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John McTiernan
Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, Art Carney, Charles Dance, Austin O'Brien
Writing Credits:
Zak Penn (story), Adam Leff (story), Shane Black, David Arnott

Did Someone Say Action?

Danny Madigan (Austin O'Brien) knows all the first 3 Jack Slater (Arnold Schwzrzenegger) movies in and out. The 4th one is just about to be released too, and with a magical ticket Danny really gets to know that movie in and out too, literaly speaking. During one of the action climaxes Danny is transported into the movie, into a world following other rules than the real one. Benedict, one of the evil guys, gets hold of the ticket and escapes out to the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win. Danny and Jack follow him back to the real world to get back the ticket and stop Benedict from killing the actor playing Jack.

Box Office:
$85 million.
Opening Weekend
$15.338 million on 2500 screens.
Domestic Gross
$50.016 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Portuguese DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 130 min.
Price: $24.95
Release Date: 1/12/2010

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Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Last Action Hero [Blu-Ray] (1993)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 14, 2010)

Prior to the summer of 1993, many expected to see a box-office showdown between Jurassic Park and Last Action Hero. Basically, the season was billed as Arnie vs. the T-Rex, with all the other films left to pick up their crumbs.

It didn't quite turn out that way. Jurassic Park went on to make hundreds of millions of dollars and earned a spot among the top grossing films of all-time. Last Action Hero, on the other hand, didn't even make it near $100 million dollars, and it almost ruined Schwarzenegger's career. Chief Wiggum summed it up for millions of mocking moviegoers: "Magic ticket my ass!"

Young Danny (Austin OíBrien) adores movies, and he canít wait for the new effort from Arnold Schwarzenegger. His projectionist pal Nick (Robert Prosky) gives Danny the chance to preview Jack Slater IV at an exclusive midnight screening.

To enter this show, Danny must use a special ticket. It turns out that it possesses magical properties, and Danny ends up sucked into the world of the film. There he interacts with Jack Slater himself (Schwarzenegger). Danny tries to figure out how to get back to the real world and stop some baddies who want to leave the movie themselves and wreck havoc on our side of the screen.

It may not be a popular position to take, but I have to admit that I actually liked Last Action Hero. I didn't bother to see it theatrically until it had made it to the bargain theaters, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was no classic, but it was much more entertaining and watchable than the absurd mess I expected to find.

I think Last Action Hero was a film that confused the audience. Previews made it hard to tell if the film was a comedy, an action film, a spoof, or fantasy. The film itself made the situation worse. Frequently movies comes with bad ad campaigns that misrepresent those flicks. However, not only did Last Action Hero's promotional message muddy the issue, the film itself frequently seemed unclear as to what it wants to be.

Most likely this happened because the filmmakers really wanted to have it all. They wanted Last Action Hero to be the biggest, boldest, most exciting action film made, but they also wanted to make a loving spoof of the genre. As such, the film offered plenty of straight action scenes - especially toward the end - along with liberal doses of attempted wackiness and irreverence.

In the end, they ended up with a very mixed bag. In truth, I find the concept compelling, and the makers of Scream used a similar self-referential tone to great effect. The main problem is that Hero attempts to reach beyond the grasp of its participants. Had Last Action Hero been made by more skilled and deft filmmakers, it could have been exciting and funny all at the same time. The problem stems from the fact that at no point is the film half as clever or witty as its creators seem to think it is.

Nonetheless, I find Last Action Hero to be a compelling and exciting joy ride. It's one film that has to be clichť; much of its point is to show the hackneyed conventions of action movies, so it gets to revel in these sorts of scenes. Because of the purposefully artificial nature of the film's universe, it also gets to ratchet the action up a notch with ridiculously absurd sequences; it's all part of the joke.

In the end, it's really best to take Last Action Hero as a fantasy action film and basically ignore the attempts at humor, as these invariably fall flat. Though many of the jokes aim to mock the genre and come from the "so lame they're funny" style of comedy, they don't get there; the jokes are just bad, period. Get past that and the film can offer a fun diversion.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio A-/ Bonus D-

Last Action Hero appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though often very good, some minor concerns emerged.

For the most part, sharpness satisfied. However, interiors could be somewhat muddy and occasionally lacked great delineation. Still, much of the flick appeared accurate and concise. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering materialized, and I noticed no edge enhancement. Print defects popped up infrequently. I noticed a handful of specks, but nothing more severe occurred.

Colors tended to be positive. Again, interiors could appear somewhat runny and dense, but other hues looked vivid and full. Blacks were deep and firm, and most shadows appeared solid, though those interiors tended to seem a bit thick. Plenty of the movie excelled, but the iffy spots occurred often enough to make this a ďB-ď.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack for Last Action Hero came with very few reasons for complaint. Indeed, if I had to gripe about one thing, it would be the excessive low-end response, and I donít think that was an accident. Given the movieís bigger than life tone, it made sense for the track to provide exaggerated bass. I found it to become something of a distraction, but it did fit with the filmís sensibility.

Otherwise, audio quality was solid. Speech seemed natural and concise; the large number of looped lines became a mild distraction, but they sounded fine. Music was rich and vibrant, and effects provided good pop. Again, bass was more prominent than Iíd like, but the overall quality of the various effects seemed positive; those elements came across as full and clear.

The soundfield provided a nearly constant level of activity. With one action scene after another, the flick offered an environment that used all the channels in a satisfying manner. Gunfire and explosions filled the room, and car chases zoomed around the setting. Quieter sequences seemed pleasing as well; rain and other elements used the speakers to flesh out the environments. Even after 17 years, this remained a very pleasing auditory experience.

How did the picture and audio of this Blu-ray compare to those of the original DVD? That disc came out during the formatís infancy, and its age showed, especially in terms of visuals. The DVD crammed 130 minutes of movie onto one layer, and that was a recipe for disaster. Along with the excessive compression, other flaws occurred that made the Hero DVD a visual mess.

This meant that the Blu-ray offered a good step up in quality. No, it wasnít a killer visual presentation, but it demonstrated a cleaner, tighter, brighter image. Audio was more of a wash, though I thought the lossless DTS-HD track demonstrated somewhat stronger punch and kick. The Blu-ray never became a definitive presentation, but itís the best weíve ever gotten for the film.

Though Blu-ray finally provided a reasonably attractive visual presentation for Hero, fans who hope for Special Edition treatment will feel disappointed, as virtually no extras appear here. The Blu-ray only provides a collection of Previews. It includes ads for Snatch, The Da Vinci Code, Ghostbusters, A River Runs Through It, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Angels & Demons, Michael Jacksonís This Is It, Zombieland, The Stepfather, Armored, Soul Power, and It Might Get Loud. No trailer for Hero shows up here.

After almost 17 years, Last Action Hero remains a much reviled flick. If you were like most people and skipped this one because of all the negative reactions, you may want to give it a chance and see what you think. I wonít claim itís a classic, but I think itís more entertaining than its awful reputation would indicate. The Blu-ray comes with excellent audio, erratic but generally positive picture, and no supplements. I canít claim this ever becomes a stellar representation of the film, but itís the best weíve yet received.

To rate this film visit the original review of LAST ACTION HERO

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