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Last Action Hero.

What happens when a "magic ticket" blasts a 12-year-old boy out of his theater seat into the movie--and then the boy loses his ticket? What happens when the movie hero comes off the cinema screen to become involved in real life? The answers are to be found in Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest fast-action thriller, Last Action Hero.

Arnold as the relentless and powerful Sgt. Jack Slatec has never lost a battle in the war against crime. He dodges bullets effortlessly, survives tremendous explosions, and takes on an array of thugs single-handedly. Racing his '60 Bonneville convertible through the streets of Los Angeles. the invincible Slater is a loner whose best friend is his .44' Magnum.

Then. lest too much of a good thing become monotonous. Slater's film is shaken up when young Austin O'Brien jumps out of the reality. of his movie seat and into the movie set as the fictional Danny Madigan.

So now we have two good guys, albeit one a tad young, but where are the guys wearing the black hats? Not to worry. They are waiting for Danny's magic ticket to fall into their evil hands, enabling them to, escape the "real" world and further complicate Slater's life by coming into the movie. Okay, so far?

Slater and Danny must now leave fictional Los Angeles and rush to real-life New York to nab the villains. Once there. however, our hero must cope with the fact that he is after all the product of a Hollywood screenwriter and his world. a piece of movie fiction. Slater now finds himself in Danny's world. where a punch can mean a broken hand, and a gun can be synonymous with death. Without movie magic to help him, Slater faces his most challenging adventure to date. Now. he must prove that he "truly" is a dyed-in-the-wool hero.

Still following it? Good. Though the film will be responsible for much nail-biting and popcorn spilling, Schwarzenegger fans, with nails already down to the quick from the two Terminator films and Total Recall, will have no fear of the Master of Muscle being anything less than heroic The $80 million production featuring the Big One himself is expected to sweep summer box office ticket sales.

Last Action Hero reunites Schwarzenegger with John McTiernan, director of Predator. "Both John and I had been waiting for an ideal project on which to work again," Arnold says. "Hero is an exciting, action-packed movie with an incredible story that we 'both loved. It's the ultimate kids' fantasy--to meet your hero. climb buildings, take on five guys at once. and win major battles."

The lucky kid in this film is Austin O'Brien, 12, a veteran of more than 24 commercials. He debuted in the Stephen King-inspired thriller The Lawnmower Man and starred in the comedy Prehysteria.

"I always wanted to meet Arnold, and here I am--working with him," says O'Brien, who was picked for the role and now appears to be headed for kid stardom along with the Culkin brothers and Edward Furlong, who costarred with Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Viewers will be glad O'Brien's parents insisted on keeping their son's lines clean in the Shane Black/David Arnott script. They were adamant that he not swear in the film. O'Brien sees Danny as a role model and didn't want him to set a bad example.

"We absolutely will not take the Lord's name in vain," Austin's mother, Valerie O'Brien, said. "If it came to that, we would walk. They'd have to find someone else. And they were really great about it. They took the swear words all out."

Art Carney fans will be pleased to watch him adding his unique comedic acting talents to the movie. As director McTiernan explains, Hero by no means lacks for humor.

"I think the action genre is particularly ripe for this kind of movie," he says. "Some people think they can make action movies by formula and have repeated the same thing time and again... Audiences have caught on to the formula, so to make things interesting again we're having some fun with that. We use the audiences' knowledge of the genre as the basis for our jokes.

"After spending a certain number of years shooting machine guns and setting off explosives," he explains, "I jumped at the chance to have some fun with it all .... I have this theory that what we're all doing is just trying to re-create the Saturday TV experience as adults. This is what Last Action Hero hopefully does."

Arnold, Austin, Art, and the rest of the cast nod in agreement. Last Action Hero should draw adults as well as kids to the box office.
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Author:Stoddard, Maynard Good
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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