Last Action Hero (1993)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Danny Madigan is a lonely boy who has recently lost his father. He hides from his harsh reality by escaping into the world of movies, especially his favorite character, rogue cop Jack Slater of the Jack Slater film series. When Danny receives a magical golden ticket from Harry Houdini, he finds himself thrown into the cinematic world that his hero lives in. But when the villains of Jack’s world discover that the ticket works both ways and escape from the movie screen, Jack and Danny must pursue them into the real world or both of them will possibly cease to exist.

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‘Last Action Hero’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Last Action Hero (1993)Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) is a Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger) super fan. He knows everything about each of the three films that have been released and looks forward to the upcoming Jack Slater IV. Danny’s lives in a crime-ridden area of New York City with his widowed mother, Irene (Mercedes Ruehl), who is required to work all the time ever since the death of Danny’s father. Rather than dealing with the realities of his world, Danny finds solace at his local movie theater, which is run by an elderly projectionist named Nick (Robert Prosky) who befriends the lonely teenager.

One night, Nick invites Danny to come see an advance screening of Jack Slater IV. To celebrate the occasion, Nick gives Danny a golden ticket that was once given to Nick when he was a young child by the famous magician Harry Houdini. After tearing the ticket, Danny enters the theater where he will have the experience of his life. During the film, the ticket stub magically transports Danny inside the fictional world of the film. Danny lands in the back seat of Jack’s car during a furious car chase.

After escaping his pursuers, Jack takes Danny to the LAPD headquarters which is inhabited with beautiful women in tight outfits and cartoon cat detectives such as Whiskers (Danny DeVito). Danny tries to convince Jack that he is from the real world and that Jack exists in the movie world. Danny points out that one of Jack’s friends, John Practice (F. Murray Abraham), was the actor who killed Mozart in Amadeus and shouldn’t be trusted. Jack sees Danny as a crazy kid and disregards his warning. Jack’s boss, Lieutenant Dekker (Frank McRae) is unsure of Danny, but assigns Danny as Jack’s new partner for the time being. Jack and Danny are tasked with investigating the criminal activities of notorious mobster Tony Vivaldi (Anthony Quinn).

Danny leads Jack to Vivaldi’s mansion having seen it in the beginning of the film before he was transported into the movie world. Jack and Danny meet Vivaldi and his lead henchman, Mr. Benedict (Charles Dance). Danny reveals everything that he observed from the movie theater, surprising the two criminals. However, Jack has no evidence other than Danny’s claims, so the detective and Danny are forced to leave empty handed. Nevertheless, Benedict is overwhelmingly curious as to how Danny knew what had transpired earlier, so he takes some of his own henchmen and follows Jack and Danny back to Jack’s house. Jack’s daughter, Whitney (Bridgette Wilson), is at Jack’s house and helps Jack and Danny fight off Benedict and his men. However, Benedict ends up with Danny’s half of the magic ticket stub. He inadvertently discovers that it can transport him out of the film, and he begins to expand his plans to take over both Jack and Danny’s worlds.

Jack’s investigation reveals that Vivaldi has a plan to murder an entire rival mob by releasing a lethal gas during the funeral of a mobster nicknamed “The Fart”. When Danny and Jack show up at the funeral on top of the skyscraper, Practice reveals that he is in fact a bad guy and works for Vivaldi. Danny and Whiskers stop Practice from killing Jack, and Jack saves the mob crime family from the lethal gas with the assistance of Danny. After the failure of the gas bomb, Benedict kills Vivaldi and escapes into the real world with the use of the ticket. Jack and Danny follow Benedict into Danny’s world. Once there, Jack is dismayed to learn that the rules of the movie world no longer exist. Jack discovers he can be hurt and that he doesn’t always hit what he shoots at. Jack learns that “Jack Slater” is just a character in a series of films starring an actor named Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Benedict also learns that Danny’s world is very different from the movie world. The amount of crime and apathy towards it gives him a better chance to succeed in his criminal adventures, once he eliminates Jack. Benedict develops a plan to eliminate Jack by killing the actor who plays him, Schwarzenegger. Benedict enters the movie world in Jack Slater III and pulls out the villain known as the Ripper (Tom Noonan), the man who killed Jack’s son, Andrew Slater (Ryan Todd).

Meanwhile, Jack’s time in Danny’s world and his discovery of his own vulnerabilities causes him to appreciate life more. After spending some time talking with Irene, Jack has a much more optimistic attitude and understands Danny’s loneliness and fascination with the fantasy world that Jack lives in better. Once back on the hunt for Benedict, Danny and Jack figure out that the one-eyed assassin is seeking to kill the real world version of Jack Slater, Schwarzenegger.

They race to the premiere and stop the Ripper from killing the well-known actor. However, the Ripper reenacts the scene from Slater III on top of a nearby rooftop with Danny playing the role of Jack’s son. This time, however, Jack finds a new way to kill the Ripper and saves Danny. Benedict shows up and shoots Jack in the chest. Jack is able to kill Benedict by shooting him in his explosive false eye. However, the explosion causes the ticket stub to drift down in front of a nearby theater playing Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. The character of Death (Ian McKellen senses the ticket and comes out of the screen to Danny’s world.

Meanwhile, Danny rides with Jack in an ambulance on the way to a hospital. The paramedics hint that they are losing Jack. Danny figures out the only way for Jack to survive is for him to return to his world where the movie rules apply and he can survive the wound. Danny hijacks the ambulance and takes Jack back to Nick’s theater. Once there, they try to cross over, but they can’t without the ticket. Death enters the theater, intrigued by Jack. Danny tries to defend the dying Jack, but Death tells Danny that he is not there to take Jack, he just wanted to know why Jack was not on any of his lists. Death suggests that they look for the other half of the ticket stub in Nick’s ticket box. Danny finds the stub and takes Jack back to his movie world. Jack’s wounds begin to heal instantly. Danny and Jack say their goodbyes, and Danny returns to his world. A recovered Jack then enthusiastically embraces the true nature of his reality appreciating the differences between it and the real world.

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Columbia Pictures released Last Action Hero on June 18, 1993. John McTiernan directed the film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, F. Murray Abraham, and Art Carney.

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