Monday, August 19, 2013

Action Jackson

1988's attempt to turn Carl Weathers into an action star leading man fizzled with both audiences and critics making less money than Funny Farm, Short Circuit 2, or Ernest Saves Christmas. The premise of the film was to cast Weathers as the toughest cop in town (who we know is tough because various supporting members of the cast keep telling us that Jackson is such a bad ass).

The storyline involved Detroit Detective "Action" Jackson taking a second run at a powerful local businessman (Craig T. Nelson) Jackson knew, but was unable to tie, to the deaths of several union members who worked for the man's company. When Dellaplane's wife (Sharon Stone) comes forward to offer Jackson the proof he needs to take the man down, the auto magnate frames the cop for her murder forcing Jackson to rely on the help of Dellaplane's heroin-addicted mistress (Vanity) and a hairdresser (Armelia McQueen), to prove his innocence and set things right.

Very reminiscent of several other 80s action flicks, the movie ends in a big shoot out in Dellaplane's mansion (reminiscent of Beverly Hills Cop). Action Jackson hasn't aged all that well and you can see why it found trouble finding an audience 25 years ago. Four years before Basic Instinct, Hollywood was still having trouble find the right parts for Stone who would have been better served in Vanity's role. Nelson is a questionable choice for a villain, especially given the awkward action sequences required of him in the film's final act.

Like the film's earlier DVD release the new Blu-ray includes nothing in the way of extra features. Produced by Joel Silver (who put out a shit ton of these types of movies over the years) and written by Robert Reneau (whose only other credit of note is Demolition Man), Action Jackson can't really be called a good movie by any objective standard, but it does provide plenty of dumb fun, high-speed chases, shoot-outs, and just a touch of nudity that you'd expect from something from this era. Although action movie aficionados and fans of Weathers or Stone may find the movie a guilty nostalgic pleasure, it's not really a film I'd recommend to most.

[Warner Home Video, $19.98]

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