TV Party Tonight! #62

TV Party Tonight! #62

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Last Action Hero
VHS-era Classic – Mill Creek Entertainment

I remember Last Action Hero and I remember it well. Too well. I don’t know if it was actual commercial hype or the fact that there were multiple video games based on the movie. Whatever it was, I wanted in. I remember being blown away by it when I finally watched it, having never been exposed to this kind of self aware humor. I thought this was high art. But I never revisited the movie in the 25 years since it was released, even though I kept it in the back of my mind. It held a special place of being goofy, funny, action packed, and highly entertaining. I am an avid listener of the How Did This Get Made podcast and have my fantasy of picking this movie if they ever asked me to host it.

But now, Mill Creek has rereleased it, so it’s time to face the music. And I can say that after all these many years later, Last Action hero still holds up on a number of levels. I’m pretty sure looking back on it now that I identified with the protagonist Danny and I remember thinking Schwarzenegger being the coolest guy ever. So of course I loved it as a kid. What I don’t understand is how adults could have hated it. It still has a dismal rating on Rotten Tomaroes. One of the many things Last Action Hero does well is not take its genre too seriously. It knows there’s plenty to mock in Hollywood and maybe critics who take the artform too seriously just didn’t get it. Nowadays, spoofs like these are a dime a dozen, so it goes to show that Last Action Hero was ahead of its time. 20 years ahead. And that’s saying something.

Another thing this movie is that it has the budget to really go for it hook line and sinker. For a movie like this, you’d want the biggest action star of all time and they got that, they’d need a director who knows what they’re doing and they got the director of fucking Predator and Die Hard. The protagonist Danny, representing the average kid, could only have been played by a new-comer, and even though he really swings for the fences, he comes across as smart, capable, and still vulnerable. The action scenes are loaded and the explosions are huge. The dialogue is full of hilarious observations, cameos, and cheesy one-liners. Something that’s become the norm now. At the same time, Last Action Hero goes the distance and takes its premise far. There’s honestly so much to love here.

Being unavailable for quite some time, Mill Creek has now released it in its VHS-era classic, and it’s truly that. Last Action Hero is a long-forgotten gem whose time is long overdue. Fire up the projector in those art-house cinemas for the midnight showing. It’s about time this classic was rediscovered.

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