Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Film Review: ACTION JACKSON (1988, Craig R. Baxley)

Stars: 4 of 5.
Running Time: 96 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Carl Weathers, Sharon Stone, Vanity, Craig T. Nelson, Robert Davi (SHARKY'S MACHINE, THE GOONIES), Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from BACK TO THE FUTURE), Sonny Landham.
Tag-line: "NAME: Jericho Jackson. NICKNAME: "Action." HOME: Detroit. PROFESSION: Cop. EDUCATION: Harvard Law. HOBBY: Fighting Crime. WEAPON: You're looking at 'em."

Best exchange: Craig T. Nelson: "You have this nickname - what is it, excitement, enthusiasm, esprit de corps...?
Carl Weathers as ACTION JACKSON: [cutting him off] -It's ACTION!

Though COACH is merely being facetious, I feel as if ESPRIT DE CORPS JACKSON would have been a film well worth seeing.

"How ya like your ribs?" FOOOOOOOOOOSSSSH. Carl Weathers just roasted a dude with a flamethrower. Watching this film is kind of like peering into an alternate dimension where Carl Weathers, not Schwarzenegger, Stallone, nor Gibson, was king of the 80's action flick.

Weathers is a benevolent monarch in this dimension, and ACTION JACKSON is just one work in his enviable oeuvre. Unfortunately, in our dimension, after ACTION JACKSON, Weathers was no longer seen as a qualified driver of star vehicles. In my mind, however, Weathers justifies his legend yet again. Weathers IS Action Jackson. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School who frequently disregards the limits of acceptable use of police force. Like this one time he jumped over a taxi that was trying to kill him. And this other time he proved his mettle in a fight the DVD chapter stops called: "Getting Ballsy in the Poolroom." Once he drove a sports car through a black-tie affair, wrecked it, and then started whaling on dudes- just to make an entrance. Craig T. Nelson is evil incarnate. At one point, you get to see him kung fu fighting Weathers as they both don tuxedos.

Vanity finally gets to show off her years of vigorous training under Stanislavski and Prince. Sharon Stone's around, too, but she's playing second fiddle to Vanity, which I think marked the last time anyone or anything was playing second fiddle to Vanity. All in all, a solid flick. I mean it's no TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. or LETHAL WEAPON, or even a KUFFS, or even a RED HEAT or a DEAD HEAT. Actually, I'm kind of puzzled as to why I gave this four stars. Oh, yeah. Carl Weathers. "How ya like your ribs?" FOOOOOOOOOOSSSSH.

Important side note: note the eerie similarities in cover art between ACTION JACKSON and BLIND DATE.

-Sean Gill

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