VARIOUS ARTISTS (SOUNDTRACKS) — Last Action Hero

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VARIOUS ARTISTS (SOUNDTRACKS) - Last Action Hero cover
4.50 | 3 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1993

Tracklist

1. AC/DC - Big Gun (4:24)
2. Alice in Chains - What the Hell Have I (3:58)
3. Megadeth - Angry Again (3:47)
4. Queensrÿche - Real World (4:21)
5. Def Leppard - Two Steps Behind (4:19)
6. Anthrax - Poison My Eyes (7:04)
7. Aerosmith - Dream On (live) (5:42)
8. Alice in Chains – A Little Bitter (3:53)
9. Cypress Hill – Cock the Hammer (4:11)
10. Fishbone – Swim (4:13)
11. Tesla – Last Action Hero (5:44)
12. Michael Kamen and Buckethead – Jack and the Ripper (3:43)

Total Time 54:19

Line-up/Musicians

AC/DC:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/acdc
Alice In Chains:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/alice-in-chains
Megadeth:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/megadeth
Queensrÿche:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/queensryche
Def Leppard:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/def-leppard
Anthrax:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/anthrax
Aerosmith:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/aerosmith
Cypress Hill:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/cypress-hill
Fishbone:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/fishbone
Tesla:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/tesla
Buckethead:
http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/artist/buckethead

About this release

Soundtrack to the movie Last Action Hero, released by Columbia on June 8, 1993.

Thanks to Pekka for the addition and Vim Fuego, Unitron for the updates

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VARIOUS ARTISTS (SOUNDTRACKS) LAST ACTION HERO reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Vim Fuego
Beef and Grizz were drunk again.

And when these two got drunk, everyone else knew all about it.

They weren’t nasty or violent drunks, no, quite the opposite. Grizz’s naturally friendly personality was amplified by the booze, so he became everyone’s best mate. Beef was a quiet guy, until he got a few drinks in him. Then, he was LOUD.

So, here’s the scene: we’re at a movie multiplex lining up for tickets for a late showing of the brand new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie “Last Action Hero”. We’d been out for a few drinks at a nightclub. It wasn’t a particularly classy nightclub – after all, it let us in, a bunch of bogans and farm boys – which thankfully played as much rock music as it did dance. The idea was to have a few beers, catch the movie, and then do a few laps around town, get a feed of KFC, do a few more laps, and then head for home.

Unfortunately, Beef and Grizz overdid it. They were boozed up and excited, like kids the night before Christmas. They were almost bouncing off the walls. They were shaking hands with strangers, introducing themselves, and asking if they liked AC/DC too. Y’see, Beef and Grizz couldn’t give a fuck about big Arnie’s new action-packed blockbuster. Shit, they would have been there if it was a weepy tearjerker or a documentary about echidnas.

No, it wasn’t a movie star which had brought them here, but a song. Best friends since boyhood, Beef and Grizz were AC/DC superfans, and “Last Action Hero” featured “Big Gun”, the first new AC/DC song since 1990. That’s why they were excited. We managed to corral the boisterous denim-and-leather-clad toddlers into the theatre. The pair of them chanted “AC/DC, AC/DC, AC/DC!” through the previews. All the while, the relatively more sober members of the group were trying to shush them, made apologies to the Arnie fans sitting near us, and assured the grumpy usher that our slightly intoxicated friends wouldn’t disturb other patrons.

The lights dimmed. Beef and Grizz cheered, chanted “AC/DC!” one last time, and promptly fell asleep. Yep, the darkened theatre was too much for the boozed-filled bogan boys to resist. And luckily, they didn’t snore too loudly.

Last Action Hero is a noisy movie. There’s explosions, gunfire, and car chases. On top of that, it has a loud rocking soundtrack. When this movie was released in 1993, metal and rock was in somewhat of a flux. Grunge was the hot sound, and rock fans were discovering it was OK to widen their listening palettes. The last struggling remnants of the glam metal scene was hanging on by a fingernail, and only the Big Four were really surviving in the thrash world. AC/DC, of course, were immune to any vagaries of scene or taste. And that’s exactly what this soundtrack illustrates.

Let’s leave AC/DC for now. What else set the mood in this fabulously messy flop? Let’s look at the grunge first. Like Soundgarden, Alice in Chains was one of those bands with a foot squarely in both the metal and grunge camps. “What The Hell Have I?” has a killer metal riff, some Middle Eastern-ish flourishes, and downer grunge vocals. Not exactly happy music. AIC got two bites at the cherry here. Second track “A Little Bitter” has heavy effects on the vocals, which are still dreary, and the guitars are nowhere near as metal, but are still reasonably noisy, on and off. However, there’s an evil bassline snaking through the song.

Hailing from Seattle seemed to give Queensrÿche a special place in the musical consciousness at this time. While never really a hair metal band, they were seen to be related to that scene, but the double whammy of “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Empire” meant they were loved by both the 80s metal crowd not easily adjusting to the new trends and sounds and the slacker generation who usually seemed to like their music less sophisticated. “Real World” is an epic ballad, with heavy sounding orchestration from the late Michael Kamen.

Somehow, Tesla managed to score the title track here. And “Last Action Hero” shows why glam metal had to die. Lame gang vocal in the chorus? Check. Simplistic, unimaginative riffs? Check. Whiny vocalist? Check. Predictable, dull song structure? Check. Too much wanking from the lead guitarist? Bingo!

“Two Steps Behind” huh, Def Leppard? Two years behind, at least. This sort of sugary power ballad sold by the bucketload in the late 80s, but times changed. You guys started at the same time and in the same scene as Iron Maiden? Where did your fucking bollock go? Go and take a listen to Aerosmith. “Dream On” might have been 20 years old at this stage, but it rocks harder than you do. Steven Tyler still had a voice at that stage, and Joe Perry absolutely wails live.

“Angry Again” shows why Megadeth were still relevant while a lot of their thrash metal contemporaries were falling by the wayside. It takes the slowed-down, chugged-up style from the “Symphony For Destruction” album and applies it to a brand new killer of a riff, adds an ascending crescendo passage, throws in some tasty leads, and tops it off with Dave Mustaine’s snarling vocals. Yeah, Megadeth were still doing OK because they were still making fucking metal.

Anthrax weren’t doing quite so well. Their most recent album “Sound of White Noise” had confused people a bit. Some were upset at the change in vocalist, while others didn’t like the slight shift in musical direction. In the background, record labels were being fucking dicks. Despite all this, Anthrax spat out this fucking killer of a track. It’s tight, angry, and brutal. John Bush was really gelling with the band, and gives a confident performance here. This is easily the second best song on the soundtrack after “Big Gun”.

Fishbone was one of those funky metal conglomerates that was a bit hard to classify. Long time metal fans were a bit confused by them, but the new wave of rock and metal listeners weren’t too terribly bothered, just enjoying a good tune when they heard one. “Swim” is a big chunky freak out with psycho vocals flying in all sorts of directions, while the main riff just destroys all in it’s path.

It used to be quite common to hear metal fans say “I hate all rap except…” There were a number of bands which possibly came after that “except”. It could be Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy, NWA, or these guys, Cypress Hill. There’s not really much in “Cock The Hammer” for a metal fan to feed off, but if you like your hip-hop slightly THC-flavoured, love a squirming bassline and don’t mind the vocals, this is a rocking tune.

Buckethead has always been something of a musical chameleon. The instrumental “Jack And The Ripper”, credited here with classical composer and conductor Michael Kamen. It’s a movie soundtrack, but it’s orchestrated with guitars instead of the more traditional instruments. There’s all kinds of six string wizardry in here.

And finally, the big one, “Big Gun”. Anyone who has seen “Last Action Hero” knows that the song finally plays in full at the closing credits. It’s near on the perfect AC/DC song. It has a driving beat (apparently the final song recorded with larger-than-life drummer Chris Slade), a great main riff, Angus’ leads absolutely rip, and the lyrics are clever, full of double- and triple-entendres. If you have never seen the music video, do yourself a favour and check it out – see Arnie dressed as Angus! And of course, the opening riff woke up our sleeping beauties. There was a “yay, AC/DC!” some fists in the air, and a bit of gratuitous headbanging. Never mind that the boys had missed almost the entire movie. They got their AC/DC fix!

There’s a bittersweet end to the tale of Beef and Grizz. A couple of years later, AC/DC finally came to town. We all got tickets, which were all general admission. I watched the whole magnificent, ridiculous spectacle from the relative comfort of a grandstand, along with my family. Not Beef and Grizz. They lined up hours before gates opened at the stadium, and rushed the stage. They found themselves a spot at the barrier in front of the stage, and wrapped their arms through it. This was still three or four hours before even the support act Shihad was due to play. And they stayed there. Other friends helped them out with things like food and drink, and a convenient bottle to piss in. They took a hell of a beating too. Later arrivals tried physically to move them from the spot, but they held firm. Grizz wasn’t exactly the most physically imposing guy you’d ever meet. Beef however, was a bit bigger (why do you think we called him Beef?) and most people chose not to mess with him, but they were up against skinheads and gang members. Despite being punched and continually crushed against the barrier, the pair gutsed it our for what was as close as they ever came to a religious experience.

The concert was in November. Beef (real name Craig) was killed in a farm accident in February.

He was laid to rest in his tight black jeans, leather jacket, and AC/DC t-shirt. At his funeral, his car was parked outside the church. As his coffin was carried out, the massive sound system in his car (it doubled the value of his old Holden Torana) blasted out a final song as farewell.

“Big Gun” by AC/DC.

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