Review – Last Action Hero (1993)

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Welcome to Media Month | Movies on Movies Week – Day 1. When I was five years old, one of my favorite films was released, called Last Action Hero. I didn’t fully understand why, at this age, I liked it so much. Was it because it was funny? Perhaps. Was it because it had popular action star Arnie in it? Maybe. I don’t think I really understood the concept of originality at this point, but I felt it. I wanted more movies like this because you’re introducing huge potential just in general. Apart from that, it’s also smart. Let’s first talk about the plot.

Young Danny Madigan is a big fan of Jack Slater, a larger-than-life action hero played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. When his best friend, Nick the projectionist, gives him a magic ticket to the new Jack Slater film, Danny is transported into Slater’s world, where the good guys always win. One of Slater’s enemies, Benedict the hitman, gets hold of the ticket and ends up in Danny’s world, where he realizes that if he can kill Schwarzenegger, Slater will be no more. Slater and Danny must travel back and stop him.

As a kid, I wanted that magic ticket, because as great as this movie was, there was untapped potential here – if they wanted to go that route. However, you’ll notice something else. This is a smart, smart movie. Probably one of the first films with a strong focus on speaking to the fourth wall, it is deeply satirical of other buddy cop films, honestly hilarious, and it has a ton of amazing cameos that show up, plus…it never really gets tiring hearing Arnold Schwartzenegger mispronounce his own name. Then, it get’s deeper, because it also teaches us a lesson about how movies are great fun, but they aren’t real, that reality sucks. Even the best action film star in the world would have a problem surviving life on earth.

This is all first impressions, of course, so let’s go ahead and break down Last Action Hero to interpret the stars.

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PEOPLE SCORE – 8/10
Acting – 1|Characters – 2|Casting – 2|Importance – 2|Chemistry – 1

First up, we have the people category, starting off with the subcategory of acting. The acting was neither terrible or great, mostly typical and forgettable, but that’s not really where the importance lies. These characters were diverse, unique, and most importantly, memorable. I am convinced that nobody else can play these characters. They are perfect for these roles. Absolutely every character in this film seemingly had an important role adding to the direction of the plot, I was impressed. They had a reason, they had a purpose, they had a history, and I love it. As far as the chemistry goes in this film, there wasn’t much of it. While it was fine, no one really cares about the relationships in this film.

WRITING SCORE – 9/10
Dialogue – 2|Balanced – 1|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2

Next up, we have the writing category, starting off with the dialogue, which was actually really well thought out. There’s a lot of memorable lines, and just the way people speak is hard to forget. “Look, elephant!” Now, this film isn’t as well-balanced as it could’ve easily been. It loses its own focus here and there, making the film feel a little bit longer than it should normally feel. When it comes to the story, this film knows what it’s doing. Not only is the story alone interesting, but it sticks with you because it has meaning and purpose. In my opinion, I also think this film feels fresh and pretty darn original. Was this movie interesting? Of course it was, don’t be silly. I was all-in for this one.

BTS SCORE – 6/10
Visuals – 0|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 2|Music – 2

Next up is what’s going on behind-the-scenes, and believe me when I say this…I almost never give visuals a bad score…but I’m sorry. This movie had visuals that specifically looked bad. It was as if they were trying to look bad. You don’t have to look like an artistic masterpiece, but you also don’t have to have visuals that beg for headaches, either! Next, we’re taking a look at the directing, which slips by without you noticing it. That’s right, there wasn’t anything difficult or challenging for the director. They could’ve hired any director for the job and the movie would be exactly the same. Nothing challenging or difficult in the editor’s desk, folks. They stitched the movie together just fine, but there’s nothing else to report here because even a kid could probably do it. As with most films, I consider this film to be exactly as-advertised, which is good. This doesn’t happen often, but I’m awfully glad when it does. The music in this film is pretty fantastic. So good, in fact, that I really wouldn’t mind listening to a soundtrack of the film just to hear them again. Yep, yep, yep!

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 9/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1

Next up, we’re chugging right along into the narrative arc category, which is one of the easiest categories to score highly in. First up, we’re looking at the introduction, which did perfectly. By the inciting incident, we knew who everyone was, the basic setting, and what’s going on in these people’s lives. How about the inciting incident? That was perfectly clear and set the rest of the film up for a good ride. How were the obstacles? Totally fine. There were plenty of clear obstacles in the way, just as you’d come to expect. How was the climax? The climax was perfect. It felt like a perfect culmination of everything else put together, just as it should. Alright, so how was the falling action? Well, it started to calm things down a little bit, but other than that, not the best. You never get the sensation that they are returning to a new norm, so it’s not a complete falling action.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 9/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 2|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks Audience IN – 2

Next up, we’re asking if this film is any good to be considered entertaining when all is said and done. First up, we ask if it is rewatchable, to which I say…yes! I would have no issues checking out this movie again! Is this a film I would consider fun while watching? Oh yeah, absolutely. Whatever technical problems the movie may or may not have, it is definitely fun, and that’s something no one can take away from it. Is this a film I would consider buying? Totally, I would love to buy this movie! What about talking to somebody about the film that hasn’t heard of it? Maybe, I’m not sure. I might have a normal discussion about it, but I won’t be losing my mind to tell them about it, either. Does this suck you in, though? Oh, definitely. I never once had a problem getting lured into everything that was happening in this film.

SPECIALTY SCORE – 50/50
Weekly Theme – 10|Action – 10|Comedy – 10|Schwarzenegger – 10|Halfway Decent – 10

We are now onto the specialty questions that I asked before seeing this film for the upteenth time. We’re not going to worry about monthly themes this month, even though there is one, but we will focus on weekly themes. This week is movies on movies, so is that a very clear theme of a movie in this movie? Duh. Not only does this movie have the word “action” in the title, but it’s also, obviously, a genre of the film, so how is the actual action? It’s silly, but it’s still strong. How was the comedy? You may laugh at me for saying this, but superior. As a Schwarzenegger film, I still have this incredibly high on my list of go-to Arnie films. Finally, is it halfway decent or hold up to memory? Totally!

TOTAL – 91/100

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