A love letter to the video store/genre cinephile passionately written by one of our own.
Director Oliver Harper has crafted a beautiful, sweeping and wonderfully informative love letter to a genre of film so synonymous with the childhood and upbringing of a generation.
IN SEARCH OF THE LAST ACTION HEROES speaks to a sort of movie fan that needs no pretense. This stuff has been an intrinsic part of our lives, embedded in the fabric of how we express and present ourselves through our love of movies.
Movies represent a microcosm of human innovation, imagination, ingenuity, boldness, risk. The idea that creative minds would dare to push high concepts, to go to such lengths with practical effects and stunts in order to achieve what they did in-camera...that's the indomitable spirit of being human.
These were pioneers. Like their predecessors, they went into uncharted territory and carved out the legacy of these amazing films with sheer force of will and THAT, to me, is a part of what makes them special...that is what Oliver's film captures in its interviews and how they're used to tell the collective stories that makeup the dominance of the Action Film through the 1980s and it's gradual fall and redefinition today.
For me, the documentary's passion and thoroughness evokes the efforts of Charles de Lauzirika...the spirit of all those special feature docs we've also grown up on, feeding our love and desire for knowing how these pieces of art were made and learning about the people responsible.
I think what's also so great here is how the pillars of this genre and decade are used.
I know the producers worked very hard to try and get Stallone, Schwarzenegger or Van Damme to participate...countless emails with agents and attempts to make their participation happen.
But ultimately it plays to the film's strength to not necessarily feature them as interviewees themselves.
True to its title, the documentary discusses the impacts and influences of Sly, Jean-Claude and Arnold...these Last Action Heroes...through anecdotes and stories told by peers, friends, collaborators...and in doing so, it elevates the mythic quality of these actors.
The doc uses these actors as if they're folk heroes and figures that are larger than life and they really are.
They aren't there themselves...but it's about the search for them, the search for how their rise came to be and this more mythic angle of discussing them lends their presence to being felt so fully.
IN SEARCH OF THE LAST ACTION HEROES is just fantastic and if anyone loves movies and this particular snapshot in time of Action Films, definitely seek it out and give it a watch.
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