Exempting the spare instances of bathroom humor, Shane Black's fingerprints are all over this, and - in the midst of John McTiernan cutting loose with some exquisite 'John Woo by way of Looney Tunes' setpieces - Black pens a moment of guileless action hero Jack Slater confronting the vapid, Hollywood showboat Arnold Schwarzenegger ("You've brought me nothing but pain") that I can't help but find genuinely affecting.
McTiernan revels in the campy, referential quality of this Schwarzenegger-starring 90s action flick. It's possibly underrated. At the very least, it is an immersive spectacle; at another level, it is a fascinating treatise of the American Dream, and at the most hagiographic, it deftly employs meta-narrative tropes in order to enhance its conceptual clout.
a fun, sentimental half-parody in line with say the princess bride or time bandits. notable for how thoroughly it breaks the fourth wall, and funniest when it does. about 30 minutes too long. oh, & bonus points for the reminder at the end that no matter how bad our world is, ingmar bergman's is worse.
It was at the time an original way to reinvent the same old thing. The action pic looking at itself. Making fun of its clichés, realizing that the paradigm was at a standstill, in terms of creativity. Mass entertainment movies, 20 years ago, were far from reaching the download crisis, needing to reinvent themselves, with 3D and other gimmicks, to keep atracting fans to theatres. This is an interesting turning point.
For an action-movie lover like me a movie ahead of his time and better of all the "meta-cinema\grindhouse tribute\sproof" of the internet era. McTiernan does not forget that you can't make a movie simply shaking together all the elements of a genre led to excess, you still need a plot, a script and a director! The Hamlet sequence is awesome.