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Blu-ray Review: Last Action Hero

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What happens when an action movie crosses over into the real world? That's the question explored in the early '90s cult action flick, Last Action Hero.

Young Danny (Austin O'Brian) spends his time watching cheesy action flicks, particularly those by action star Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger). When an old projectionist gives Danny a magical ticket, Danny is transported into one of Jack's movies where the laws of physics (or reality) don't have much meaning. It seems like the perfect world for Danny until Jack's nemesis (Charles Dance) finds the magic ticket and enters into the real world. It's up to Danny and Jack to stop him, but without the luxury of movie magic.

While many action movie fans (such as myself) will enjoy the cult nature of this movie, others will find it too corny and tongue-and-cheek. Last Action Hero, while expertly written and executed, is a parody of itself and of all (especially '80s) action movies, but in taking this route, has used too many "in" jokes. In fact, a few of the jokes even had to be explained to me, because I didn't understand all the little nuances of the screenplay. I can easily understand why some viewers won't enjoy the film's style of humor, but I can also see how it became a cult classic.

The picture quality is absolutely phenomenal. It's so crisp and clear that, quality-size, it feels like a modern movie. The colors are so vivid that the film feels like it's jumping off the screen (almost literally, making the nature of the movie itself even more interesting). I've never seen this film (okay, so I missed the DVD version and only saw the VHS version) ever presented in such a beautiful way before.

The sound has also been improved, and instead of having to turn the volume way up in order to hear anything outside of the action sequences, it was considerably more manageable. Between the picture and the sound, all of the over-the-top, corny action sequences really came to life here and made me feel like I was part of the action (which seems to be a key aspect of the movie's original intent). Presented in crystal-clear 1080p high definition in 2.40:1 widescreen, this is the best quality Last Action Hero can ever have. This edition also has Spanish, French, and Portuguese audio as well as English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese subtitles.

However, I found the bonus material here (or lack thereof) very disappointing. Now, since I've only see this movie before on VHS, I don't know what was included on the original DVD release (if anything), but I was hoping for a little more in this version of the movie aside from just gorgeous sound and impeccable visuals. Instead, Last Action Hero on Blu-ray features Movie IQ, which allows for semi-annoying (if you haven't seen the movie a few times before) pop-ups that give interesting information about the film, and Blu Live, which seems to be a common feature among all Blu-ray movies meant to direct viewers to Sony's online store. There's no deleted scenes or outtakes (my personal favorite extras) or even interviews with cast and/or crew. While I understand that since this an older movie and keeping up with extra features was very different then, you would think that they could have come up with something.

It's difficult to say whether or not the Blu-ray edition of Last Action Hero is worth it, especially with the serious lack of bonus features and the relatively high price tag associated with Blu-ray disks. If you are looking for flawless video and audio quality, then the Blu-ray is the perfect choice, but if you're looking for new material, then save your money and check out the DVD (or even VHS) version of the movie.

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