Day Four of the Two-Week Torturefest
Boring “Last Action Hero”. That spells “BLAH”.
Directed by: John McTiernan
Screenplay by: Shane Black and David Arnott
Story by: Zak Penn and Adam Leff
Jack Slater: Arnold Schwarzenegger
John Practice: F. Murray Abraham
Benedict: Charles Dance
Lieutenant Dekker: Frank McRae
Nick: Robert Prosky
Tony Vivaldi: Anthony Quinn
Danny Madigan: Austin O’Brien
Death: Ian McKellen
Also Starring: Art Carney, Mercedes Ruehl, Tom Noonan
Distributed by Columbia Pictures June 18, 1993. Produced in English by the United States. Runs 130 mins. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA–violence.
Last Action Hero was watched on February 9, 2013.
[insert mess of clichés that seem like classic adages here]
Last Action Hero is a strange, frenetically clustered paradigm of confusion and contradiction. This is a film that wants to be like The Purple Rose of Cairo and Cinema Paradiso. The opening sequences–and much of the rest–even play out akin those two classics. Hell, the film puts an even greater spell of disbelief on us (or tries to, at least): the main character is as much a movie aficionado as myself, pointing out the most rampant movie mistakes and alluding to the classics like clockwork–and on top of it all, he’s an immature pre-adolescent.
I’m not doubting the youngster at all. I’m glad he has such a knack with moviegoing. What puzzles me is that Last Action Hero isn’t aimed for those who will appreciate the character. This wasn’t made for movie maniacs, nor was it made for action fiends. I’m sure these junkies would rather rent some of Ahnold’s more explosive movies–particularly a then-recent one, and still similar one, Terminator 2–then waste their time here.
So who is the audience? Those between the ages of 8 and 12. They may find Last Action Hero funny and exciting simply because it was exaggerated for cheesy, childlike standards. The film goes nuts pointing out its PG-13 rating to the audience, “breaking the fourth wall” more avidly than Mel Brooks. And I’m fine with craziness, as long as it’s done right. Not here.
The film is loaded with nods to movies. I could spot them out as if the script had some distinct feature to it, simply because I’ve seen the movies. Ooh, he mentioned Rosemary’s Baby. Kid, the movie you’re referring to is Witness, starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. Several references to Die Hard, since John McTiernan is directing this one, too. Look, there’s Ian McKellen doing what Max von Sydow did decades ago in The Seventh Seal. Hooray for Blade Runner. At least I could play “Guess the Movie” rather than tuning out during the last forty-five minutes.
I may have said it already, but I’ll say it again. No kid who wants to see Last Action Hero will get any of these references. They’d know what to expect: a chatterbox kid runs away from home to a movie theater, purchases a mystical ticket, and then gets sucked into a movie starring Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who thinks it’s real life. Wait, that’s the plot. The audience’s expectations are fighting, explosions, sound effects, and screaming. The good news is, that’s what they get. The bad news is, that’s all they get.
Wild Wild West – the insultingly awful movie Will Smith chose over “The Matrix”.
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