|Posted by Miserable Retail Slave on December 8, 2010 at 6:05 PM|
When Vin Diesel's family-friendly Disney comedy, The Pacifier, came out a few years ago, I told people that it was his Kindergarten Cop.
No matter how many asses are kicked, no matter how many bullets are fired, and no matter how much havoc is wrecked, action heroes invariably try to diversify their audiences by starring in tame PG movies that even Grandma would enjoy.
Usually these movies involve the heavily muscled, testosterone-dripping tough guy being forced into numerous emasculating situations until the macho man shows a heretofore undiscovered sensitive side. Along the way there are the usual "haha, hilarious" standard family comedy jokes of cute kids saying the darndest things, bodily functions (involving farts, burps, vomit), and random slapstick comedy (such as nut shots or blunt force trauma to the head).
The Rock (or Dwayne Johnson, if you prefer, which I don't) has done it recently with The Gameplan, Race to Witch Mountain, and The Tooth Fairy. Stallone did it during his lost period in between Rambo and Rocky revivals with Oscar and Stop! or my Mom Will Shoot.
But no one did it more memorably than Arnold Schwartzenegger. He did Twins in 1988 (it's funny because he's huge, and Danny DeVito is tiny. HAHA), Kindergarten Cop (it's funny because he's huge and kids are tiny. HAHA), Junior in 1994 (it's funny because men can't get pregnant. HAHA), and Jingle All the Way (it's funny because he really wants to buy that Turbo Man action figure for his son. HAHA).
The Last Action Hero is an odd comedy/action/satire that seems like the perfect transition film from Terminator 2 to the comedies I just mentioned above. According to wikipedia, Schwartzenegger chose this film over The Tooth Fairy, the same flick that was rewritten for The Rock 16 years later.
Schwartzenegger plays action star, Jack Slater, a tough as nails, do what it takes police officer who fires off one liners such as "you want to be a farmer. Here's a couple of acres" before kicking a thug in the nuts.
Danny Madigan (played by Austin O' Brien) is a young boy whose escape from real life is watching Slater's films at a theater ran by an elderly theater owner.
After a completely random break in at his house, Danny goes to the theater against his mother's wishes to see a sneak preview of Jack Slater IV. The old man gives Danny an allegedly magic ticket that was a gift from Houdini.
While Danny watches the movie, the ticket glows and he's sucked into the action, instantly reminding me of the Captain N: The Game Master cartoon from my youth.
The movie world that Slater inhabits seems to parody all of the various stereotypes found in a typical buddy cop action/comedy. Some these stereotypes are:
Slater is a horrible driver, crashing into things, driving recklessly, fishtailing for no reason.
He gets the job done, but causes excessive property damage in the process. As a result of this, Slater's boss is perpetually screaming, out of his mind with grief because of all the rules Slater breaks to get the job done.
Gun shot wounds or other injuries that would be considered serious or fatal are labeled as "flesh wounds" as seen in the closing moments of the movie.
One of the highlights of the film takes place while Danny is stuck inside the movie "Jack Slater IV" and he is trying to convince Slater that they are in a movie and Danny is from the "real world", Danny tells Slater that he is actually the actor, Arnold Schwartzenegger, and takes Slater to the local Blockbuster to prove it. But, instead of Arnold on the poster for Terminator 2 inside the Blockbuster, it's Sylvester Stallone. Exasperated, Danny points out the fact that every one in this world has phone numbers starting in "555" and all the women are way too hot. The future Governator responds to this by shrugging and saying, "we're in California".
While there are a few clever ideas in The Last Action Hero, unfortunately, they come few and far between. The main villain of the film, Mr. Benedict, has a glass eye, which he periodically switches out in order to show off his long line of designer eyeballs.
One of the main wtf moments in the movie comes when Slater takers Danny to his police station. The entire scene is an excuse to show some gratuitous cameos from Robert Patrick as T-1000 and Sharon Stone as Catherine Trammel, her character from Basic Instinct. The station scene also introduces us to Whiskers, an animated detective cat voiced by Danny DeVito who looks like Skat Cat from that Paul Abdul music video and plays an important role in saving Jack and Danny later in the movie.
Why would a cartoon cat be in the world of an action movie? It makes no sense at all. But at least Arnold had enough sense to avoid dressing up in a leotard for The Tooth Fairy like the Rock did. Then again, he did star in Junior. So maybe I shouldn't give him any credit at all.
If you have suffered through The Last Action Hero, your achievement is below.