Over the course of his career, Arnold Schwarzenegger has proven himself as one of the most consistently reliable action stars on the planet. That said, his resume is not without its share of missteps. In fact, 1993's Last Action Hero has become widely known as one of his most high-profile disappointments in the years since it first debuted. Reflecting on the film while promoting the release of his new project, Killing Gunther, Schwarzenegger addressed the release of Last Action Hero and explained how the changing socio-political climate introduced by the election of Bill Clinton may have had a hand in the film's poor reception. The Terminator star said:
Don't forget that the year that movie came out it was the year to beat on Arnold. It was one of those things where President Clinton was elected and the press somehow made the whole thing kind of political where they thought, 'Okay, the '80s action guys are gone here's a perfect example,' and they wrote this narrative before anyone saw the movie.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's comments to Business Insider give a new meaning to the old phrase "It's all politics," don't they? The idea here seems to be the fact that the election of a Democrat in the form of Bill Clinton (in turn, the end of the conservative Reagan/Bush era) ushered out the quintessentially 1980s decade of musclebound Republican action heroes like Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris and Sylvester Stallone. Instead, the 1990s action genre saw the introduction of newer action heroes played by more traditional actors like the eternally badass Keanu Reeves, and (somehow) Nicolas Cage -- with a couple of holdovers like Harrison Ford and Kurt Russell thrown in for good measure. Viewed through that lens, the former Mr. Olympia thinks that Last Action Hero -- a film in which he plays Jack Slater, the embodiment of a macho action hero -- was set up to fail because of changing paradigms and early negative press about the film.
Ironically enough, if Arnold Schwarzenegger's assessment of the overall reaction to Last Action Hero is valid, then it seems that many of the people who initially dismissed the film weren't in on the joke. Although the traditional action movies of the 1980s were not as in-style the following decade, Last Action Hero stands apart from other Schwarzenegger shoot-em-ups because it's actually a parody of his former self. The character of Jack Slater is not meant to be taken seriously, and in that regard, he arguably should've fit in with the 1990s style of a film more than many of Arnold's other roles.
The film has developed a cult following since its initial release as people have learned to understand the nuances, so there IS a case to be made for what he's talking about here. After all, were we really supposed to take Jack Slater's version of Hamlet seriously?
As for his more recent projects, you can currently catch Arnold Schwarzenegger in Killing Gunther, which is out now on streaming, as well as in theaters. For more information on all of the films gearing up to debut in theaters over the course of the next year, make sure to take a look at CinemaBlend's 2017 movie premiere guide and our 2018 movie premiere guide.