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Last Action Hero (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=163732&d=1263572890
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109940&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

80






Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 1993
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 131 minutes
Genre: Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


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?"



Film Synopsis:

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).




My Take:

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.



Parental Guide:

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)

Audio: 84



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 76


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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.



Bonus Features:

  • 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:

    1. It might get loud
    2. Soul power
    3. The DaVinci Code Extended Cut
    4. Ghostbusters
    5. The step father
    6. Armored
    7. Michael Jackson's This is it
    8. Angels and demons
    9. A river runs through it
    10. Close encounters of the third kind 30th anniversary edition

  • BD-Live enable
attachment.php?attachmentid=163733&d=1263572890


Final Thoughts:

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.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 22
thanks Ralph(sorry!).

my all time fav. I have already watched it umpteen time! I wish video could be a bit better.
post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoro View Post

thanks Paul.

my all time fav. I have already watched it umpteen time! I wish video could be a bit better.

Greetings,

Paul?


Regards,
post #4 of 22
For some reason, my wife and I both "get it." It's an action movie, a spoof of action movies, a fantasy (the golden ticket), the kid is good, lots of humor ("All numbers start with 555 in movies," Stallone as the Terminator, etc.) We enjoyed it and have watched the DVD several times. We couldn't understand all the negative reviews it received.
post #5 of 22
I couldn't agree more with ^^

I love this movie to this day (granted I'm only 24 so what do I know)...

I always thought it was a great movie (no it's not the Godfather or Schindler's List...) but it's great for what it is...
post #6 of 22
I am also very fond of this movie. Along with the hilarious action movie spoofs is an excellent soundtrack that includes ACϟDC's Big Gun and Michael Kamen's fitting score.
post #7 of 22
I also really liked this movie and have watched it several times on hd cable and dvd. I really dont understand why the critics did not care for it.
post #8 of 22
I understand why the critics panned it... but I don't care! I enjoy this movie anyway for exactly what it is. It was meant to be a movie that didn't take itself seriously, and poked some much-needed fun at the action hero genre.

I think it was mostly considered a failure at the time because of how much money the studio put into making/promoting it compared to the box office take. So it's hard to argue it wasn't a "failure"... but very much a guilty pleasure movie for me.

Also a much needed release because the US DVD was not anamorphic widescreen.
post #9 of 22
"How exactly are you going to snap your fingers...after I rip off both your thumbs?" Best line ever.

Count me in as one who thought this movie got a bum rap.
post #10 of 22
guilty pleasure and fun! critics! damn I dont care!
post #11 of 22
I just love Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has several total awesome movies and a bunch of good/very good action movies. This is simply one of those.
post #12 of 22
I also have never understood the bashing this movie took. It was so spot-on in so many aspects (anyone who has ever been inside a hospital may wonder why there are no nurses similar to those we see in movies/tv!) Loved the aged-ROCKY poster in the video shop, seeing Bogart in the police station in black & white, etc. etc. Even poking fun at Arnold himself (hearing him give his usual PR during the movie's premiere.) I'll take this movie over COMMANDO or RAW DEAL or KINDERGARDEN COP any day!
post #13 of 22
i am just curious why do you guys review such ****** movies...whats the point?
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodaze74 View Post

i am just curious why do you guys review such ****** movies...whats the point?

Greetings,

The studios send them to us with the expectation that we cover them. As you can see from reading this thread, one person's meat is another's poison. Lastly, since there are those that may have interest in every movie that comes in for review I have a responsibility to them to try and cover what comes my way.

Hopefully I have answered your question. In the future kindly avoid phrasing your posts using terms that are restricted.

Regards,
post #15 of 22
I've already seen this movie too many times for me to collect so think i'll pass. As enjoyable as the story is/was when i first saw it just didn't do it for me anymore.
post #16 of 22
Another nod for this movie being very fun. Everyone involved seemed to get the joke, and I appreciated the spoof. Arnold is a good sport.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

The studios send them to us with the expectation that we cover them. As you can see from reading this thread, one person's meat is another's poison. Lastly, since there are those that may have interest in every movie that comes in for review I have a responsibility to them to try and cover what comes my way.

Hopefully I have answered your question. In the future kindly avoid phrasing your posts using terms that are restricted.

Regards,


gee sorry for my potty mouth...maybe in the future they will send you some good movies
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodaze74 View Post

gee sorry for my potty mouth...maybe in the future they will send you some good movies

Greetings,

Apology accepted (sarcasm noted). There are some 400 + Blu-ray Disc reviews that I have written on this site. Perhaps there are a *few* that would pass for good movies..


Regards,
post #19 of 22
I happen to like Last Action Hero... but that said... if every movie got a positive review, there would be no need for reviews!

The fact that we all have opinions, and often differ... is the whole point of even having reviews or a discussion board to discuss those reviews and movies in the first place.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDMe2 View Post

I happen to like Last Action Hero... but that said... if every movie got a positive review, there would be no need for reviews!

The fact that we all have opinions, and often differ... is the whole point of even having reviews or a discussion board to discuss those reviews and movies in the first place.

Greetings,

Exactly...


Regards,
post #21 of 22
finally got this one in the mail. Will be watching this one tonight.
post #22 of 22
I liked this movie, guilty as charged. But, when are the studios going to put more money into the BD format? It wouldn't kill them to spend another 100k to improve the disc. Once done, their work would be easily preserved for decades into the future. This transfer is a bit disappointing, again. Just my .02.

We can only hope for the "Criterion Super Special Limited Edition" of Last Action Hero.

Dead on review Ralph.
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