Out on 13 June 2024

The Last Action Heroes

Nick de Semlyen

13 June 2024
368 pages


'A blast' - Ian Rankin
'A lively celebration of 1980s action stars' - The Times

From the editor of Empire magazine, this is the behind-the-scenes story of the golden age of the action movie, the stars who ruled 80s and 90s Hollywood and the beloved films – from Die Hard to The Terminator – that made them famous.

Charting Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s carnage-packed journey from enmity to friendship against the backdrop of Reagan’s America and the Cold War. It also reveals the untold stories of the colourful characters, from Steven Seagal to Bruce Willis, who ascended in their wake. These invincible action heroes used muscle, martial arts or the perfect weapon to save the day, becoming pop-culture titans.

Drawing on candid interviews with the action stars themselves, plus their collaborators, friends and foes, The Last Action Heroes chronicles how, as the 1990s rolled in, the glory days of these macho men began to fade, but how the mayhem they wrought on screen and off excites us still.

A book as big and brash as the stars who are its focus. I had a blast reading it - no CGI required.
A lively celebration of 1980s action stars: Sly, Arnie and ‘the muscles from Brussels’.
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