From the Stereo to Your Screen: AC/DC and Last Action Hero

last action hero

“Big Gun” by AC/DC from Last Action Hero

Last Action Hero has received the occasional “why it’s actually good” revisit over the last few years – most notably in a 2013 AV Club piece – and honestly, the film does have its moments. One could argue that it heralded the eventual transformation of Arnold Schwarzenegger from top action star to less-than to political figure, given that the movie was supposed to be huge, and ended up losing something like $26 million.

Hell, Last Action Hero bombed so hard, people were baffled at how good and successful the following year’s True Lies ended up being. That, however, was basically a last gasp, and with the exception of Schwarzenegger’s appearances in the Expendables films, his ability to make a film make bank with his name above the title essentially ended with Last Action Hero.

Watching the video, one can easily start to parse out why. Whereas the video for the prior year’s “You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses saw Arnold being a cold, calculating badass, this one is precisely the opposite. At the beginning, it looks like a repeat: film footage, Schwarzenegger joining in the concert, staring down the band members. Potential for badassness of the highest order, with further hard rock styling from Australia’s finest, right?

big gun arnold

Wrong. So fucking wrong. The only thing less rock ‘n’ roll than Arnold Schwarzenegger in Angus Young’s schoolboy uniform, doing a Chuck Berry duck walk is Celine Dion’s air guitar to “You Shook Me All Night Long.” For real.

celine dion air guitar

Now, granted, Arnold looks like he’s having the time of his life up there on stage, and this is also probably the last good AC/DC single, so the actor and band were kind of having one last hurrah, here. I mean, yes, AC/DC would have a brief return to the charts at the beginning of the millennium with the title track to Stiff Upper Lip, but much like Arnold and the Expendables, the band exists mainly on the strength of their earlier work, rather than what they’ve done lately.

And, finally, it just seems like while the budget for this video’s pretty equivalent to what AC/DC would drop for a new stage tour, what’s the point of creating a gigantic cannon for a song called “Big Gun” and not blasting enough confetti out of it to blanket the equivalent of Shea Stadium? It’s such wasted potential.

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek

Nick Spacek writes about films scores in his monthly OST column for Starburst Magazine (http://www.starburstmagazine.com), and can be found talking about movie soundtracks via the From & Inspired By podcast (http:///www.fromandinspiredby.com). He was once a punk, but realized you can't be hardcore and use the word "adorable" as often as he does.
Nick Spacek
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