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Title of the Film
- 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' 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.
- Danny plunged into the world of action heroes as an escape from the real world, quite likely as a response to his father's death. During the course of the film, he begins to connect with the real world again and understand the true nature of what action heroes are and what they can never be for you. Given that he recognized several action hero references throughout the film, including the T-1000, that would make Jack Slater the last of the many iconic action heroes that he idolized during his escape from reality.
Why is the Grim Reaper the only one who keeps his powers?
- 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.
- 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 were so weak in this world that he could only cause momentary illness and not death.
- 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. Perhaps it's a Stealth Pun as the poor guy quite literally just had a brush with Death.
- Benedict still seemed to retain his superhuman shooting accuracy, though, if that's considered a power. 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", not the same sort that Superman or the Hulk has, anyway. 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 non-dramatic wounds are just minor.
Whiskers the Cartoon Cop
- The presence of Whiskers genuinely seems like an unusual character even with the context that this is supposed to be an action movie. 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.
- We're watching Danny watch/get sucked into Jack Slater IV, presumably Whiskers' presence is explained in Jack Slater I. Note that this universe also features a police chief some literally name "Skeez(ie/y)".
- Wild Mass Guessing: Whiskers is a character from a Saturday Morning Cartoon spinoff version of Jack Slater and whose show either tanked, didn't air yet, or was shot down by the executives (but the character itself remains a part of the franchise, even if he's never actually seen by the audience in the 'real' world).
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.
- Still, 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.
- And 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.
- 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. 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.
Murder in New York
- Are there really areas in NYC where a man can shoot another man dead in plain sight 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.
- Before Giuliani 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.
- Note also how people reacted to a firearm in Slater's world as opposed to Danny's. Danny commandeers a crane and clears out a park in Slater's world by waving a gun and firing a few shots in the air; nobody started screaming or running for cover. In Danny's world you can still get a similar reaction to waving a gun around and firing a few shots, but the danger does have to be a bit more obvious and immediate. Also, people in the "real" world 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.
Why was Benedict surprised nobody reacted to the murder, anyway?
People actually get shot and ignored all the time
in movies, and almost certainly more often than in real life. So it seems strange that the villain would be surprised that no-one noticed.
- Although bad guys do regularly get away with knocking off Red Shirt characters in action movies, there are also other times when police response times are measured in minutes - notably, if the crime in question is a plot point. So if Benedict decided to rob a store or something in the Slater-verse, police would swarm his location in no time flat. Thus, Benedict wanted to know if that trope was still true in the real world.
Rules of the Ticket
- What would happen if you took the ticket to a documentary?
- Best guess? You 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 suggests 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. 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?
- 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. Then again, Whiskers the Cat somehow coexists with humans 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 (literally) broke the fourth wall of that film? And what about 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 they had the ticket.
- Let's assume it works for TV shows, what would happen if you enter a reality show? For example, if you enter the "Honey Boo Boo" show, would you be in the real world? Since most reality shows are scripted, would you be in an alternate universe where the family are exaggerated versions of themselves? Since Chef Gordon Ramsey is a cool guy in real life, if you were to enter Mr. Ramsey's reality show, would you be in an alternate universe where Ramsey is a short-tempered, verbally abusive, rude chef?
- Maybe, or you would end up in a universe which is almost identical to yours, with Gordon Ramsey acting the short temper stuff and the only difference being that you possibly don't exist.
- What if you used the ticket to bring Badass Normals into the real world? Would Iron Man's suit fail in the real world? Would Nolan's Batman and Heath Ledger's Joker get killed by the Feds in less than a week?
- At best guess, since Death seems to actually have some of the powers and knowledge of Death even in the real world? Iron Man's suit would still work because it's based on scientific principles, even if they're fictionalized scientific principles. However, it would probably be subject to being damaged far more easily than it does in the films, Tony would probably get more injured when the suit was knocked around, and it would probably cause more collateral damage with its weapons. As to Batman and the Joker, first of all neither of them would come through with their networks and resources intact, and since Bruce isn't completely insane it's doubtful he'd do anything to get himself "killed by the feds". Joker's a more difficult question: he might be almost as dangerous as he is in the movies, except he'd be unlikely to be able pull off so many elaborate schemes. He might get shot or arrested by law enforcement and he probably wouldn't have an exploding goon to get him out; he also might be struck down by something that apparently doesn't happen in movies, that being normal people on the street who see you attacking someone and will pull a gun on you.
- Why did the ticket somehow activate for Benedict, anyway? And why did it suddenly stop working at the climax when Benedict wished to escape?
- Why did it land on Slater's car? Despite unloading his D Eagle at it, it does not appear that he kills the pilots or damages the helicopter in any way.
- They lost control of it due to the crane trying to avoid being shot. When a helicopter is spiraling out of control it's generally assumed it's gonna crash in a movie.
- We discussed why it landed on the car (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.
- It occurs in a cheesy action movie. The people making the movie (both movies) wanted the helicopter to fall on the car; one of them probably knew it was a continuity error and thus did it on purpose but Rule of Drama. If the Jack Slater franchise was real that would go on the "Goofs" page at IMDB.
- Where did Benedict get the idea that if 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 differences 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 that he was hoping 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 start collecting villains whose 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 Lecter but Dracula? Even Hitler would (if he could prove he was who he was) 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 cyclopes.
- He could 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. After all, "Hubristic villain attempts stupid plan; goes horribly wrong; hero has to deal with the consequences" is a well-worn movie plot, and this movie is by nature riffing off of tripe tropes.
- He probably didn't intend to make good on the proposals. He was just bragging about the damage that the ticket could do.
- Why does Benedict cite so many horror movie villains as possible candidates for retrieval? Of all possible film genres, they'd be the ones with the least to gain from coming to a realistic world, because if there's one thing that characters like Dracula or Freddy Kreuger can count on, it's that they'll always be back for a sequel / reboot / spin-off. They don't need to escape the world of fiction to win.
- Coming back for a sequel isn't "winning." "Winning" would be not getting staked or banished in the first place. And he cites horror villains because they're the recognizable names. Most action movies, the hero is the memorable, recurring thing, so namedropping those villains wouldn't have the same impact.
Danny's Actions in the Last Act
- So, Danny - in the real world - hijacks an ambulance by threatening its personnel with a gun, drives like crazy, and crashes it into a theater, causing the patient to become MIA. With the presumed charges on him, maybe he really would be better off following Slater...
- Maybe the NYPD 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 Schwarzenegger. 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 might 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?
- There's the possibility that if the First Blood series exists in the Slater-verse, it may very well just be one film, to which Stallone could have been in two years prior to filming the first Terminator movie in the Slater-verse (originally, the first First Blood was intended to end with John Rambo being killed in the final act by Trautman in the real world, but that ending was changed. What's to say that the original ending isn't the one that stuck in the Slater-verse?).
- It could be that one of the many other actors who were considered for the role in the real world would have played John Rambo in First Blood instead of Stallone and the film ended with just one movie, as John was meant to die at the end of the first film (like how he dies in the novel) before it was changed to where he got arrested. That means that there would be only one film featuring John Rambo and the rest of the franchise doesn't exist in the Slater universe with Stallone's real break out performance being in the Terminator franchise.
Jack Slater Has The Keys?
- 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.
- Two possibilites: One, whoever owned the car left their keys in the ignition / glove compartment. Two, because it's a realistic (ie plausible in the real world) skill, Slater's ability to hotwire cars carried over into the real world.
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?
- It seems that the Movie World is more connected to a greater universe. There are lots of things that logically wouldn't exist in the Movie World. Like why is Stallone in Terminator, or more precisely, why does Terminator even exist in that universe?
- The logic is probably a combination of Like Reality Unless Noted and Rule Of Conservation Of Detail: everything not relevant to the plot still exists, but in a low-detail version that only becomes filled in once the characters visit.
Reactions to the movie
A meta one: Why is this movie so ill-recieved?
- People assumed it was an ordinary Schwarzenegger film rather than a parody. Also, Jurassic Park airing just a week before caused it to be overshadowed. That said, the movie had a little too much mood whiplash and couldn't decide on whether it should be a serious movie or a comedy movie.
The casting of Jack Slater IV
- Are the actors who play the roles of characters like Vivaldi and Benedict in the movie as a whole the ones who are listed in the cast list for Jack Slater IV?
- Presumably Charles Dance and Anthony Quinn would be the names on the list, seeing how Danny recognized Practice would make a FaceHeel Turn because he was played by F. Murray Abraham, meaning Abraham is the name listed in Jack Slater IV's credits for Practice.
Using the ticket to bring dead characters back to life
Couldn't Danny use the ticket to bring Slater's son back?
- Movie/genre rules. The hero (usually) can't be killed, villains can return even from apparent death IF lazy sequels demand it, but friendly side characters Stuffed into the Fridge are generally gone forever.
- It worked just fine bringing the Ripper back to life, there is no reason at all to think Slater's son would be any different.
- That essentially equals to abducting the son from another version of Slater. I guess you could argue that he does not get killed by Ripper at least and thus a life is still gained, but it still feels weird.
Dropping F bombs in Slater's universe
- Instead of writing an R-rated word on paper and handing it to Slater, why didn't Danny try to say it out loud? Would he have been censored? I do wonder what would happen if you say the F word, or do something R-rated, in Slater's world.
- The point of the exercise was to convince Slater that he was in a PG-13 movie. If Danny tried to say it out loud himself and couldn't, Slater could just think he was play-acting, and if he could, it might not prove anything anyways, because Danny isn't originally from that world.
- Fridge Horror: Danny doesn't know that he himself exists inside a PG-13 movie. Like Jack, his mind simply won't process the impulse to actually say the word out loud, and he's unable to notice this - just like Jack is unable to notice the bizarre nature of a cartoon cat police officer.
Would Slater in the next sequel have memories of Danny?
If Danny goes into Slater 6, would the Slater in the new movie know who Danny is?
- Bet is on no, and that the only Slater familiar with Danny would be the one from that specific copy of Jack Slater IV, given that version suddenly appears Genre Savvy, even giving Danny a knowing wink, at the end of the film. That said, it's possible, given Slater shares his universe with Catherine Tramell and the T-1000, unless all characters are unique to each copy of the film.
- Even that may not hold. Anybody who's ever watched the same movie twice can tell you it's the same movie twice. The characters don't learn and adapt. Which could very well mean that the universe itself essentially resets each time the movie is rewatched. Slater might only remember Danny until the next viewing upon which he returns to 'factory' settings.
- This depends on what of the many theories about how this universe works you believe:
- If every single movie is a universe on its own, then maybe this particular copy would have Slater doing weird stuffs every time is play, but all other copies of the film would be normal. Problem with this is how to explain the existence of movie characters (like the animated cat, Tramell and the T-1000 there).
- If theres a universe for all the Slater IV films, then yes, probably all copies are equally affected (whether such affectation mean resenting everything or on the contrary creating a new reality every time is play, is another matter).
- If theres a universe for all the Slater films, then I guess all the previous movies to that point are the same (as they will be the equivalent of filming a person during several years of his life) but no new movie can be done, no new Slater V can happen because every time someone tries whether the writers see the characters action changing in the script or maybe during the editing Slater gives the finger to the editor, or something like that (which is pretty cool, someone should make a sequel with that idea).
- If theres a universe for all action/police films, as the movie seem to imply it, then same as above but only related to Slater films.
The mansion's pool bar
- When Benedict returns to the Big Bad's manor after the failed gas explosion attack, we see that there's a pool bar, which you have to swim under a marble bridge to reach. Er, who thought it'd be a good idea to run the risk of hitting your head whenever you wanted a drink?
what would happen to franchises subject to Canon Discontinuity ?
- If part of a franchise was declared to be non-canon after it was released, what would happen to the fictional world? Would a Cosmic Retcon undo all of the events that were no longer canon?