1993's "Last Action Hero" was our current California governor's (Au-nold!) big-budget, box-office dud about an big-screen action star introduced to the "real world" when a young boy who idolizes him uses a magic ticket as an entry point into his latest film. The soundtrack was a tribute album of sorts to late-80's hair metal as hard rock was continuing is transition into the alternative era. Alice In Chains' dual appearance (the outstanding "What The Hell Have I" and the equally good "A Little Bitter"), Fishbone (the stripped-down riff rocker "Swim"), and even Cypress Hill's track ("Cock The Hammer") lended creedence to music's new rock craze ushered in by Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and AIC themselves.
The remaining bands on here are all straight out of the late-80's, big-hair, hard rock/metal scene and a few shine on their best moments, like Megadeth ("Angry Again"), Queensryche (who blend their sound with Micheal Kamen's orchestra on "Real World", although an argument could be made they were actually a 90's act), Anthrax (their seven-minute hard rock epic "Poison My Eyes"), and Def Leppard (their wonderful acoustic-guitar ballad "Two Steps Behind"). All of these are great tracks that make this soundtrack worth keeping even if the movie (which was good for my liking; my big compliant was it's a bit too long) was a drag at best for most.
I recently did a list of my personal picks for the Top 20 Soundtracks Of The 90's and I gave this one an "Honorable Mention". Why? Tesla's overbearing, echoing title track and Aerosmith's live version of "Dream On" (which was from MTV's 10th Anniversary special), while good, ultimately blew its chance to rank among my Top 20. Nonetheless, the blend of 80's metal and 90's alternative made for such a consistently solid effort, it deserves to be look upon as a potential period piece.
The rock acts that defined the 80's put forth their best efforts and the new faces of the 90's provided a taste of what was to come. Overall, the soundtrack to "Last Action Hero" was an fitting and bittersweet farewell to what has now become our time's most reflected decade and continued alternative rock's growth into its expanded new sound. - DEM -
Key Tracks: "What The Hell Have I", "Angry Again", "Two Steps Behind", "A Little Bitter", "Real World", "Poison My Eyes".