Monday, July 21, 2014

REVIEW: Last Action Hero (Mill Creek Blu-ray)

I grew up on Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, and loved them all... until Last Action Hero. I was 13 years old in 1993 when it came out and was probably still high on Terminator 2 by the time the initial premise was drilled into my head by the media machine trying to look for an original angle on the action movie genre. It didn't take. I was too far gone. Horror movies took their toll. I couldn't get into the kitch humor of Last Action Hero even though most of the movies I enjoyed were self-referential, punny and made with the best (or worst) humor possible. I let Last Action Hero wash over me and refused to watch it for quite some time.

When I finally did watch it, it was in parts. Fragments on the movie in passing and aside from a few scenes it couldn't hope to keep my interest. 


Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) knows the first three Jack Slater movies by heart and the fourth one is just about to be released. With the aid of a magical ticket, Danny gets to know the latest movie really well, literally speaking. While watching the opening action sequence during an advance screening, Danny is transported right into the movie! While on the other side of the silver screen, Danny becomes the sidekick of Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the toughest cop on the police force. Complications arise while Jack and Danny are working on the case, when one of the bad guys gets ahold of Danny’s magic ticket and escapes out of the movie into the real world. Now Danny and his hero Jack Slater must chase the arch villain in the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win!

That brings us to my most recent sitdown with Last Action Hero courtesy of Mill Creek. The disc itself is fine overall though there are moments of digital correction that seem to show smearing. Some of the darker scenes simply look grainy which I suppose is to be expected, but I happen to notice it more on this particular disc than on movies that are twice its age and half its budget. Note: 2.40:1 AR. 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. The casual fan will be very happy and the quality picky viewer may find fault with the disc. There are no extras which is a let down for a movie that is considered to be so popular though that doesn't see to be a change from the older Blu-ray release of this movie. The cover preserves the original poster and cover art for this release which is much preferable to the previous Blu-ray incarnation.

Now back to the movie... I sat through the whole thing. Laughed at some jokes that have become more common place over the years and for the most part I enjoyed the movie. I think that I've allowed myself to become more comfortable with pure action movies in recent years or rather reconnected with these movies. For too long I forced myself into a niche that prevented me from enjoying anything outside of the good, entertaining horror or even worse, art pictures with foreign film chasers. It's easy to pigeon hole yourself. The effects are pure 80's/early 90's and Arnold is Arnold. Hell, even the head of the Lanaster clan is in this one with a removable eyeball.

At the end of the day, this move was made in the midst of a period where Arnold focused more on comedy and action comedies or comedies that spoofed action films. It's not the best in those particular genres but it is effective and gives you that jolt of big muscle/big gun movies from the period. The soundtrack is golden with Megadeth and AC/DC songs that were peppered throughout my teen years.

You can order Last Action Hero starting July 22nd from Amazon.

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