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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent, under-rated and over-looked satire
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...
Published on January 31, 2011 by Inspector Gadget

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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I'm the famous comedian Arnold Braunschweiger."
After MUCH deliberation, this was deemed an appropriate DVD to watch - after turning down all my other suggestions. And it turned out to be quite good!
This was filmed before Austin O'Brien became truly cringeworthy, with a god-awful haircut in My Girl 2. He's exactly the same here, and there were times I wanted to take a pair of scissors to his hair! (I've just seen...
Published on June 29, 2004 by Meesha


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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intelligent, under-rated and over-looked satire, January 31, 2011
This review is from: Last Action Hero [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
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 proven 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.

The Blu Ray features a great 2.35:1 1080p picture with a loud DTS HD-MA soundtrack. Zero extras are included. Sony seems to still be ashamed of the film. The hate is not deserved.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch and NOT be disappointed!!!, November 11, 2003
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
This is one of those movies that a lot of people that haven't seen it say, "That movie wasn't really that good, was it?" but those that have seen it, say, "Why wasn't this movie more popular?" Maybe it was bad timing, or as some others suggested, just not correctly billed to the public.
Last Action Hero is hard to describe. It's funny, it's witty, with lots of those one-liners that Arnold became so popular with, and I loved the way he constantly poked fun at his fictional character as well as his "real" self. Some of my favorite dialogue in the movie is when the kid is trying to convince "character Arnold (aka: Jack Slater)" that he's actually just a character in a movie. The kid starts asking about phone numbers and how can they possibly all start with 555- in a city with several million phone numbers, when Jack Slater exasperatedly says, "That's why we have Area Codes..." Priceless. The movie is full of fun stuff like that, and I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is even remotely a Schwarzenegger fan, or who just like campy, yet intelligent, movies. The parody within a parody, and movie within a movie actually worked well in this one.
I thought the movie had a lot of great character performances, and clever scripting, and I think this movie got a bum rap. It's really a great movie, I'm glad I bought the DVD. The transfer is a little sloppy in places on the one I bought, but since it's a "Special Anniversary Edition", I have a feeling that had something to do with it. There's only a fullscreen version on my DVD, no widescreen, and the camera pans are really noticeable in a few places.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dumbing Down of America, February 22, 2007
By 
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
The following story will tell you why this movie bombed at the box office.

While visiting family in Miami one of my cousins went to see the movie. When he got home he was telling me how much the movie stunk. As he was talking it became obvious to me that he had taken the movie seriously. So I yelled at him "It's a parody!! He's making fun of action movies in general and himself in particular!!" I could see the lightbulb go on over his head and he went right out and saw it again.

Needless to say, he loved the film. As do I. It's not often that a big star has the guts to make fun of himself just to make his fans laugh. So if you have this film languishing in your collection somewhere you need to see it with this in mind. It's parody. Satire. Comedy! Watch it and have fun.
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61 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clever "inside" humor, but DVD has a BIG flaw, August 4, 2004
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
I think I know why this film was so poorly received and tanked at the box office. It was TOO "inside". Much of this film is a series of jokes about the standard, conventional, formulaic, bombastic action film genre. But the humor was so tongue-in-cheek so often that it probably didn't bode well with the average action-junkie film fan. "Last Action Hero" made fun of itself as it unfolded, and one would need a certain sense of humor to fully appreciate it on its intended level. I dare say that most folks who went to this film just didn't "get it". Too bad for them.

The major flaw of the DVD is that the film is presented in the god-awful Pan and Scan format. Pan and Scan presentations of frenetically-shot widescreen films should be outlawed, it's just that simple. You almost get a headache watching this P&S version. The digital pan is so obtrusive and distracting that it can drive one to anger! It pulls you out of the film, to say the least. I like (but don't really love) this film, and the low price of the DVD makes the purchase a no-brainer. But it is too optically uncomfortable to watch in P&S.

Release it in widescreen and all will be okay.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "To be or not to be? Not to be" (Something explodes!), December 1, 2003
By 
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
This is a resoundingly misunderstood film. Probably the finest parody ever made of the action genre as a whole; this film mocks the absurd excesses that most summertime action blockbusters indulge in. The script is clever enough to divide itself between the dark brutality of the real world and the campy superficiality of Hollywood. It revels in poking fun of the very films that have made Arnold Schwarzenegger (in?)famous.
The world outside the silver screen is filled with stark reminders of how un-Hollywood life is. There is crime, bullets hurt good people, and extras that are killed have families they've left behind. Young Danny (Austin O'Brien) loves film more than anything else. He attempts to put aside the problems of his life in live in the world that Hollywood has created for him. His favorite indulgence is the Jack Slater series of films. They star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the title-hero, a cop modeled after the cloned result of Dirty Harry and Rambo. Slater is a smooth operator who never makes a wrong step and never fails to land on his feet. He is essentially everything that Danny, and in reality most children, wish they could be. When he is given a magical movie ticket by Nick the friendly pathetic mildly wise projectionist at his favorite theater, Danny is transported beyond his world into that of his hero, Jack Slater. He is quickly engulfed in one of the most entertaining action sequences ever put to film. It is the crystallization of the genre where there is unexplained action and unnecessary and unequal reaction. A car explodes because another car goes near it. A would-be assassin is thrown from his perch atop a moving truck into a parked ice-cream truck that then explodes. A truck explodes in the air for no good reason, and meanwhile, all the women are attractive (by Hollywood standards). They move from action sequence to action sequence, all of which are completely superfluous and equally delightful. Anyone who has ever made fun of, or rightly criticized, the films of Jerry Bruckheimer would find this work profoundly amusing. On screen, Slater and Danny must confront the cycloptic henchman Benedict (Charles Dance) and his benefactor Vivaldi (Anthony Quinn) in order to stop a takeover the SoCal black market and to extract revenge for the killing of Slater's favorite second cousin. This plot of course, is secondary to the parody. It moves well and revels in its self-justifying fictional world where a cartoon cat can be a cop, because it's normal there.
The other side of the screen is filmed with dim lighting and always hinting at danger beneath the surface. Danny's mom (Mercedes Ruehl) is a widow who struggles to support her child both materially and emotionally. She works the unglamorous midnight shift. Nick is a washed-up never-was who had dreams of another career and justifies compromises he has made to his goals by referring to his job in the manner, "Hey, it's still show business." When Slater enters this world, and gets shot, not only do the bullets hit him, but they cause more than flesh wounds. In the "real world" the on-screen villains can take advantage of corrupt systems to come out on top.
This film parodies not only action heroes and the action genre, but also bad scripts. Danny knows not only what has already happened in the movie, he can accurately predict the next steps of the transparent plot of the action film he was watching and then participates in. The film makes groan-inducing puns and points them out. The film points out how action films sometimes modify classics to fit into modern pop culture. This movie could have been a bit shorter and could have done without some of the melodrama in the "real" world. But those are miniscule flaws next to the eminently enjoyable rest of the film.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very underated Schwarzenegger film., May 15, 2000
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
John McTiernan's "Last Action Hero" is always looked at as one of the big flops in modern day cinema. The truth is the film is a lot better than a lot of people are willing to admit. In Woody Allen's "The Purple Rose of Cairo" a desperate women falls in love with a character in a film she watches who just happens to jump out of the screen. Well it is basically the same sort of formula only a kid gets in on the action of the latest Schwarzenegger film, "Jack Slater 4" yet befriends the character and not the actor who thinks all of it is real and not a film. True, it is not as bittersweet as Allen's movie but I don't find that to be a flaw. It is a very fun movie and it was very enjoyable the whole way through. Arnold Schwarzenegger does a great parody of himself as Slater who spits out one liners during violent conflicts. I even found Austin O' Brien to be a fairly decent child actor in this film and that is a rare suprise in this sort of a film. The film is also backed by a great score of hard rock music from AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Megadeath and more. John McTiernan and Arnold Schwarzenegger suffered heavy blows with this film. True, it was not either of their best work but I think the critics were way too cruel. Its should not be viewed as a failure but as an enjoyable action adventure that it is.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget the critics!, January 9, 2000
By 
Joe Comer (Robinson, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
Forget what the critics said. This movie works beautifully on several different levels. As an action spoof it is hilarious, with many in-jokes, gags and cameos. As a fantasy it is ingenious with Austin O'Brien very appealing as a kid with a "magic ticket" that can transport him from the real world into the fake world of action films. And it works splendidly as a send up of Schwarzenegger's movie image giving him a big chance to do what he does best-poke fun at himself. It also works as one of the most original buddy movies ever. There is a lot going on here and it will take a few viewings to catch everything but that is what makes a good movie good. The action is wall-to-wall, no doubt, like many other action films, good or bad. The sequences are very well done but contrived, just like many of those previously mentioned films. But they are contrived for a reason-to spoof the genre. Because a lot of people who originally saw this didn't get it, it is, in this critic's humble opinion, one of the most misunderstood films of all time. That accounted for its bad reviews and low box office. But it is my belief that this was largely due to poor marketing. When Schwarzenegger (who served as executive producer) would appear on television to plug it, he made a fatal mistake. His description of this as a family movie was wrong. It is very violent, even though that too is done for a purpose. Imagine what a lot of parents thought when they took their kids to see this and within the first fifteen minutes or so, several people are killed or injured and there are gunshots and explosions galore. It is a mistake that to this day Arnold's career hasn't been able to completely recover from.Be that as it may, you must see this film for what it is and enjoy imagination and spoof at its finest. You will not be disappointed!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last Action Hero Blu-ray, February 4, 2010
This review is from: Last Action Hero [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
What happens when an action movie crosses over into the real world? That's the question explored in the early '90s cult action flick, Last Action Hero.

Young Danny (Austin O'Brian) spends his time watching cheesy action flicks, particularly those by action star Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger). When an old projectionist gives Danny a magical ticket, Danny is transported into one of Jack's movies where the laws of physics (or reality) don't have much meaning. It seems like the perfect world for Danny until Jack's nemesis (Charles Dance) finds the magic ticket and enters into the real world. It's up to Danny and Jack to stop him, but without the luxury of movie magic.

While many action movie fans (such as myself) will enjoy the cult nature of this movie, others will find it too corny and tongue-and-cheek. Last Action Hero, while expertly written and executed, is a parody of itself and of all (especially '80s) action movies, but in taking this route, has used too many "in" jokes. In fact, a few of the jokes even had to be explained to me, because I didn't understand all the little nuances of the screenplay. I can easily understand why some viewers won't enjoy the film's style of humor, but I can also see how it became a cult classic.

The picture quality is absolutely phenomenal. It's so crisp and clear that, quality-size, it feels like a modern movie. The colors are so vivid that the film feels like it's jumping off the screen (almost literally, making the nature of the movie itself even more interesting). I've never seen this film (okay, so I missed the DVD version and only saw the VHS version) ever presented in such a beautiful way before.

The sound has also been improved, and instead of having to turn the volume way up in order to hear anything outside of the action sequences, it was considerably more manageable. Between the picture and the sound, all of the over-the-top, corny action sequences really came to life here and made me feel like I was part of the action (which seems to be a key aspect of the movie's original intent). Presented in crystal-clear 1080p high definition in 2.40:1 widescreen, this is the best quality Last Action Hero can ever have. This edition also has Spanish, French, and Portuguese audio as well as English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese subtitles.

However, I found the bonus material here (or lack thereof) very disappointing. Now, since I've only see this movie before on VHS, I don't know what was included on the original DVD release (if anything), but I was hoping for a little more in this version of the movie aside from just gorgeous sound and impeccable visuals. Instead, Last Action Hero on Blu-ray features Movie IQ, which allows for semi-annoying (if you haven't seen the movie a few times before) pop-ups that give interesting information about the film, and Blu Live, which seems to be a common feature among all Blu-ray movies meant to direct viewers to Sony's online store. There's no deleted scenes or outtakes (my personal favorite extras) or even interviews with cast and/or crew. While I understand that since this an older movie and keeping up with extra features was very different then, you would think that they could have come up with something.

It's difficult to say whether or not the Blu-ray edition of Last Action Hero is worth it, especially with the serious lack of bonus features and the relatively high price tag associated with Blu-ray disks. If you are looking for flawless video and audio quality, then the Blu-ray is the perfect choice, but if you're looking for new material, then save your money and check out the DVD (or even VHS) version of the movie.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "I'm the famous comedian Arnold Braunschweiger.", June 29, 2004
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
After MUCH deliberation, this was deemed an appropriate DVD to watch - after turning down all my other suggestions. And it turned out to be quite good!
This was filmed before Austin O'Brien became truly cringeworthy, with a god-awful haircut in My Girl 2. He's exactly the same here, and there were times I wanted to take a pair of scissors to his hair! (I've just seen a more recent photo, and he looks totally different!)
Last Action Hero has an almost Willy Wonka quality to it. There was a golden ticket that Charlie Bucket had to find and Danny Mannigan also had to find one - or actually got handed it. I was so waiting for Oompa Loompa's to come out! Now that would have been cool.
The whole story climaxes in Arnie being brought out of the movie, and getting to see the 'real' world, which is a very interesting concept, as it could be seen as we're not the ones in control. (I totally believe that) So his whole life was one big lie, and controlled by someone else - not the big man upstairs, but a film director. Arnie basically takes the p*ss out of his whole on screen persona in this, including lots of his trademark sayings, including: "I'll be back!", "Trust me" and "Do it". There's also a very funny scene where Jack Slater meets Arnold Schwarzeneggar - make sense of that!
Also look out for a whole host of cameos in this movie - ones which are easy, to spot, some which aren't! Some of these include: Chevy Chase, MC Hammer, Sharon Stone, Little Richard, Maria Shriver, Robert Patrick, and Jean-Claude Van Damme!
There are some great lines in this. Some of these are:
Danny Madigan: You think you are funny, don't you?
Jack Slater: I know I am. I'm the famous comedian Arnold Braunschweiger.
Danny Madigan: Schwarzenegger!
Jack Slater: Gesundheit.
Jack Slater: Kid! Who does the doctor treat?
Danny Madigan: Patients?
Jack Slater: Look at the elbow of my jacket. What is it doing?
Danny Madigan: Wearing thin?
Jack Slater: Bingo!
Benedict: Gentlemen. Since you are about to die anyway, I may as well tell you the entire plot. Think of villains Jack. You want Dracula? Dra-cool-la? Hang on
[takes out the ticket]
Benedict: , I'll fetch him. Dracula? Huh. I can get King Kong! We'll have a nightmare with Freddy Krueger, have a surprize party for Adolf Hitler, Hannibal Lecter can do the catering, and then we'll have christening for Rosemary's Baby! All I have to do is snap my fingers and they'll be here. They're lining up to get here, and do you know why Jack? Should I tell you why? Hmm? Because here, in this world, the bad guys can win!
So if you're not keen on Austin O'Brien, see how many celebrities you can spot, and how much Arnie acts up in this movie! It's so funny!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not watching this movie would be a BIG Mistake, January 8, 2010
This review is from: Last Action Hero (DVD)
Any negative review on this movie was made by someone who I guess just didn't get it. Sure the pan&scan sucks, so watch it in widescreen. And Danny can get a little annoying at times, but the humor well makes up for it. This movie not only has an interesting premise, but its a satire on the whole action movie genre. Danny telling Jack he can't die until the grosses go down is gold, and if you don't agree then you have no comedic insight whatsoever and this movie is not for you. Other little things as well, Jack's great action hero cliche one-liners, Danny trying to point out to Jack that its impossible for every number in LA to start with 555-, that there are no regular or unattractive women there, or that Jack shouldn't trust Practice since he was a bad guy in Amadeus. If you understand the way movies are, then the comedy in Last Action Hero will leave you laughing the whole way through. I believe this movie is completely underrated, and a big reason I think it tanked at the box office, aside from its humor not being appreciated or completely understood, is everyone went to see Jurassic Park which came out at the same time. Think of the horrible satires we have today: Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, Meet The Spartans. All of which aren't worth the plastic case they come in. But with satires being so popular now, if this movie were to have come out in theaters now I believe it would have done phenomenal. Definitely worth the watch.
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Last Action Hero [Blu-ray]
Last Action Hero [Blu-ray] by John McTiernan (Blu-ray - 2010)
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