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Headscratchers: Last Action Hero
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    The Title of the Film 
  • Random Troper: First off, why is this movie called The Last Action Hero? If it were established that, in universe, the whole action movie genre is considered 'tired' or 'old hat' (or even Deader Than Disco) and that the Jack Slater movies are the action movie genre's last gasp, then it'd make sense.
    • Another way the title would make sense is if Benedict were to go on a magic ticket-assisted killing spree during his time in 'the real world', summoning Captain Ersatz versions of action heroes to 'the real world' for the sole purpose of killing them instantly. By the time Slater and Daniel catch up to him, he's killed every other action hero in every movie copy in New York ... making Slater the last action hero. But we don't get either of these justifications for the title, and in fact no justification at all. There's no reason why we should consider Slater (or anyone else) the last action hero.
    • One possible reason is the Reverse Title Drop. As the class watches Hamlet, Laurence Olivier's role is described as "the first action hero". (By his widow, no less.) That and the implication at the end that Jack Slater gives up on action movie heroics, quits his job and drives off into the sunset... in film canon. Not really a logical explanation, but it tried.
    • It might also be poking fun at the sometimes inaccurate/overly dramatic aspects (like the title) of the action genre. Rather like the rest of the film.
    • If you change the definition of "last" here from "final" to "most recent" ("Remember the last time we (whatever)", it becomes a play on how very many action hero movies there are.
    • Conversely, you could argue that Schwarzenegger is meant to be the ultimate Action Hero. As in, don't bother looking for anyone better. So "last" might fit in that sense.

    The Grim Reaper 
  • Aside from the title, the only element that Headscratchers that I can think of right now is the Grim Reaper thing being left unresolved, which we covered in the What Happened to the Mouse? example. I'm wondering why the writers and directors chose to leave it unresolved. I'm not sure if those saying they wanted it to be a setup for a sequel are right about this, because it does seem a bit ... weird.
    • I personally thought of it this way- the Reaper doesn't kill people who wouldn't have died anyway. He kills only people who were supposed to die. This is why he knows whether Jack or Daniel are supposed to be "on his list" because he represents nothing more than a visible face for Death, which in and of itself is inevitable in all universes.
      • He should be more careful about what he says. Now that he has stated that Danny dies a grandfather, what will happen if Danny tries to kill himself? A simple "not just yet" would have sufficed.
      • Danny doesn't seem the suicidal type, and it would take a complete lunatic to attempt suicide just because a future seer told you that you'd die some other way.
      • In a nutshell: why bother tempting fate if you know it won't work? In this case, it'll only make things worse.
    • What bothers me is that Danny now has some idea of when he's going to die. That's gotta make for some sleepless nights once your first grandkid is born...
      • Perhaps, but on the flipside, its kind of a given that most grandparents are old enough that their time is limited anyway once grandkids enter the picture.
      • Not necessarily. My great-grandmother on my dad's side didn't die until I was well into my teens.
      • And your great-grandmother was still technically a grandmother (just not to you).
      • Perhaps, but it'll also make you feel a hell of a lot safer before you get your first grandkid. And what if you choose not to have kids at all?
      • "You'll die a grandfather" is open to very broad interpretation. If Danny grew up to start tropes site, for instance, he might come to be known as "The Grandfather of Tropes" in the eyes of all the other tropers. If he could stand to remain a virgin all his life and avoid having kids of his own in any sense of the word, some orphaned street urchins still might decide to adopt him and start calling that crazy-yet-lovable old guy who's always going on about that weird adventure at the movies he had when he was their age "ol' Grandpa Danny." Old Grim is certain to catch up to Danny someday one way or another regardless of what he does or doesn't do.
    • What really bugs me about the Reaper is that he clearly has magical powers, even though Slater and Benedict don't retain any special powers they had from their movie: Benedict is just an average shot in the real world, and Slater is no more Made of Iron than anyone else.
      • Maybe I'll need to watch the scene again, but did he actually kill that one guy on the street with his power? It seemed that when he touched him the man coughed and wobbled a little, indicating that the Grim Reaper's powers was so weak in this world that he could only cause momentary illness and not death. Can any one clarify this moment for me?
      • Whether the guy (who was smoking at the time, by the way) was just getting ill and coughing or actually having a fatal heart attack was never made clear. The Grim Reaper barely touched him, and his reaction was rather delayed. I'm thinking it was just intended as a visual pun, as the poor guy quite literally just had a brush with Death. (Thank you! Tip your waitress!)
      • This troper didn't see anything to imply that Benedict's shooting became bad IRL. In fact Benedict missing Slater while shooting at him could have been part of his ruse to get Slater to come out in the open, in addition to leaving a chamber empty. It's possible he still was a surgical shot. Slater not being Made of Iron could likely be due to the fact that he doesn't have actually have any powers in the movies, not in the sense that Superman or Dracula do. If a mook shoots Slater it's Only a Flesh Wound, but not because he's superhuman. It's due to improbable badass luck.
  • Neither Benedict or Slater have "powers". As Danny himself states in the final, it's Slater's world that does the trick. It's a universe where all cars explode on impact/penetration, most cops die the day before retirement and all not dramatic wounds are just minor. While not explored, I guess every normal guy in Slater universe could just from a palace to the opposite one while screaming "I will never make it!"

    Whiskers the Cop 
  • The presence of Whiskers doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Not because there's a cartoon cat cop in a movie, but because there's no in-universe explanation for it. Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Bonkers and Cool World actually explained why toons coexist and featured multiple examples of their minority. This movie doesn't. It can't be standard for the series, either, or else series buff Daniel wouldn't have reacted like he did.
    • That whole scene was an extended sendup of They Fight Crime. It seems that Daniel wasn't just transported into Jack Slater-verse, but rather, cheesy cop movie-verse.
      • But I'm pretty sure they established multiple times in the movie that he got sucked into Jack Slater-verse. And while getting sucked into a movie itself doesn't make sense, if the kid got sucked into "Rush Hour", I don't think he'd run into anything like a cartoon cat, because that would look weird, even in "Rush Hour". So in short, it still doesn't make any sense.
    • I'm thinking it's probably more like an action-movie universe, which is a slightly broader genre than just the buddy cop films. Also, I'm thinking the quality of the movies featuring the characters in this universe varies quite a bit. Whereas Jack Slater is from a series of well-made (if somewhat silly) buddy cop action films, Whiskers is probably from one of the early attempts at making a live-action movie with CGIed cartoon characters that failed miserably, something like the live-action Rocky & Bullwinkle movie. That Jack Slater would be used to such glaring inconsistencies in his world makes sense if you consider that his own movies probably contain occasional continuity errors and other inconsistencies that, being a movie character, he simply doesn't notice because the script says he doesn't. If he's incapable of Fridge Logic, he can surely overlook how ridiculously out-of-place Whiskers is in his world.
    • We're watching Danny watch/get sucked into Jack Slater IV, presumably Whiskers' presence is explained in Jack Slater: Action Cop (or whatever the first movie was actually called). Note that this universe also features a police chief whose ears literally steam when he gets angry and a digital recreation of Humphrey Bogart (yes, that is actually (more or less) what the guy says. Not Humphrey Bogart, but a digital recreation thereof.), and where a character has the literal name "Skeez(ie/y)".
      • Don't forget the Rabbi cop. Clearly, in Slater's universe all goes around.
    • It's all very simple: Whiskers appeared in the failed pilot of the Saturday Morning Cartoon version of Jack Slater; that Danny, a profound Slater fan, doesn't even recognize him just shows the degree to which the show tanked.
      • It gets better: the actual reason Danny doesn't recognize the character is that although the cartoon was already written and produced, it hadn't aired yet. This movie was about to kick off the series. While Whiskers wasn't intended to be on-screen, the original script (before Danny arrived and altered the story) was going to have a throwaway line from somebody about how Slater's last partner Whiskers got suspended for some tomfoolery on his last job, but only for a month. Then the cartoon's first season would be all about what happened between Jack Slater III and Jack Slater IV, covering the zany adventures of Jack and Whiskers and ending with Whiskers pulling the stunt that got him suspended. If it succeeded, its producers could then write up a second season taking place after Jack Slater IV in which Whiskers returns to fighting crime in a spinoff series, this time with that attractive Action Girl we briefly saw being paired with him for his partner.
    • My take on it: the scenes in the cop station entryway and whatnot aren't actually shown in the movie. The movie would probably cut right from the action and Slater's latest witty one-liner to him getting chewed out by the Chief. The stuff that doesn't show up in the actual final cut of the movie is filled in by silly background details and stuff that was pondered for the movies but never went in... the silly ideas from the writers that got nixed in rewrites, the stupid stuff executives put forth, etc. At some point someone said "How about we have Jack hook up with a toon partner?!" and while no one was stupid enough to put that through to the final draft, because it was proposed for a Jack Slater movie, in Jack Slater's universe it's possible for him to be partnered with a toon cop.

    Kids Watching Action Movies 
  • Why is the kid allowed to see Jack Slater movies at all? He looks barely 12, and 80's - early 90's action movies used to have copious amounts of violence and profanity, with an almost inevitable R rating.
    • Jack Slater films are established to be PG-13, as proven when Jack won't say something Daniel writes on a card.
      • Yeah, but PG means parental guidance. Shouldn't he be accompanied by an adult? He seems to be going to the movies alone...
      • Compared to cutting class and heading directly from police questioning to the theater... his mother put it best when she called Nick an accessory.
      • Amd he's friends with the old guy who runs the theatre. Presumably he cuts him some slack, and/or considers himself the responsible adult capable of deciding that the kid is allowed to watch the film.
      • Technically, Danny should only have been carded if the movie were rated R ("Children not admitted without parent or guardian," after all). Some theaters may deny kids admission to PG-13-rated movies, but it's not automatic. Plus, maybe Nick just figures that Danny's better off in his theater than on the street.
      • This troper was a film projectionist for several years, and contrary to common belief PG-13 is not age restricted at all. It states "Parents strongly cautioned Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13". Officially anyone of any age can buy a ticket. So if the theater denies kids entrance to PG-13 they are not following MPAA rules. Although when this happens it's usually due to poorly trained and/or misinformed teenagers working the box office, not any moral decision by theater management.
    • Where do you tropers live that they actually CARD kids at the movies? Besides,the automated ticket vending machines make carding useless.
      • I don't think most theaters had automated ticket kiosks in the early 90's. Certainly not Nick's theater; you'll recall that all of the tickets were big gold-paper things, not just the magic ticket, and unlikely to be dispensed electronically.
      • They carded young adults (myself included) going to see District 9 in Charlotte, NC when I went to see it with my Dad. Which is strange considering I was 20 and he was 50 (and looked it), and we were clearly seeing the movie together.
      • This troper's local theaters have the R-rating restrictions plastered all over the place and no automated kiosks at all.
      • How strict or lax a theater is on carding tends to wax and wane depending on the popularity of the film and expected audience. If the film is likely to attract lots of young adults/teenagers and is popular (Say South Park or Jackass) they'll likely crack down. If you're buying a ticket to Shakespeare in Love or the King's Speech, they likely won't bother. This troper and friends were not carded for 28 Days Later, but carded with scrutiny for Terminator 3, at the same theater a week apart. YM-Will-Always-V.
      • FWIW, This Troper was watching movies like Fredddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare, Candyman, Lethal Weapon 3, and Alien 3 in theaters when he was in 8th/9th grade without being carded and without an adult. It very much depends on the theater.
    • The kid is good enough friends with the projectionist that he gets a private screening, all by himself, days before the movie's release. I think that, if the projectionist is going to bend that many rules, he won't have any problem bending the rating. After all, it's not like it's law (in the US, anyway).
    • A bit of Fridge Brilliance reveals that whoever Danny's seeing the movies with, it's not his mother. She thinks Jack looks a lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but never figures out the truth about him, despite being told his name and career. Considering that Jack Slater is the actual name of the Schwarzenegger action film franchise...

    Murder in New York 
  • Maybe it's just unfamiliarity with run-down neighborhoods, but are there really areas in New York City where a man can shoot another man dead in plain view and elicit no reaction, aside from a guy yelling at him to shut up? There's far more unsolved crime in Real Life than in film, yes, but this may be erring a little too far in the opposite direction. (To be fair, anyone calling the cops would be smart enough to stay out of sight while doing it.)
    • Before Giulliani cleaned up New York, this was the stereotypical view — that New York was a hideously decrepit and violent place, and people generally kept their heads down and minded their own business when they weren't being rude. Now that things have gotten a bit better, the stereotype has moved on to Detroit.
    • Why do you think it takes so many Marvel superheroes to keep the peace?
    • It's not entirely a stereotype. There is much Truth in Television to it. Believe me, I've been to New York many times. I know someone who was actually in Grand Central Station when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. They could hear the BOOM. Very audibly. You ask me their reaction to this practically deafening, explosion-like noise from the street? What reaction?? I wasn't there. But that's how he told it to me. Believe me, it's not hard to swallow. (EDIT: I feel I should mention that they did react when someone ran down the steps announcing what had happened, but only then. Not when they heard a booming noise that would probably have made people from any other city jump out of their skins.)
      • This troper saw a person getting mugged in front of the Port Authority on a very crowded Eighth Avenue on a Friday afternoon in 1988. I told a nearby, very annoyed cop about and he didn't really seem to care, although he did go over to question the victim. And nobody else stopped or helped the victim. So yes, the shooting depicted could happen in some parts of NYC, at night and get the reaction that it did, IMHO.
    • Kitty Genovese. That is all. That one incident (and the exaggerated view of it supported by inaccurate reporting) pretty much cemented the view of "New Yorkers as indifferent to suffering" stereotype that persists today.
    • I'm puzzled by this scene for the opposite reason: people get shot and ignored all the time in movies, and almost certainly more often than in real life. So it seems strange to me that the villain would be surprised that no-one noticed.
      • This seemed really jarring to me as well when watching the movie, it appeared to be referring to some sort of trope that just doesn't exist. I think the writers were just out to lunch there, but after much head scratching I have two possible explanations.
      • 1) A common setup for an action scene is that a criminal shoots someone and runs away, and the hero hears an APB and gives chase. Benedict may have assumed that given the circumstances of the shooting, that was the most logical movie trope to be invoked.
      • 2) In an action movie, when a major bad guy is not dealing with the hero, everything works in their favor and they practically can't fail at anything they try. Benedict may have wondered whether this meant that in the real world, he would be unable to get away with his usual tricks, and he was relieved to find that even in the real world, he can still get away with casually killing people.
      • My explanation would be that although bad guys do regularly get away with knocking off Red Shirt characters in action movies, this still usually gets exploited for drama in a similar manner to how all cops getting killed in these stories are usually a day or two away from retirement. Therefore, if the likes of Benedict goes knocking off some poor random bum on the city streets just to emphasize what a cruel oppressive scumbag he is, there'll be people screaming and fleeing in terror from the sounds of gunshots, and a few minutes later the police will turn up with their sirens blaring and we'll get to watch Jack Slater or somebody from his department emote over the death of the Red Shirt Shatner-style.
      • The bad guy still gets away with it, sure, but he'll still hear about the bum on the nightly news, and how his victim had just gotten over his alcoholism and a drug habit and was on his way to a bus stop to go home to reconcile with his estranged family... (Retirony for bums, in other words.) Out in the real world, well, there are no bit parts, but not everybody garners much dramatic attention either. Benedict was just as surprised to see how petty the crooks were (robbing and possibly killing some poor guy just for his shoes?) as he was to notice there was almost no reaction to killings apart from people skulking away and trying not to get involved.
      • I would also note that how people reacted to gun-waving in Slater's world as opposed to Danny's is somewhat instructive here. Whereas Danny could easily commandeer a crane and clear out a park in Slater's world just by waving a gun and firing a few shots in the air, nobody started screaming or running for cover when they heard a few random shots ring out on the street in Danny's world. In Danny's world, you can still get a reaction to waving a gun around and firing a few shots (case in point: everybody cleared out of the ambulance pretty quickly when Danny pulled a gun there), but the danger does have to be a bit more obvious and immediate. Also, people in the "real" world (Danny's) are probably more aware that when someone nearby has a gun, dramatically screaming and running has a way of drawing the shooter's attention to you and making you a potential target; it's better to keep your head down and try to slip away quietly and find a phone booth if you can. What Benedict was discovering was that people in Danny's world usually try to avoid drama wherever they can, and therefore he could get away with quite a bit of skullduggery before anyone would come looking for him.

    Rules of the Ticket 
  • What would happen if you took the ticket to a documentary?
    • My best guess is that you would end up inside an alternate universe where any errors or exaggerations made by the documentary are accurate.
    • That, or you'd effectively have a time machine which would take you to the time period the doco was focused on.
    • The ticket is said to have a mind of its own which, to my way of thinking, means it's not a just a ticket for a movie. It's a ticket for a movie-going experience (literally). If you're passionate about action movies you'll get an action movie experience. If you're passionate about sci-fi you'll get sci-fi. So with a documentary you'll end up on a set with everyone wondering where you came from and thinking you're crazy.
  • What if you used the ticket to enter the movie world, and then went to a movie theater INSIDE the movie world?
    • Logically, you would see the movies that were inside the movie-verse, which likely would be send-offs of existing movies.
      • It might be worth it to see how well Stallone plays the Terminator.
      • Ah, but could you then use the magic ticket, in-universe, to jump inside the movies INSIDE the movie? What would that be like?
      • Sweet honeybee of infinity!
      • We need to go deeper.
      • Well, if you're watching Beastmaster 2, then you're just stuck in an infinite loop of jumping into Beastmaster 2.

  • What would happen if you were to enter a film during the end credits using the ticket?
    • More plausible answer: the ticket just won't work during the closing credits, since the movie, as a window into an alternate world, has ended by that point (it'd probably work if you tried it during The Stinger, though, since the stinger reopens the story for a few seconds). More Fridge Horror answer: it'd work, but you'd end up trapped forever inside the movie's version of The Nothing After Death.

  • Does the ticket work on TV shows as well, or just movies?
    • Probably just movies, since it's a magic movie ticket. Dunno how it'd work if you're watching a movie on TV.
    • Maybe if you had a big enough set, use a movie screen to watch a TV show, or watch the movie version of a TV show.

  • What happens if you used the Magic Movie Ticket to enter an Anime Movie OVA? Would you turn animated or have Anime Hair?
    • Since people inside the movie are subject to the the movie's logic, I'd say yep, you'd turn into your anime counterpart, complete with Anime Hair. Like Strong Bad said, You Gotta Have Blue Hair! Then again, Whiskers the Cat somehow coexisted in Slater's world...

  • Is there a different universe for each copy of the movie or each movie in general? Danny took Slater out of Slater IV, but could he for instance have put on copies of Slater I, II and III and had four Slaters from different time periods fighting Benedict? Or if that wouldn't work and there's one universe for each film, then how is anyone supposed to watch Slater IV now that Danny essentially broke the fourth wall of that film? And what about what happens with extended/directors cuts? Deleted scenes?
    • The "one universe" theory cannot be true. Benedict pulled the third movie's villain out, by definition before he died, but he and Slater still remember the events of the third movie. Thus, the events must have happened intact, and the copy theory makes sense. Danny probably could have done the multiple Slater thing if, you know, they had the ticket. But they didn't, and never got it until after the conflict was over.
      • Maybe not remembered. I think the Ripper either saw the movie where he saw himself get killed or he was told that he would be killed by Bennedict.
      • I think there is some sort semi-universal moviverse. I've obviously never seen Jack Slater 1-3 but Jack's non-chalance aside I don't think there were any cartoon cats in those first three movies. Snagging the Ripper from III probably constituted time travel but I'm highly skeptical you could start collecting Jack Slaters.

    The Helicopter 
  • Why did it land on Slater's car? Despite unloading his Desert Eagle at it, it does not appear that he kills the pilots or even damages the helicopter in any way. No bulletholes in the windshield and neither pilot seems injured. When it turns away it honestly looks like the pilots are just veering off to avoid his gunfire.
    • they lost control of it due to the crane and they were being shot at. when a helicopter is spiraling out of control it's generally assumed it's gonna crash in a movie.
      • It's a movie

    Bendedict's Plan 
  • Where did Benedict get the idea, that when he kills Arnie, Slater automatically dies with him? If an actor dies, it doesn't change the movies in which he appears. At the end it's even shown that his plan wouldn't have worked: Bengt Ekerot, who played Death in The Seventh Seal, was long dead when they produced Last Action Hero.
    • Maybe he thought that, given the "differentness" of the real world from his own, and the fact that his world is contingent on our world, that a change in our world would result in a change in his. That, or because as a Card-Carrying Villain (by his own admission), killing Schwarzenegger is just the most natural thing for him to do.
    • Another possibility is just that he was thinking to put a stop to there being any more Jack Slater movies. (Replacing someone as distinctive-looking as Schwarzenegger would be really difficult.) While that wouldn't necessarily kill Jack, it would mean he'd be having no more zany adventures killing off people like Benedict. Then, since he'd have to be written out of the script of any movie set in his world, he might very well end up dying anyway in some other movie... off-screen... two days before retirement... and as a "tribute" to the late Schwarzenegger, yet! (Those Hollywood writers are cruel to their characters, I tell ya!)
  • Why would Benedict intentionally start collecting villains who's goals differed from his own and whom (assuming the came through powers intact) would have been impossible for him to control? Of the villains he listed he could perhaps have kept pace with Hannibal Lector but Dracula? Even Hitler would (if he could prove he was who he was) would have resources available to him that Benedict wouldn't. And King Kong? Really? I'm fairly certain 50 foot gorillas don't make deals with cyclopses.
    • He could attempt some success. Bring King Kong out to cause chaos while he robs a bank with Dracula and Hannibal Lector, whom he threatens to place back in the movies if they don't obey him. But he better stock up on crosses, garlic and holy water and keep Hannibal Lector away from sharp objects while he's doing it though.
    • God complex. With that ticket Benedict has seemingly unlimited power. Predictably we can assume he'd lose control, but by his very nature he has no reason to think that.
      • It's not as if "Hubristic villain attempts stupid plan; goes horribly wrong; hero has to deal with the consequences" isn't a well-worn movie plot.

    Danny's Actions in the Last Act 
  • So, Danny hijacks an ambulance by threatening its personnel with a gun, drives like crazy, and crashes it into a theater, and the patient — an unidentified Jack Slater cosplayer — will be nowhere to be found. And he does all this in his own world. With the presumed charges on him, maybe he really would be better off following Slater...
    • Maybe the cops would have busted him if they hadn't been too busy answering calls from a bunch of hysterical movie theater patrons claiming Death just walked off the screen and came after them with his scythe, and gathering evidence at the scene of a crazy assassination attempt on Arnold Schwartzenegger. After a night of that kind of mass insanity, they might just assume the kid got a case of whatever got into everyone else and give him the same break they gave the others.
    • The cops would probably assume that after seeing the guy shot he went in shock and acted irrationally. Temporarily losing it isn't unheard of when in traumatic situations.

    If Stallone is The Terminator 
  • Then who plays Rambo?
    • Who says he can't play both?
      • Maybe Stallone's image as an actor requires a strong counterpart to have a friendly rivalry. So, Bruce Willis?

    Jack Slater Has The Keys? 
  • One plot point I noticed because I've also seen The Purple Rose of Cairo: how was Jack able to start that random car he swiped from the street curb? In action movies, sure, the protagonists might be able to start a random car without the keys, but this was supposedly in real life. My guess is that Jack Slater already knew that trick that John Connor taught The Terminator in the second Terminator movie about checking the sun visor pocket for the spare set of keys, but if so, his finding those keys is one missing scene that we really shouldn't be missing.
    • Maybe someone left their keys in the ignition hoping someone would steal the car and they could file for insurance.

    "The Helicopter Landed on It." 
  • Okay, we discussed why it landed on the car (i.e., it crashed), but here's another question. How? Slater parked underneath an overpass or bridge at the hotel. The only way the disabled helicopter could've hit his car is if the pilot intentionally flew his rapidly descending craft under the overpass explicitly to land on it (probably out of petty revenge, being a vindictive mobster pilot and all), which I can't see him doing because how would he know whose car it was?

[[folder:Size Of The Movie World]]
  • If the world inside the movie is built from what was filmed for it, shouldn't the movie world only encompass locations and sets that were actually filmed?
The Last AirbenderHeadscratchers/FilmThe Last Samurai

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