June 8, 2018 | by James Greene, Jr.
"The Big Ticket for '93" is how ads described Last Action Hero, the film that wound up stalling Arnold Schwarzenegger's career as a cigar-chewing tough guy with its uneven tone and underwhelming payoffs. Per the latter: Last Action Hero's alternate universe squanders a great joke about Sylvester Stallone starring in the Terminator franchise by not actually hiring Stallone to appear in the famous Terminator garb — all we get is a glimpse at a doctored cardboard cut out. At least we'll always have the soundtrack, released on this date 25 years ago, a smattering of late '80s/early '90s hard rock and heavy metal acts offering up gem after spine-rattling gem.
Few post-Rust in Peace Megadeth songs are better than "Angry Again." Alice in Chains present two selections, "What the Hell Have I?" and "A Little Bitter," both considered to be classics. Cleansing the palette late in the game is hip-hop trio Cypress Hill; "Cock the Hammer" is an atmospheric piece that's almost haunting in its simmering tension. Even mid-period Aerosmith seems in place on the LAH OST, running through a live rendition of their early hit "Dream On."
The Last Action Hero soundtrack kicks off with the typically fist-clenching AC/DC cut "Big Gun," which contains one of the greatest dumb rock lyrics of all time: "There's a bad man cruisin' around in a big black limousine!" Surely we all remember the music video for "Big Gun" in which Arnold's Last Action Hero character Jack Slater visits an AC/DC concert and winds up onstage, in guitarist Angus Young's clothes, and starts "rocking out." It is clear in a beautiful way that Schwarzenegger had most likely never picked up a guitar prior to this video shoot.
The "Big Gun" clip is not the first to feature Arnold showing up at the performing artists' concert. The video for "You Could Be Mine" by Guns N' Roses, from the Terminator 2 soundtrack, is crashed by the original Terminator himself. The cybernetic organism somehow avoids a jam session with Axl and Slash, however. Maybe he was only programmed to play the xylophone.
Please take a moment today to reflect upon and consider philosophically the Last Action Hero soundtrack, what it meant to our world, what it still means, and maybe engage in a lively debate with a friend regarding the John Bush era of Anthrax. As Jack Slater would say, "Now that's what I call action."