Lowdown: A pathetic yet funny look at movies.
Last Action Hero is a film I watched many a time but not during the current millennia. Being that it was the first thing Schwarzenegger did after Terminator 2, the film I watched the most, it was only natural that I would acquire the laserdisc and watch it again and again. With the changing trends in my movie preferences Last Action Hero got revisited less and less, so it was time to check it up again. And you know what? With all the criticism this film has received, I still like it a lot.
I like it despite the awful story. A magic ticket takes a child into the film he’s watching and then takes him back into the real world together with the film’s hero to sort out the mess? Can’t that concept be implemented without the use of such poor mechanisms as a “magic ticket”? On the other hand, there is a lot of wisdom in the film, with witty sarcastic jokes thrown around in large quantities, generally mocking the way films are done (and marketed) nowadays. We even have Schwarzenegger making a complete fool of himself as he plays his real self being interviewed.
These jokes about the movie making world and everything that surrounds it, the many funny references to other films, the large number of effective cameos, the way in which other films are used (as with Schwarzenegger blaming F Murray Abraham, the actor who played Salieri in Amadeus, for the murder of Moe Zart), and some great performances – most notably Ian McKellen as death – all contribute to an environment in which the stupid can be forgotten and a truly entertaining film can be enjoyed.
At its core, Last Action Hero is a romantic look at how films contribute and shape our lives, and to one extent or another it mourns the industry's loss of innocence. Be it with the multiplex replacing the proper big screen or the dumb marketing, films have become more of a money making tool than an artistic statement.
It’s a pity Last Action Hero's script called for such childish stuff as a magic ticket, but when taken the way it all should be taken – lightly – the film provides enough ammo for a very enjoyable viewing.
Best scene: Of all the jokes, I liked the one where Schwarzenegger plays a Terminator type Hamlet when he decides “not to be” and kills everything that moves in the kingdom of Denmark.
Overall: It’s a question of what your feelings are towards the delicate balance of bullshit and wisdom offered by the film. I have a soft spot for it and I admit it. 4 out of 5 stars.