We decided to re-watch a classic Nineties film today, Last Action Hero a film that would bring back the director and star of Predator, John McTiernan & Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Widely accepted as Arnold’s first major box-office failure, in part due to rushed production and the fact that it went almost head to head with the huge success that was Jurassic Park, with a script from amongst others, Shane Black and the director who had also given us Die Hard is it that bad?
The concept is great, Youngster Danny (Austin O’Brien) is a big fan of action hero film franchise Jack Slater, played by Arnold.
Rushing out to his cinema to see Jack Slater IV, his good friend, Nick (Robert Prosky) the cinema’s projectionist hands him a golden ticket which transports him into the film.
It is here lots of fun is to be had, with Danny having to explain to Slater he is not real, and many in-jokes and cameos are to be spotted along the way, one of the best is in a video store where we see Sylvester Stallone as the Terminator in T2: Judgement Day on a big display!
It is also here a lot of the other best jokes are had, at the police precinct, for example, we see Sharon Stone as her Basic Instinct character leaving, quickly followed by Robert Patrick as the T1000
Not to say the action is skimped on, with big car chases, shoot em up’s and action sequences, as well as elaborate kills, one involves an ice cream cone!
Other jokes are ones aimed at the governor (the role Arnold was running for in real life) and Hollywood in general, from over the top explosions to jokes about film franchises running out of ideas, the premise for Jack Slater 4 is Slater wanting to avenge the death of his second- favourite cousin.
Plus jokes are made at Arnold’s one-liners with of course I’ll be back being used.
We also see an animated cat police offer in the form of Whiskers (voiced by Danny DeVito).
Danny even tries to highlight how unrealistic the world is by pointing out that no one is unattractive and particular seems to like Slater’s daughter Meredith (Bridgette Wilson-Sampras)
As well as cameos galore including the likes of Tina Turner as the Mayor, we also have some high profile bad guys from Tony (Anthony Quinn); Benedict (Charles Dance); John (F.Murray Abraham) and Tom Noonan as Ripper, the most menacing villian who is from Jack Slater III
But, of course, the real action begins, when Benedict gets hold of the golden ticket and learns he can transport himself to the real world, a world where the villain doesn’t always have to lose. We also get to see through Benedict that the movie world is more sugar coated as he sees those living out on the streets etc.
The film culminates in a big action sequence at the premiere of Jack Slater 4, with even more cameos from Jean-Claude Van Damme to Little Richard.
Also, Jack has scenes where he meets Arnold, and laughs can be found at the confusion over actor Tom Noonan arriving made up as the Ripper, only to turn up in a tuxedo later.
We have to say we didn’t remember how clever this film actually is, the comedy scenes work well, but the world of Jack Slater also works as a great action franchise, however, sadly, the film is just far too long and the film really suffers for it.
The film could easily have lost some content, Slater’s daughter seems to be only in the film as eye candy, as does hardly anything, when Danny tries to sneak out to attend the Jack Slater screening, an attempted burglary seen probably wasn’t needed either!
It’s well worth a look if you have never seen it, if you love comedy or action films you will enjoy it, it works as a great parody too, its certainly better than the likes of Epic Movie or a Meet the Spartans.
Even if you don’t like it you’ll love spotting the cameos and the various Easter eggs for film fans to find, jokes made at Abraham being in Amadeus are just another example so its worth a try.
You can find the trailer here:
You can find the movie at Amazon here:
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