Jack Slater is an action-film hero played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. An old projectionist (Robert Prosky) hands a magic movie ticket to Jack's biggest preteen fan (Austin O'Brien), and the kid steps right inside the latest Jack Slater film, becoming the actor star's sidekick in gunfights and car chases. But when Jack's nemesis (Charles Dance) gets his hands on the ticket, the fight busts out into the real world and Jack (à la Toy Story
's Buzz Lightyear) refuses to believe he's a fictional character. Director John McTiernan churns some nifty scenes out of this setup, although the fiction-to-reality shuffle is not as deft as in, say, Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo
, and the plot needs the kind of logic and discipline found in that classic when-worlds-collide film Back to the Future
. Still, Schwarzenegger has moments of wit and smashing action, and we get a faux-movie trailer advertising an intriguing new shoot-'em-up: "Something's rotten in the State of Denmark--and Hamlet is taking out the trash!"