In hindsight, Last Action Hero was ahead of its time, a victim of circumstance and the very thing it sought to parody, which was a very unique set of events for an $85 million blockbuster starring one of the planet’s most famous faces to contend with.
Self-aware action movies that poke fun at the tropes and conventions of the genre are everywhere these days, but it was a breath of fresh air back in the summer of 1993. The project was initially developed to satirize movies like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon, but by the time Last Action Hero had gone through the studio wringer, it was being directed by Die Hard‘s John McTiernan with a script from Lethal Weapon‘s Shane Black.
It also had the misfortune of releasing at the same time as Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, which went on to become the highest-grossing movie ever made, so Last Action Hero was sh*t out of luck. It may have disappointed at the time, but it’s long since secured a status as an unsung, underrated and underappreciated cult classic.
It isn’t perfect by any means, but the scene of Schwarzenegger doing Hamlet remains fantastic, while it’s a lot smarter than the average shoot-em-up. Last Action Hero is now streaming on Netflix, where it deserves to find a much bigger audience on streaming than it initially found three decades ago.