The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1993
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 131 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Arnold Schwarzengger, Austin O'Brien, Charles Dance, Merceded Ruehl, Robert Prosky, Frank McRae, Tom Noonan
Directed by: John McTiernan
Music by: Michael Kamen
Written by: Shane Black & David Arnott
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 12, 2010
"Did someone say action?"
Action-adventure superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger bursts through the screen as a larger-than-life movie hero in this nonstop adventure from acclaimed director John McTiernan (Predator, Die Hard).
Danny Madigan knows all the first 3 Jack Slater movies in and out. The 4th one is just about to be released too, and with a magical ticket Danny really gets to know that movie in and out too, literally speaking. During one of the action climaxes Danny is transported into the movie, into a world following other rules than the real one. Benedict, one of the evil guys, gets hold of the ticket and escapes out to the real world, a world where evil guys can actually win. Danny and Jack follow him back to the real world to get back the ticket and stop Benedict from killing the actor playing Jack.
I know that Last action hero did poorly during its theatrical release but I appreciated it for what it was. This is clearly meant to be an action movie spoof and on most levels it succeeds at that. Arnold has proven that he has a decent knack for playing lighter roles and that came across here. The plot and story are developed well and I loved the varied use of characters that help accent the intentionally derived theme. The cast of notables that made cameos include Anthony Quinn, Art Carney, Sharon Stone, Robert Patrick, F. Murray Abraham, and Danny Devito (voice). There is plenty of action, light comedy, and a credible bad guy in Benedict (Dance). While I liked it overall there are a few things that detracted from the experience. At 2 hours and 10 minutes the movie plays too long in its intended support of the story's elements. It could easily have been 90 minutes or so. I thought that some of the humor came across as campy more than funny which disturbed the subtlety of the comedic flow. Its heart is in the right place and I enjoyed the spirit of the film more so than the film itself. I think it fair to say that I found it to be mildly entertaining but worth watching.
The rating is for strong action sequences.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Last action hero comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 mbps.
My experience with this film prior to this review was limited to brief glimpses of it on cable TV. It didn't receive glowing accolades at the time it was released which is probably why I never bothered. Based upon the things I have read about the quality of the DVD release I think that this presentation qualifies as an improvement. Resolution tends to be very good as the images exhibit resolute sharpness and crisp definition that enables refinement in the physical features and clothing of the cast to be clearly visible. Depth, dimension, and object detail in the scenic sunlit Los Angeles scenery of Jack's world is appreciable. This isn't always the case though as there is a handful full of sequences, some being special effects shots some not, where fidelity wavers. Two worst case examples occur between the 1:12:00 and 1:24:00 time marks. The first happens at the hotel when Jack tells Danny to go get the crane. When the camera angle switches from Jack to Danny the image softens and color appears drained as the shot takes on a grayish monochromatic hue. It lasts momentarily and when the camera angle switches again it returns to normal. The other occurs shortly after just before Danny and Jack go through from Jack's world into Danny's. With the black pickup truck in the background the camera turns to Jack (about the 1:24:00 time mark). The shot looks overtly grainy with an almost dithered appearance that lacks saturation and sharpness. While these are the worst examples I noticed it a few other times but to a lesser degree that isn't as obvious unless you're looking for it. Other than this, colors appear accurate with natural rendering that enlivens bright scenes. Contrast is primarily stable and doesn't overdrive or distort whites. Blacks are a solid shade of black while delineation in dark backgrounds ranges from good to just average. Noise can be seen in some of the dark backgrounds which can exacerbate grain. This isn't a perfect high definition presentation however it has moments where it looks stunningly good. I believe that fans would be hard pressed to find it looking any better than this on home video.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is an active one that consistently makes use of the entire system. If you like a bombastic and raucous surround sound mix than you will enjoy this one. Dynamic range is quite good which provides the action based elements and music with palpable energy and concussive impact. Dialogue is intelligible, with crystal clear intonation and excellent room penetration. I never had any trouble discerning subtle changes in the pitch of voices or the presence of low level background detail. Bass is robust and palpably engaging although it doesn't achieve the room shaking subsonic frequencies of many of today's big budget action opuses. The surround channels are actively engaged with a blend of discretely placed sounds and spatial ambience that invigorates the soundstage. The audible level of the effects mixed to the rear channels during some of the panning sequences is on the hot side so that the sounds of ricocheting bullets, explosive backlashes, flying objects etc. are noticeably emphasized and a little distracting. All in all this lossless sound presentation mates well the with the movie's intentionally overblown theme and winds up being lots of fun.
This title includes Sony's Movie IQ features which requires a BD-Live connection and allows fans the option of viewing continuously updated details on the cast and crew and to explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music, and soundtrack information which are tied into scenes in the movie. This can be turned on or off and is activated by the press of a button on your player's remote
- (HD) BD Previews:
- It might get loud
- Soul power
- The DaVinci Code Extended Cut
- The step father
- Michael Jackson's This is it
- Angels and demons
- A river runs through it
- Close encounters of the third kind 30th anniversary edition
- BD-Live enable
Last action hero isn't universally considered to be very good but among those who enjoy it this movie offers a wonderful bit of escapism that pokes fun at the action film genre. As for me I enjoyed the spirit of the film more so than the film itself and didn't feel let down by it. Its debut on Blu-ray Disc from Sony isn't technically unblemished however it presents fans with good audio/video quality that should surpass any previous home video release. Unfortunately the lack of bonus features remains consistent which is disappointing. If you're a fan this comes recommended and is worth adding to your collection.
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