Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Last Action Hero
Last Action Hero was billed at the time as "the next great summer action movie" and many movie insiders predicted the movie to be a huge blockbuster, especially following the success of Schwarzenegger's previous film, Terminator 2: Judgment Day.
Last Action Hero follows the story of Danny Madigan, a young school kid whose love of action movies ends up getting him in more trouble than he bargains for. Danny's favourite action star is Arnold Schwarzennegger and Danny idolizes Jack Slater, a fictional character in the movie whom Schwarzennegger portrays.
Danny is totally obsessed with television and movies, as a result he has befriended an old Cinema operator Nick, who runs a beat-up old cinema in downtown New York City. Nick lets Danny watch pre-screenings and reel tests of movies before they go to the public. One day Nick tells Danny hes going to be reel testing the new Jack Slater film, Jack Slater 4.
However Danny is in trouble with his school for not attending classes and his single mother finds it increasingly difficult to keep tabs on him whilst holding down a job. Danny is eager to see the Slater Film and against his own safety he ventures out late at night to view the pre-screening.
Danny arrives at the cinema to view the movie and Nick says he requires a ticket before he can let him in. Nick then reveals a gold-plated ticket from his pocket and talks of how it was a gift to him by Houdini himself when he performed in the theater, and that it has magical powers yet a mind of its own. Disbelieving, Nick nostalgiacally tears the ticket in two and starts the movie.
Danny is seated in the theater, his eyes wide with excitement, as Jack Slater IV is played on the screen. During a car chase scene the ticket begins to glow blue and before Danny knows what is happening he is transported into the movie, literally into the action. Amidst the confusion Danny realizes what Nick had revealed about the ticket and realizes he's inside the movie.
Danny ends up accompanying Slater, trying to convince him that he's a fictional character inside a movie. Even despite the seemingly unbelievable goings-on of the movie, Slater is unconvinced. Eventually Danny uses his knowledge of the Jack Slater story line to help Slater find out who killed his second cousin Frank.
The two run into Tony Vivaldi, the movie's crime boss, and his henchman Mr. Benedict. Danny later reveals that Benedict was wearing a red fake eyeball, Benedict overhears this and is intrigued to find out how Danny could know such information.
Benedict eventually tracks Danny down at Meredith's house, Slaters Daughter. Benedict takes the two hostage and takes the contents of Danny's wallet with him, including the magic ticket. After Slater interrupts the scene Benedict escapes back to Vavaldi's mansion. There he discovers that the ticket lights up and he is able to travel to the real world, however he is reluctant to try it.
Slater then gets fired by his over-the-top police chief. Dismayed but not defeated Danny convinces Slater that Vivaldi is hatching a plan, Slater and Danny begin to work it out and realise that Vivaldi is going to eliminate his rival syndicate by killing them at the funeral for Leo the Fart. Slater turns up and diffuses the situation and makes sure the bomb doesn't explode.
Meanwhile Benedict is back at Vavaldi's mansion, Tony Vivaldi is excited as Benedict says the plan worked, however Benedict says he was lying and then proceeds to shoot Vivaldi. Benedict sits down to have a drink at the bar when Slater bursts through the wall. He grabs Benedict and throws him at a wall only for Benedict to go straight through it.
A puzzled Slater has no idea what happened when Danny concludes that Benedict has the ticket and it activated and Benedict is in the real world, Danny's world. Danny convinces Slater that they need to go through and stop Benedict while the hole is still open. The pair step though to see Benedict escaping out of the theater. They give chase but Benedict escapes, and Danny and a confused Slater return to Danny's place.
Danny and Slater attempt to look for Benedict, meanwhile Benedict is using his ticket to move back and forth from the movies and the real world. Benedict hatches a plan to rid him of Slater, he travels to Jack Slater 1 and brings Slater's nemesis, the Ripper, to the real world. Benedict believes that if he can kill the real Arnold Schwarzenegger, Slater to will die. The Ripper turns up at the Jack Slater New York premiere and attempts to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Danny and Slater stop him and the Ripper escapes to the roof. Slater and Danny pursue him, Slater eventually kills him and saves Danny. But just as they think its over Benedict shows up and shoots Slater giving him a mortal wound. Danny then angered by Benedict knocks his gun over to Slater who shoots Benedict causing him to explode.
Danny is distressed as he sees Slater dying from his bullet wound. Danny loads Slater into an ambulance and attempts to drive him back to the theater. Danny crashes through the theater and takes Slater in an attempt to get him back into the movies but he's unsuccessful as he doesnt have the ticket. Suddenly a rendition of Death from a movie appears and suggests that there is the other half of the ticket (which Nick tore up earlier).
Danny finds it and activates it returning Slater back to his movie world where the bullet wound heals instantly. Danny and Slater have a sappy moment about believing in each other. The movie returns to Slater who's back on the job winding up his over-the-top police chief and explaining to him that the two of them are fictional and that Slater doesn't want to go around shooting and blowing things up. The movie ends with Nick and Danny watching the movie recalling to one and other the adventure they'd just had.
Cameos, parodies, and references
Last Action Hero is more or less a parody of the action movie genre, as well as the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Tina Turner cameo. Turner appears at the start of the movie as the mayor of Los Angeles; she tries to convince Slater not to enter a hostage situation.
- Reference to Franco Columbo. In the beginning of Jack Slater 4 a credit reads "A Franco Columbo Film". Franco Columbo was Arnold's long time friend and training partner when the two were both bodybuilding and competing in the Mr. Olympia competition.
- T-1000/Robert Patrick cameo. When Danny and Slater go to the LAPD headquarters, Robert Patrick as the T-1000 strides past them in a similarly menacing fashion as he did in Terminator 2.
- Sharon Stone cameo. Before the T-1000 cameo, Sharon Stone is on the left side of the door lighting a cigarette.
- During the premiere of the Jack Slater film in the real world, a number of celebrities make cameo appearances, including: Maria Shriver (Arnold's real-life wife), Little Richard, Leeza Gibbons, Jim Belushi, Damon Wayans, Chevy Chase, and Jean Claude van Damme.
- Sylvester Stallone in Terminator 2. When Danny is trying to convince Slater that he (as Arnold Schwarzenegger) was in Terminator 2, he takes him to the video store. To his disbelief, there is a poster for Terminator 2 with Stallone as the Terminator. Danny, disbelieving, says "It's not possible" to which Slater replies "What's not possible, it's his best performance ever, he's fantastic", clearly Schwarzenegger referencing his performance in T2.
- Sir Ian McKellen appears as Death from the movie The Seventh Seal towards the end of the film and suggests Danny use the other half of the ticket to get back to the movie world.
- Jack Slater/Himself .... Arnold Schwarzenegger
- Danny Madigan .... Austin O'Brien
- Benedict .... Charles Dance
- Ripper/Himself .... Tom Noonan
- Lieutenant Dekker .... Frank McRae
- Tony Vivaldi .... Anthony Quinn
- Whitney/Meredith .... Bridgette Wilson
- John Practice .... F. Murray Abraham
- Irene Madigan .... Mercedes Ruehl
- Frank .... Art Carney
- Death .... Ian McKellen
- Tough Asian Man .... Toru Tanaka
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