Trail Mix – Last Action Hero

“Magic ticket my ass, McBain…”

Trail Mix takes a look at classic movie trailers from years past to explore their relationship (however sometimes tenuous) to the films themselves and to the movie promotion of today.

I think I may be the only person who really liked Terminator Genisys, in this country anyway, but it wasn’t the first time that that a Schwarzenegger vehicle underperformed critically and commercially, the first was ironically his project immediately following his greatest success with Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Thought to be a shoe in for another world beating blockbuster, this movie proved that no one was invincible, not even the T-800 himself.

So what finally killed The Terminator? The Dinosaurs. Last Action Hero was famously released on the same day as Jurassic Park, and suffered greatly in the wake of Spielberg’s timeless dinosaur epic. Arnold himself saw the writing on the wall and pled to the executives at Paramount to delay LAH by a month but his concerns fell on deaf ears, leaving critics with more than one reason that summer to say “that is one big pile of shit”. Not even a perfectly villainous Charles Dance, who went on to great acclaim as Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones and was also cast in the similarly unfairly maligned Alien 3, could save the movie from destruction, reportedly visibly frustrated on set with the lack of respect he was given from the crew, bemoaning his fate as the “poor man’s Gary Oldman”.

Last Action Hero has been re-appraised as something of a cult classic in recent years, though in more of an ironically dethatched sort of way. The movie does have several clever ideas and amusing touches but it’s also kind of self indulgent and way too far up its own ass to remain entertaining to the layman for its entire bloated run time. Paramount probably thought they had another Schwarzenegger franchise to rival James Cameron’s long lived Terminator series on their hands, and who knows? Maybe with some subtle tweaks, editing and a more favorable release date we would’ve enjoyed more meta-reality bending Jack Slater adventures in the ensuing years, but alas, it was simply…

Trail Mix – Last Action Hero

…not to be.


Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.
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