Last Action Hero [1993]

Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
John McTiernan (The Hunt for Red October) imaginatively directs this action comedy, which is an interesting failure with some fascinating ironies that make it well worth seeing. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays both a character named Jack Slater--a fictional cop hero who exists only in the movies (i.e., the movies seen by the characters in this movie) and the actor who plays Jack Slater in the real world (i.e., in the movie we're actually watching). McTiernan's hall-of-mirrors effect is fun, though Last Action Hero never quite identifies itself as a pure action movie, science fiction, a kid's movie, or anything else. (The expensive film suffered at the box office as a result and was roundly criticized for this ambivalence.) What lingers in the memory, however, is Schwarzenegger, playing himself, being confronted by Slater for having created an alter ego for film in the first place. It's a provocative moment: how often have we seen a major star blatantly wrestle with his actor's legacy in this way? The DVD release has optional full-screen and widescreen presentations, optional French and Spanish soundtracks, and optional Spanish and Korean subtitles. --Tom Keogh

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