat surprising, because she and Arnold Schwarzenegger had clashed on the set of Total Recall (1990). She was reluctant to do the cameo, but did it as a favor to Schwarzenegger, who reminded her that Total Recall (1990) had helped her career.
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When Danny is arguing with Slater over checking to see if Benedict is dead after the two play chicken, he makes a reference to a villain in Die Hard (1988) (also directed by John McTiernan) who comes back at the end of the movie after being presumed dead. Shortly afterwards, a soundtrack excerpt from the Die Hard theme plays in the background.
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One major reason for this movie's box-office failure was the unforgiving process needed to have it ready for the studio-mandated June 18, 1993 release date, which left almost no time for follow-up editing, or fine-tuning after a disastrous May 1 sneak preview. There were discussions about moving the release into July or August 1993, especially when Universal deliberately chose to open Jurassic Park (1993) on June 11, but it was decided that doing so would turn off potential moviegoers. When this movie was released and received widespread criticism, an anonymous movie worker said "We shouldn't have had Siskel and Ebert telling us the movie is ten minutes too long."
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Steven Spielberg was offered the chance to direct this movie, but he turned it down to go make Schindler's List (1993) instead. He worked with writer Zak Penn for the movie adaptation of Ernest Cline's novel "Ready Player One".
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John McTiernan said this movie began as a wonderful Cinderella story, with a nine-year-old boy and a pretty good script. But the movie didn't end as it began, referring to the movie's troubled production, and the fact that it opened in theaters a week after Jurassic Park (1993). After its failure, McTiernan retreated to his house in Wyoming, and took a break from his career.
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Art Carney's (Jack Slater's second-favorite cousin Frank) final movie appearance. Frank's last words were "I'm outta here". Prophetically, those were in fact the last words he spoke on-screen.
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Many of the props in "Jack Slater IV" are made by the fictional company Acme. Acme is known for appearing in the Wile E. Coyote and Roadrunner cartoons.
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When Jack and Danny are in the video store, we see the boxes for Die Hard (1988), The Hunt for Red October (1990), and Medicine Man (1992), which were all directed by John McTiernan.
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Danny tells Jack that this is Meredith/Whitney's first movie. Last Action Hero (1993) was also the first feature film of Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, who played Meredith/Whitney.
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Jack Slater, when trying to pose as Arnold Schwarzenegger in the real world, keeps getting the name wrong, and calling himself "Arnold Braunschweiger". The first part of Arnold's real name, "Schwarz", means "black" in German, while the first part of his wrong name, "Braun", means "brown" in German. Also, a "Braunschweiger" is a type of liverwurst made in Braunschweig (or Brunswick), Germany. In the German dub, he calls himself "Arnold Beckenbauer" ("Pool Builder"), which creates additional comedy, since it is also the name of one of Germany's most famous soccer players.
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The words "A Franco Columbu film" appear on the screen at the beginning of Jack Slater IV. Columbu is a bodybuilder friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger's, who has appeared in the following movies with him: Pumping Iron (1977), Conan the Barbarian (1982), The Terminator (1984), The Running Man (1987), and Beretta's Island (1993).
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The explosion of Jack Slater's ex-wife's house was used from The Last Boy Scout (1991), also written by Shane Black.
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The original screenplay was developed by Adam Leff and Zak Penn with Arnold Schwarzenegger in mind for the lead, and was titled "Extremely Violent". After Columbia purchased the script, the studio independently approached Arnold about the movie. Arnold's decision came down to either the now-titled "Last Action Hero" or a Penny Marshall-directed Columbia comedy called "Sweet Tooth". The script was later re-written by Shane Black and David Arnott to rev up the action sequences. William Goldman did a one million dollar polish when Arnold made it clear he would not begin filming until Goldman added depth to the characters.
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Before the Hamlet sequence, wherein the Sir Laurence Olivier version Hamlet (1948) is shown to the class, the teacher is Joan Plowright, Olivier's third wife and widow. Noting her students' apparent ignorance of Olivier's storied career, she tells them they may remember him as Zeus in Clash of the Titans (1981), one of Olivier's final roles, or from his Polaroid television advertisements.
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During the shooting of the movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave an interview on the set to Dagmar Koller, a famous Austrian musical-star, for an Austrian television show. After the interview, Schwarzenegger invited her to appear in the movie. She can be seen in the police headquarters as Danny talks to her.
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This movie contains several intentional continuity errors.
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The police station is the lobby of an administration building on the Sony Pictures lot. It was also used as the lobby of the television station in The Running Man (1987), which also starred Arnold Schwarzenegger
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The movie ran so far behind schedule that they had just one test screening, which ran for two hours and twenty minutes with a lot of inaudible dialogue, boring the audience. The studio refused to delay the opening, so as not to send the message the movie was in trouble, a decision Arnold Schwarzenegger agreed with.
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At one point, Danny produces a piece of paper with a word (presumably the "f" word or some variation) written on it and asks Slater to say it. Slater refuses, and Danny cites this as yet more evidence that they are in a movie, as the "f" word was not allowed in PG-13 movies at the time that this movie was made. However, the "f" word does appear in the movie, spoken by Lieutenant Dekker during one of his rapid-fire rants at Slater. Due to the nature of the scene, it is hard to discern, but it is definitely there.
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When Danny and Jack are looking in the video store for the action section to find a "Schwarzenegger" movie. Danny is surprised and confused to see that Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)'s poster features Sylvester Stallone, and that apparently Schwarzenegger movies do not exist. However, as Jack walks towards Danny to compliment Stallone's work, on the shelf alongside several other known Hollywood movies of the time, a VHS tape of one of Arnold Schwarzenegger's earlier movies Raw Deal (1986) is clearly visible, with Arnold featuring prominently on the cover.
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Filming involved a seven-day, 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. shutdown of Times Square in New York City. Originally, a seventy-five-foot balloon of Arnold Schwarzenegger held three sticks of dynamite. After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Richard Brick, Commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting, and Gary Martin, President of Production at Columbia Pictures, agreed to change the prop to a badge.
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Danny's New York City apartment is unit number 3D, an indication that he lives in the real world, as opposed to the 2-D world of Jack's movies.
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Due to delays with Hook (1991), this was the first movie released in SDDS (Sony Dynamic Digital Sound). With five front channels and two rears, it was also the first movie to include a 7.1 channel SDDS mix, rather than the more common 5.1 SDDS.
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Some trailers show a few deleted and alternate scenes, such as an extended Hamlet action scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger is in some water shooting at someone, Danny being blown away into the movie after dynamite pops out of screen, and an alternate take and angle for Slater's "I hate when that happens" line after he gets out of the tar pit. A couple of other deleted scenes are from the original two hour and twenty minute long rough cut, include a dialogue scene between Danny and Jack in which Danny says how his father died from cancer, and a scene where a group of kids see Jack while he is walking across the street in the rain with Danny looking for Benedict and they think he is Schwarzenegger, so they ask him for his autograph, which he signs.
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After Benedict murders the car mechanic and wants to confess, someone in the background is carrying a pair of recently stolen shoes.
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The first time Arnold Schwarzenegger took a producing credit on a movie.
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Benedict's pistol is a Dan Wesson .357 revolver. Most noted for its interchangeable barrels on the same frame, from two inches to ten inches. Slater carries a Desert Eagle .50 caliber Action Express.
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In this movie, the characters are able to enter and leave the movie world via a magic ticket which is credited to famous stage illusionist and escapologist Harry Houdini. However, in real-life, Houdini was firmly opposed to the idea of supernatural powers, and spent his time debunking fake spiritualists and phony mediums.
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In 1993, after attending the world premiere, Robin Quivers from the Howard Stern Show said it was the best movie she'd ever seen.
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The fact that Jack Slater was out to avenge the death of his second cousin Frank in "Jack Slater IV" was an intentionally ridiculous element. The idea was that having gone through so many epic conflicts with supervillains that got increasingly personal during the first three movies (undoubtedly a nod to many 70s and 80s action movies that had "This time it's personal!" as a tagline), Jack Slater was left to battle the mob due to the death of a very minor character. It would also allow the Danny Madigan character to start listing the flaws of the Jack Slater movies, as well as how they were running out of good ideas.
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The movie's disappointing box-office result has often been contributed to the fact that the fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger did not appreciate their hero effectively spoofing himself, as well as the action genre that had made him great. However, time apparently seems to have made audiences much kinder to this movie and its type of self-aware humor. Schwarzenegger's next movie, True Lies (1994), which had a more subtle form of self-parody, did much better critically and financially, as did The Expendables (2010) and The Expendables 2 (2012), where Schwarzenegger parodies some of his famous trademarks. In fact, characters becoming aware of their own movie conventions became a big thing in the Scream (1996) franchise, and Danny's observation that villains often make the mistake of laying out their entire plan in a lengthy monologue was effectively re-used in The Incredibles (2004).
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Sir Ian McKellen played Death, a character out of Ingmar Bergman's film The Seventh Seal (1957). In that film, Death was played by Bengt Ekerot.
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In one scene, Jack says to Danny, regarding his ex-wife, "Do you think I would marry someone so stupid that doesn't know the real voice from a taped one?" In Arnold Schwarzenegger's next movie, True Lies (1994), he uses a taped voice to fool his wife.
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While Danny is in the movie, he says John Practice (F. Murray Abraham) killed Mozart, a reference to the movie Amadeus (1984), where Abraham played Antonio Salieri. Later in the movie, when Slater and Danny's mom are talking, the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro can be heard, composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
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This was the first movie to use the 1993 Columbia Pictures logo.
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Final theatrical movie of Professor Toru Tanaka (Tough Asian Man).
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The name of the boss gangster, Tony Vivaldi, is a spoof of the famous classical composer Antonio Vivaldi. Jokes about classical music are a recurring theme in this movie.
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Tori Spelling had a cameo as herself but it was eventually left on the cutting room floor.
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Charles Dance replaced Timothy Dalton as Benedict. Had this not happened, this would have been the second of two movies with Dalton and Frank McRae. The first was Licence to Kill (1989).
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This movie features two actors who played the character of Antonio Salieri: F. Murray Abraham, who played the character in the movie Amadeus (1984); and Sir Ian McKellen, who played the role on-stage in the Peter Shaffer play.
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Tony Curtis was cast in a major cameo, but was replaced.
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This movie makes several oblique references to the Governor of Los Angeles. These are eerily prescient statements to make with Arnold Schwarzenegger later becoming the Governor of California.
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In the closing act, Nick begins to tell Danny about the time he saw the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show as a kid. Assuming he saw one of Bill's last shows, it would make him about ninety-years-old.
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Jean-Claude Van Damme featured in the premiere scene. He starred opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Expendables 2 (2012).
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Little Richard has a cameo as himself in this movie. In Predator (1987), another John McTiernan movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, his "Long Tall Sally" was featured prominently, both on the radio and sung by Mac (Bill Duke).
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(At around thirty-two minutes) On the upper right hand corner for the logo for the City of Los Angeles (the fountain for the L.A.P.D.) the bear has been changed to a rhinoceros.
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The scenes that are playing on the television at Blockbuster Video, are from the movie Thunderheart (1992).
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The cast features four Oscar winners; F. Murray Abraham, Art Carney, Mercedes Ruehl, and Anthony Quinn; and six Oscar nominees; Sir Ian McKellen, Sharon Stone, Sylvester Stallone, Joan Plowright, Michael V. Gazzo, and Danny DeVito.
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In Blockbuster Video, and in the newspaper that is being read by Benedict, there are advertisements for Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) and Single White Female (1992).
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In Blockbuster Video, there is a cardboard cut-out for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) . The actor shown instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger is Sylvester Stallone.
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Premiere Magazine ran an article in 1993 in which stated that there were nearly two hundred intentional "gaffs". "Gaffs" are what the industry used to call mistakes, some intentional, some actual mistakes. In other words, every scene has a mistake purposely inserted to make the audience feel as if they are in the movie.
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Nick (Robert Prosky) tells Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger) that politicians are "twice as bad as anything else." Schwarzenegger became Governor of California.
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Charles Dance has said in interviews, that his part was written with Alan Rickman in mind, and suspects Rickman passed on the project.
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Robert Zemeckis was in contention to direct at one point.
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There are similarities to Die Hard (1988), like Jack Slater falling from the building and elevator, like John McClane and Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988), which was also directed by John Mctiernan. Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the part of John McClane, but rejected it, before Bruce Willis got the part. Arnold and Bruce worked on The Expendables (2010) and The Expendables 2 (2012).
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These are the following guns in the movie. Slater: Desert Eagle .50 caliber Action Express; Benedict: Custom Dan Wesson Revolver .357 Magnum; Danny: SIG-Sauer P230; Vivaldi: Walther PPK custom engraved; Criminals: MP5K-PDW, M3A1 Grease Gun, and Intratec TEC-9 sub-machine guns; Slater/Hamlet: Switches from MAC-11 to MP5K; Van: Short Barreled Minigun. Whitney: Colt Python .357 Magnum; S.W.A.T. member: Colt Commando.
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Theatrical movie debut of Angie Everhart (Video Babe).
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The role of Benedict was originally intended for William Atherton, who played an antagonistic journalist in Die Hard (1988), one of Director John McTiernan's previous movies.
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Producer Mark Canton optioned the script for three hundred fifty thousand dollars.
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Final theatrical movie of Michael V. Gazzo (Torelli).
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When Jack kills The Ripper, The Ripper says, "I'll be back!", to which Jack replies, "the hell you will!" The line, "I'll be back" has traditionally been used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in many movies since he first said it in The Terminator (1984).
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The real City Coat of Arms for Los Angeles has the American federal shield (a white field with six red thin vertical stripes on the field - creating the illusion of seven white, and six red stripes, for a total of thirteen stripes, and thirteen white stars in the blue Chief) in the first quarter (upper left quadrant of the field); the California state flag (A five-point star in the upper right corner of the field, a grizzly bear, and a horizontal stripe in the base; all in red) in the second quarter (upper right quadrant of the field); the Mexican eagle atop a green cactus (from the Mexican flag) in the third quarter (lower left quadrant), and the parted arms of alliance for Castile and Leon (representing Spain) in the fourth quarter (lower right quadrant of the field). When Jack Slater pulls into the parking lot at Police Headquarters (actually a Sony Pictures office building), the Los Angeles Coat of Arms out front has the American eagle (with a federal shield with four stars in the Chief in escutcheon) instead of the Mexican eagle in the third quarter, and a black rhinoceros (instead of the red Bear) in the California state flag in the second quarter.
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Tom Noonan playing a serial killer called "The Ripper" may be a nod to Noonan playing serial killer "The Tooth Fairy" in Manhunter (1986). Coincidentally, that movie had the first appearance of the infamous fictional serial killer, Hannibal Lecktor (Brian Cox), who is later mentioned by Benedict as a possible ally.
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(At around thirty-nine minutes) In the video store, Jack Slater's hand is resting almost right next to a DVD case for Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981), which was the inspiration for The Terminator (1984), with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role. This is also during the conversation with Danny Madigan about how it was supposed to be Arnold in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) ), but instead had Sylvester Stallone.
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Shortly after Danny finds himself in Jack Slater's backseat, the famous motorcycle outfit in George Michael's "Too Funky" music video, is seen on one of the models during a photoshoot when the shooters drive through the pink building.
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John McTiernan and Composer Michael Kamen also collaborated on Die Hard (1988) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995).
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The Region 2 PAL United Kingdom DVD includes German, Italian, French, and Spanish audio tracks as well as the original English. It also features a "Making-of" documentary and an AC/DC music video for their song, "Big Gun".
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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charles Dance appeared in The Mystery of Dragon Seal: The Journey to China (2019).
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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sir Ian McKellen played supervillains. Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997), and McKellen as Magneto in the X-Men film franchise.
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Charles Dance plays a villain named Benedict. This could be a nod to Arnold Schwarzenegger's comedy movie Twins (1988), where Arnold played a character named Benedict as well.
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Anthony Quinn and Charles Dance have co-starred with Madeleine Stowe. These movies were Revenge (1990) and China Moon (1994), respectively.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito appeared in Twins (1988) and Junior (1994).
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Arnold Schwarzenegger's name is mentioned in the song "Jump Around" by House of Pain in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993). Robert Prosky was also in that movie, plus Cinematographer Donald McAlpine filmed Predator (1987), also directed by John McTiernan, and which also starred Schwarzenegger. They reunited with this movie.
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Michael Chieffo plays Monroe, one of the police officers called into investigate the house belonging to Frank, played by Art Carney. Chieffo appeared in Gleason (2016) , portraying Art Carney.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger, Professor Toru Tanaka, Sven-Ole Thorsen, and Thomas Rosales, Jr. were also in The Running Man (1987) . Rosales is uncredited in this movie.
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Art Carney and Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared in Happy Anniversary and Goodbye (1974) .
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Body Count: eighty-three.
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Nick (Robert Prosky) was originally going to turn out to be the Devil, but this was nixed by the producers. "Old Nick" is British slang for the devil.
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When Danny Madigan says to Jack Slater, "They always look dead. Like in Die Hard. The guy's hanging there by his neck and at the end of the movie he comes back", after the car crash scene in New York City involving Benedict and the Tough Asian Man, Danny referenced Die Hard (1988) previously directed by John McTiernan. In addition, Professor Toru Tanaka's bad guy in this movie was killed by Arnold Schwarzenegger's good guy, just like in The Running Man (1987). Tanaka yet again came to a sticky end with Schwarzenegger.
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See also

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