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YMMV / Last Action Hero

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: When transported into the movie world, Danny's casual glee could be a coping mechanism to keep him from freaking out and his knowledge as a movie buff helps keep him alive.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Danny is robbed in his apartment at knife-point early in the film. His trauma seems limited to merely that scene and when he's at the police station; the second Danny leaves the station, he goes on like nothing happened.
    • Given that he grew up in a sketchy part of New York City, where that kind of thing happens often, it's possible that he has grown accustomed to the environment he lived in.
  • Awesome Music: Parking Lot from the video game.
    • The movie's entire soundtrack qualifies, but standout examples would be "What the Hell Have I" and "A Little Bitter" by Alice in Chains, "Big Gun" by AC/DC, "Angry Again" by Megadeth, and "Poison My Eyes" by Anthrax. The soundtrack to this film has actually become something of a collector's item for fans of hard rock and heavy metal.
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    • There's also Michael Kamen's score with the assistance of none other than Buckethead. The opening riff of "Jack and The Ripper" is badass enough that it has seen occasional use in Bad to the Bone moments in other films.
  • Cult Classic: It was roasted by critics and ignored by audiences (who were still flocking to Jurassic Park) upon release, but earned a fandom in the following years.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The names of the bad guys are references to classical music composers. And the soundtrack is partly made up of modified classical music. Parodied in that classical music doesn't even exist in the Slater-verse.
    • Stallone playing the T-800 works even better if one is aware that he was actually considered for the part in real life.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • It's the only role where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver appear together, and it will certainly be the last. The scene that had Maria arguing with Arnold is even more uncomfortable.
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    • That and his character Jack Slater's backstory involving being divorced by his ex-wife.
    • The death of Jack's second cousin due to Art Carney dying not long after this film. Especially his last words, where he says he can feel himself going.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Slater's interaction with Schwarzenegger still works now that he is governor.
    • It gets worse/better - while the projectionist is listing things that are worse than being a fictional character, along with floods and wars, he mentions politicians. Twice.
    • Also, Last Action Hero did a lot of what TV Tropes does today—years before there was TV Tropes. This website actually makes the movie a lot more hilarious than it was before.
    • "When the governor gets here, call me."
    • A climactic scene ends with a bomb exploding in a tar pit surrounded by dinosaur models. Last Action Hero itself wound up bombing due to the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park. Twenty-two years later another Arnold Schwarzenegger film will bomb against another Jurassic sequel.
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    • When Slater reminisces on how depressing his life outside of his movies is, he says, "Danny, do you think I would marry someone so stupid that doesn't know my real voice from a taped one?" In True Lies, Schwarzenegger's character Harry Tasker does a tape recording to fool his wife.
    • Slater punches a car window in the real world, then complains how much it hurts. In True Lies, Arnold accidentally punched a real car window instead of one made of break-away glass, and didn't notice.
    • Benedict has a dummy in the shape of a stag in his room. Charles Dance would go on to play Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones, where he fought against characters who used the stag as a coat of arms.
    • Thanks to "deepfake" editing technology, a man with the handle of Ctrl_Alt_Face edited Sylvester Stallone as the T-800 in a few scenes of Terminator 2. The montage even starts with the scene where Danny discovers the Stallone poster inside the "Jack Slater" universe.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Benedict, though starting out as Tony Vivaldi's self-proclaimed lackey, quickly proves himself to be the true menace of the film. An exceptional hitman whose marksmanship is only rivaled by his dry wit, Benedict is the real mover and shaker of Vivaldi's operations, and, briskly picking up on the fact that young Danny knows far more about him than he should, Benedict ultimately gets his hands on Danny's magic ticket, enabling him to betray Vivaldi and travel from the Jack Slater film series into the real world. Both disgusted and intrigued by the lack of empathy "real" people display towards their fellow man, Benedict guns down a mechanic to test his theory on this, and, upon receiving no comeuppance, concocts his master plan to bring forth every movie villain to the real world, simply because "in THIS world the bad guys can WIN!" When confronted by Slater, Benedict fatally wounds the thus-far nigh-invulnerable hero with a simple yet brilliant tactic: tricking him into the open by making Slater believe Benedict's gun is has clicked empty, when truthfully, he "just left one chamber empty" before gunning Jack down.
  • Narm Charm:
    • Nao, NO MORE MOOFIES!!
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The flashback to the third Jack Slater movie, where the Ripper kills Jack's son. He later tries to do the same to Danny.
    • The scene where a criminal gets into Danny's house and pulls a knife on him, threatening to kill him if he doesn't fetch him the valuables.
  • Older Than They Think: Believe it or not, the film's plot is taken from the Amazing Stories episode, "Welcome to My Nightmare".
  • One-Scene Wonder: Death, played by Sir Ian McKellen near the climax.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • Although the film itself is a pretty interesting Deconstruction of action films, the developers of the tie-in game decided to play everything very straight. Admittedly, they weren't helped by Executive Meddling that prevented them from depicting Slater battling the enemies in any way other than via hand-to-hand combat — instead of the absurdly over-the-top array of weapons originally intended — forcing them to completely redesign the game into a more standard Beat 'em Up at the last minute.
    • Averted for the pinball, which is well-regarded for its deep rules, great music, and nonstop action.
  • Protection from Editors: By all accounts, there was virtually no restraint behind the scenes.
    Shane Black: McTiernan had made a lot of hits, so the studio said, "Let him do what he wants". And we watched as John rewrote the whole thing. I have a lot of fondness for John. He's an interesting guy with a lot to say. He just wasn't keen on the things we'd written.
    Chris Moore: It was a historical moment, where so many people saw this craziness unfold that it created an embarrassment and a ripple effect in the business. Somebody needed to step in and say, "Look, we’ve got some of the most talented people on Earth and a shit-load of resources — what is the actual movie we're making?" Instead, everybody avoided the hard conversations, so the movie attacked and ate itself. It's the ultimate cautionary tale.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • The launcher that rockets the cop car in the air during the house explosion is clearly visible, as it falls to the ground.
    • Jack Slater's game of chicken in the real world also has a rather visible tow cable laying across the alley floor.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: It's the closest we'll get to a live-action Rainier Wolfcastle movie.
    • "Magic ticket my ass, McBain!"
    • Word of God claims in Twitter that anime Re:CREATORS was created as an attempt to transfer the ideas of this film to the anime plane. Nevertheless, the final work has become more of an attempt to study the psychology of characters in the real world than just a parody of a cliche.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Even those who love the movie acknowledge that it has a kick-ass premise, but the execution falls somewhat short.
    • It's likely a lot more could have been done had it been done later, considering advances in special effects, but also the fact that people have gotten used to longer movies and they wouldn't have to cram a dense parody of an entire genre into as little time.
    • If the movie had allowed Benedict more time, imagine what a cool plot it could have been if he'd actually recruited all those villains he mentioned in his Just Between You and Me speech.
    • It also works In-Universe: The movie is clearly going somewhere, but the story gets derailed once Danny comes in.
    • Another major issue is that the Jack Slater series makes no sense as an in-universe action series, with the third film having a crushing Downer Ending where Slater's son is killed, and another being just as farcical as the parody itself with the explosive flatulence plot.
      • This is perhaps only equatable to say, the James Bond movies. Bond's wife Tracy is gunned down in a drive-by shooting at the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and this is given only the occasional nod in the subsequent entries but never even directly acknowledged in said film's immediate follow-up. Slater is, after all, stuck with the whim of the writers, and in the 'real world' there could have been a change of writers or a writer's strike and so on, or it could have been like Batman Forever, which was made distinctly lighter due to the slightly poor response to the tone of its predecessor, which made money but was very, very dark.
    • In-Universe, the idea that in Jack Slater IV, Slater is avenging the death of his second cousin Frank comes off as very ridiculous. It's clear that having gone through so many epic, personal conflicts with super-villains during the first three films and having lost his son in the previous movie to the Ripper, Slater's been left to battle some organized crime factions due to the death of a very minor character. This would also allow Danny, once he comes into the movie world, to start listing the flaws of the Jack Slater films, as well as how they were running out of good ideas.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Ripper, the Serial Killer that murdered Jack Slater's son in his movies and then gets recruited by Benedict to assassinate the real Arnold Schwarzenegger. Unlike the other villains, the Ripper is effortlessly terrifying and has a very personal connection with Slater. Despite that, he only shares one brief scene with Slater during the climax before dying. Though the real Big Bad is a great character in his own right, the Ripper's minimal screen time means his potential is underutilized.
  • Uncertain Audience: A mass Lampshade Hanging of action/adventure movie tropes mixed with a comparison between Real Life and cinematic reality.
    • Though it's worth noting that the film itself almost plays out like TV Tropes The Movie, so it could be argued that the audience for it just hadn't been invented yet.
    • During filming, the filmmakers couldn't decide whether they were making a kid's movie or an action film.
  • Vindicated by History: When the film was released, it was panned by critics and was a box office flop. But in the years since then, opinions of the film have softened somewhat. Many people now regard it as an enjoyable parody of action movies from the 1980s and 1990s, and it has even managed to achieve Cult Classic status.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: A couple of the gags in the film refer to things that were recent history in the early 1990s but are largely forgotten now.
    • The daydream sequence casting Arnold Schwarzenegger as Hamlet is lampooning the 1990 film production casting fellow action star Mel Gibson in the lead role.
    • The brief appearance by a "black and white digitization of Humphrey Bogart" as one of the assigned police partners is sending up the uproar created the previous year when an ad for Diet Coke used CGI to turn Bogart, James Cagney, and Louis Armstrong into posthumous pitchmen for a modern soft drink.
  • What an Idiot!: Invoked in the movie by The Grim Reaper, who remarks that Danny's an idiot for not looking for the other half of the ticket. Face Palm.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: Producer Chris Moore, then an agent involved with the production, felt that the addition of Whiskers the cartoon cat was "Something which, from the outside looking in, looks like a decision of somebody using drugs".
  • Woolseyism: Done brilliantly in the German and French versions, where he calls himself "Arnold Beckenbauer". Google it if you don't know the name; any- and everyone in Germany- wait, in the world does.


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