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Big-screen blind spot: 'Last Action Hero'

Once in a while, a movie slips under your radar. For about, oh, 20 years. In 'Big-screen blind spot,' we sit down with those 'classic' movies everybody but us has seen and give them the nostalgia critic treatment.

Confession: Until last week, I had never seen “Last Action Hero,” the oh-so-meta 1993 movie about a little wiener kid (Austin O'Brien) with no friends who finds himself inside the world of his favorite action star, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Like literally inside the movie, you guys.

Had I seen it in 1993 at the age of 8:  I would have appreciated the movie for what it is, a satire of shoot-em-up American action films and, in some respects, a commentary on Hollywood’s obsession with the culture of violence. Kidding! All that stuff would have gone completely over my head, and I would have been totally thrilled by the amount of public and private property that gets blown up throughout the crazy adventures of the kid and his hero. I also would have gotten a little antsy sitting in a theater for so long. “Hero’s” runtime is a whopping 130 minutes.

Now: If I could just put on my media studies cap on for a minute here, has anyone considered the horrifying implications of this movie’s premise? A kid enters the fantasy world of an action star, drops this huge bomb that the guy’s entire existence is guided by nothing more than the law of movie clichés, takes him to the real world where the action star becomes aware of the splendor of real life and all its complexities--and then the kid shoves him back into the world of Hollywood blockbusters, leaving him to slog through this futile existence with the newfound knowledge that his whole reason for being is the entertainment of prepubescent boys. Heavy.

Must be noted: “Last Action Hero” came out nine days after “Jurassic Park.” It never stood a chance.

jxwalsh@tribune.com

 

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