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Last Action Hero
Last Action Hero poster
Directed by John McTiernan
Produced by John McTiernan
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Starring

Arnold Schwarzenegger
F. Murray Abraham
Charles Dance
Tom Noonan
Austin O'Brien
Art Carney
Robert Prosky
Anthony Quinn
Bridgette Wilson

Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Dean Semler
Editing by Richard A. Harris
John Wright
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release June 18, 1993
Running time 130 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $85 million
Gross revenue $137,298,489

Last Action Hero is a 1993 American action-comedy-fantasy film directed and produced by John McTiernan. It is a satire of the action genre and its clichés, containing several parodies of action films in the form of films within the film.

The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater, a fictional Los Angeles police detective. Slater is a fictional character even within the film, the hero of the Jack Slater series of action films. Austin O'Brien co-stars as a boy who is magically transported into a parallel universe inhabited by Slater and the other characters in the Slater film series. Schwarzenegger also plays himself as the actor portraying Jack Slater, and Charles Dance plays an assassin who escapes from the Slater world into the real world. Last Action Hero was a financial disappointment in its theatrical release.

Plot

The story is an adventure that begins when a boy named Daniel "Danny" Madigan is magically transported into the surreal world of an action film featuring his fictional hero, Jack Slater (Schwarzenegger). Slater is the hero of the Jack Slater film series, a fearless LAPD detective whose commanding officer Lieutenant Dekker (Frank McRae) frequently yells at him for breaking rules.

Since his father died, Danny has been skipping school to watch movies with his friend Nick, an old man who operates the run-down Pandora movie theater in New York City. Nick invites Danny to a private screening of Jack Slater IV and gives him a magic ticket originally given to Nick by Harry Houdini. Before the show, Nick tears the ticket in half, gives one half to Danny, and puts the other in the ticket box. A few minutes into Slater IV, Danny's ticket stub begins to glow, and some dynamite from within the film flies out of the screen, lands near Danny, and explodes. When Danny wakes up, he is in the back seat of Slater's car, being chased through Los Angeles in the world of Slater IV. He tries to convince Slater that they are in a film, but Slater sees nothing unusual about his world, which includes a cartoon cat detective named Whiskers (Danny DeVito), a black-and-white image of Humphrey Bogart, female officers dressed in outlandish battle armor, and various characters from other Schwarzenegger films (at one point, the T-1000 from Terminator 2 is clearly seen).

As Slater and Danny drive along the coast looking for the "bad guys", Danny recognizes, from the introduction to Slater IV, the mansion belonging to crime boss Tony Vivaldi (Anthony Quinn). Despite Slater's skepticism, they go in and meet Vivaldi's British henchman Mr. Benedict (Charles Dance). After overhearing Danny discussing his role in the Slater film, Benedict follows Slater and Danny as they visit Slater's daughter, Whitney (Bridgette Wilson), raids the house with some thugs, takes the magic ticket from Danny, and escapes after a gun battle with Slater and Whitney. While inspecting the ticket at the mansion, he discovers a portal to the real world.

Eventually, Slater and Danny figure out that Vivaldi plans to kill his rivals at a rooftop funeral by planting nerve gas in the body. After a brief scene in which Whiskers saves Slater and Danny from betrayal by Slater's friend John Practice (F. Murray Abraham), Slater tells Danny to commandeer a construction crane, takes the body and escapes from the funeral, and disposes of the body into a tar pit with Danny's help at the crane. Whitney arrives in her truck immediately afterward, and Slater and Danny use the truck to crash into the villains' mansion shortly after Benedict irritably betrays and kills Vivaldi. In the ensuing struggle, Benedict and his butler fall through a portal into the real world, and Slater and Danny follow them. In the real New York City, Slater is disappointed to learn that he is a fictional character and resentful at having been given such a hard life by his film's writers, particularly Schwarzenegger himself. While talking with Danny's mother, he learns to be sensitive and loses interest in violent action.

Meanwhile, Benedict learns that in this world he can get away with murder and hatches a plan to wipe out Slater by killing Schwarzenegger. Slater correctly guesses Benedict's plan after Benedict uses the ticket to escape a car chase, leaving behind a newspaper with hand-drawn marks on some film advertisements.

At the premiere of Jack Slater IV, after a brief encounter with Schwarzenegger (himself), Slater confronts the Ripper (Noonan), the ax-wielding villain who killed Slater's young son in Jack Slater III and whom Benedict has brought to the real world. In a rooftop scene similar to the one in Slater III, The Ripper throws Danny from the roof before being electrocuted by Slater. Slater finds Danny clinging to the side of the building and pulls him to safety, but Benedict confronts Slater and shoots him in the chest while ranting about his plans to form an army of film villains (such as Dracula, Freddy Krueger, Hannibal Lecter and King Kong) and take over the world. Danny knocks Benedict to the floor, enabling Slater to get Benedict's gun and shoot Benedict directly in his explosive glass eye, blowing his head to smithereens, but the ticket flutters off the roof and lands in front of a movie theater showing The Seventh Seal. Death (Ian McKellen) walks through the resulting portal and follows Slater and Danny to Nick's theater, where Danny hopes to save Slater by transporting him back into the Slater film. Death advises Danny to find the other half of the magic ticket, which he does, and Slater and Danny are transported into Slater IV, where Slater's wounds are minor. On Slater's insistence, Danny returns to the real world. The film ends as Slater explains his new insights to Dekker, then drives into the sunset.

Cast

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger as Jack Slater, Hamlet and himself
  • Austin O'Brien as Danny Madigan
  • Charles Dance as Benedict
  • Robert Prosky as Nick
  • Tom Noonan as The Ripper and himself
  • Frank McRae as Lieutenant Dekker
  • Anthony Quinn as Tony Vivaldi
  • Bridgette Wilson as Whitney Slater and Meredith Caprice. Whitney is Jack's daughter, and Meredith is the actress who plays her in the Slater films.
  • F. Murray Abraham as John Practice
  • Mercedes Ruehl as Irene Madigan
  • Jay Nijjar as Arnold Schwarzenegger's stunt double
  • Art Carney, in his last film role, as Frank
  • Charles Kalani, Jr. as Tough Asian Man
  • Ryan Todd as Andrew Slater
  • Jason Smith as Danny's Friend
  • Danny DeVito (uncredited) as the voice of Whiskers
Arnold Schwarzenegger films

Hercules in New York (1969)  · The Long Goodbye (1973)  · Happy Anniversary and Goodbye (1974)  · Stay Hungry (1976)  · Pumping Iron (1977)  · The Villain (1979)  · Scavenger Hunt (1979)  · Conan the Barbarian (1982)  · Conan the Destroyer (1984)  · The Terminator (1984)  · Red Sonja (1985)  · Commando (1985)  · Raw Deal (1986)  · Predator (1987)  · The Running Man (1987)  · Red Heat (1988)  · Twins (1988)  · Total Recall (1990)  · Kindergarten Cop (1990  · Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)  · Last Action Hero (1993)  · Dave (1993)  · True Lies (1994)  · Junior (1994)  · Eraser (1996)  · Jingle All the Way (1996)  · Batman & Robin (1997)  · End of Days (1999)  · The 6th Day (2000)  · Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)  · Collateral Damage (2002)  · Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)  · The Rundown (2003)  · Around the World in 80 Days (2004)  · Terminator Salvation (2009)  · The Expendables (2010)  · The Expendables 2 (2012)  · The Last Stand (2013)  · Escape Plan (2013)  · Sabotage (2014)  · The Expendables 3 (2014)  · Maggie (2015)  · Terminator Genisys (2015)  ·

Danny DeVito films

Twins (1988)  · Batman Returns (1992)  · Last Action Hero (1993)  · Junior (1994)  · Man on the Moon (1999)  · Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)  ·

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