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The Last Action Heroes


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The behind-the-scenes story of the larger-than-life action stars who ruled 80s and 90s Hollywood, from Schwarzenegger and Stallone to Jackie Chan and Jean-Claude Van Damme.

About the Author

Nick de Semlyen is the editor of Empire, the world's biggest movie magazine, and the author of Wild and Crazy Guys. As a film journalist, he has also written for Rolling Stone, Stuff, and Time Out. He lives in London.


A book as big and brash as the stars who are its focus. I had a blast reading it - no CGI required.
*Ian Rankin*

A lively celebration of 1980s action stars: Sly, Arnie and ‘the muscles from Brussels'.
*The Times*

If it's bulging biceps, titanic tantrums, sculpted shoulders and Herculean drug habits you're after, then Nick de Semlyen is the author for you. His book The Last Action Heroes is not bad either, a hugely entertaining romp through 80s and 90s action cinema, every page riddled with a zillion bullet holes.
*Edgar Wright*

This book takes you so close to the action, you can smell the sweat, cigar smoke, and bad cologne that brought these movies to life. Along the way, Nick de Semlyen reveals tales of stunts gone wrong, conversations between Stallone and Reagan, the origin of Jean Claude Van Damme’s buns, and all of the stories from set that people were too afraid to tell—until now.
*Paul Scheer*

The action stars of the ‘80s and ‘90s weren’t out to make history at the outset of their careers, but that’s what they did all the same. Nick De Semlyen chronicles the rise and fall (and sometimes rise-again) of the world’s most popular action heroes in this juicy, highly entertaining, and informative book.
*Leonard Maltin*

A rollicking, anecdote-packed tribute to the cavalier days.
*Literary Review*

In his riveting chronicle of the ass-kicking, neck-snapping, biceps-rippling action heroes of the ‘80s and ‘90s, Nick de Semlyen not only paints the story of the movies and stars of the Reagan era, he shines a light on what they meant—and still mean—to us. A juicy, fun as hell read.
*Chris Nashawaty, author of Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story*

A testosterone-fueled ode to action movies . . . packs a punch.
*Publishers Weekly*

Nick de Semlyen’s love letter to the action cinema of the ’80s and ‘90s reads like those films play: fast-paced, wryly funny, and unapologetically entertaining. His research is meticulous and his analysis is impeccable, but he also keenly understands why these movies hit like they did: because they were fun. And, unfailingly, so is The Last Action Heroes.
*Jason Bailey, author of Fun City Cinema: New York City and the Movies That Made It*

In his revelatory history of the Golden Age of action cinema, Nick de Semlyen vividly renders the story of the larger-than-life legends who defined and shaped an era. Equally insightful and entertaining, this book is an absolute blast to read, as thrilling as the genre itself.
*Priscilla Page*

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