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Last Action Hero (1993)

This isn’t the movies anymore

Directed by:

John McTiernan

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 130 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

‘Last Action Hero’ might have its faults, but lack of originality certainly isn’t one of them. Yes, it’s way too self-indulgent. Yes, the humour wears thin after a while. And yes, it seems to be in a permanent state of confusion over who its target audience are. But it’s got a great idea behind it, more celebrity cameos than you can shake an exceptionally large stick at, and, of course, Mr Action himself – Arnie.

Big Arn gets to play both himself and a generic fictional big screen cop in this ambitious slice of action comedy, about a kid (Austin O’Brien) who discovers a portal from his local cinema into the smash ‘em crash ‘em world of the movies. The bemulleted little meddler has a tough time convincing Arnie’s cigar-chewin’ hardman that his every move is being played out to theatre audiences everywhere – until they end up bringing the crime-fighting plotline crashing back into the real world, that is.

It’s a fascinating concept, and there’s never been any shortage of debate over whether or not director John McTiernan actually manages to pull it off. It certainly has several chortle-out-loud moments, the torrent of action sequences never fail to impress, and Arnie himself shows (not for the first time – just see ‘Twins’ or ‘Kindergarten Cop’) that he’s game for a laugh when it comes to sending himself up.

If the film has one major downfall it’s that it’s just far . . . too . . . long. Running at over two hours, it’s already hammered home its point and actioned us to death long before the end credits finally roll. Perhaps our young hero should have found something a bit more modestly timed to try out his celluloid gateway on.

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It's Got: The terrific sight of what an Arni-fied version of ‘Hamlet’ might look like.

It Needs: To be watched with a keen eye if you’re to be in with a chance of spotting all those cameos.

DVD Extras Trailer, behind-the-scenes featurette, talent profiles, and the ACDC video ‘Big Gun’. I refuse to recognise it as a proper ACDC video though – that bloke at the front isn’t even dressed in school uniform. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

True Lies

Summary

Not the worst way to waste a couple of hours.

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