Last Action Hero

Last Action Hero

Damn the pan-and-scan VHS tape for tricking me into thinking this was a slack & sloppy enterprise. McTiernan's firing on all cylinders visually, keeping this multi-hyphenate dimension-hopping Looney Tune burning through the Cal-ee-forn-ya hills and shuttering Times Square grindhouses.

The aggressively winking movie-movie flourishes play out great on this wide canvas, mostly due to Arnold's earnest commitment. I wouldn't ever paint him as the most self-aware performer, but he's always conscious of his image, giving the movie a tension between his usual brawny destruction and softening, kid-friendly image. Arnold's dilemma is one of the many tensions on display in a project famously defined by its squad of cooks. Ignatiy Vishnavetsky singles out this quality as "elastic", which only furthers the furiously-moving Duck Amuck sensibility within the text. You have to commend any movie to commit to a gag involving an animated cat detective.

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