I write movies, and about them.
This meta-actioner doesn't know what to do with itself on fundamental levels, but it's still a blast of early-90s pulp with signature John McTiernan action and a solid arsenal of one-liners.
Schwarzenegger is game, Charles Dance is irresistible, and the kid isn't half bad for a hanger-on.
The "real world" is a bit of a drag, but McTiernan strategically places an ACME sign in the reality segment to suggest a double-bluff on credibility. This helps excuse the screenplay's lack of ambition, and clarifies we're watching a thin parody instead of an ambitious satire.
Yet I'm confused by the cartoon cat, and always have been.
Takes the basic premise and characters of Chandler's novel and basically wanders off with them, drunkenly making its own after-party.
The movie lounges all over LA, pulling random tufts from the book like cotton candy -- or just as likely jettisoning Chandler's words entirely in search of the chaotic neutral. There's a perfect microcosm scene where Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes, really) undresses slowly and while doing so seems to accidentally look at the camera, then slams his eyes shut at the…