Legendary muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger teams up with seasoned action director John McTiernan for Last Action Hero, a bullet-blazing spoof of formulaic action movies. This titanic celluloid extravaganza cascades with breathtaking stunts, big-budget explosions, and celebrity cameos galore. It is a summer spectacle with incredible potential, but it simply doesn't deliver on any level. The movie puts too much emphasis on the self-aware spoof, while the characters and story line never even begin to develop. The narrative allows Schwarzenegger to toy with his infamous onscreen image, especially during a scene in which the young protagonist discovers that Terminator 2 features Sylvester Stallone in the alternate movie dimension. Unfortunately, these moments of smart satire are extremely rare. Screenwriters Shane Black and David Arnott mostly lampoon the obvious "Arnold" movie elements (e.g. the overused "I'll be back" joke) and never take any real chances. Even with breathtaking stunts and tremendous explosions, Last Action Hero is nothing more than inert characters standing around commenting on their own dull predicaments. It fails to mystically blur the barrier between audience and silver screen, as seen in Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo. Instead, Last Action Hero seems like a hapless Hollywood hodgepodge that desperately tries to be both action picture and satire -- and succeeds in neither department.
by Adam Goldberg review