The main problem is, Arnold did this movie way too soon. After TERMINATOR 2 he was at the peak of his powers, and he winds up showing audiences how stupid those kind of movies are. The funny thing is, Arnold's most popular "Action" films are really Science-Fiction... Not just TERMINATOR 1 and 2 but TOTAL RECALL, THE RUNNING MAN and PREDATOR... plus the CONAN films which are sci-fi's sibling, Fantasy...
only two good things are the tall/lanky, totally scary-looking Tom Noonan as an ax-killer who should have been the ONLY MAIN villain instead of Charles
Dance making fun of Charles Dance..
And F. Murray Abraham as Jack's fictional cop partner turned backstabber
could have had more merit than two quick scenes, so the fact is,
the film-within-the-film is treated with no respect, and it's simply not
entertaining (like Arnold's following years' comeback, a real action movie, TRUE LIES): For instance, JACK SLATER IV opens with a five-minute scene between two very old men having a conversation (Tony
Quinn and Art Carney), which would bore the daylights out of
any kid watching on opening night. And, after all the nonsense, by the time the fictional characters do a TIME AFTER TIME meets THE PURPLE ROSE OF CAIRO and enter real life, the
audience is exhausted. A shame since THAT movie was far better than the
other. SCORE: **