Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Action Jackson



ACTION JACKSON (1988)

Directed by: Craig R. Baxley
Written by: Robert Reneau
Starring: Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, Vanity & Sharon Stone

NAME: Jericho Jackson
NICKNAME: ‘Action’
HOME: Detroit
PROFESSION: Cop
EDUCATION: Harvard Law
HOBBY: Fighting Crime

WEAPON: You’re looking at ‘em


(taken from the back of the Action Jackson video box: awesome!)

Action Jackson is typical high concept, high gloss fluff from Joel Silver that he produced during the 1980s. Slick, vapid, excessively violent and with shit blowing up here, there and everywhere, Action Jackson is geared around Carl Weathers, his muscles, his one liners and, well, lots of shit blowing up. It’s also a hoot. As one can gather from the title Jericho ‘Action’ Jackson (Weathers) is a rough, tough (though surprisingly well kept) Detroit cop who plays by his own rules. Determined to take down car magnet and all round scuzz bucket Dellaplane (Nelson) Jackson sets off on a course of destruction through Detroit, finding time to bed Vanity and even out-run and leap over a taxi cab. It’s time for ‘Action.

Capitalizing on Weathers popularity after the Rocky films and starring in Predator, this was probably his biggest vehicle giving him the starring role. He’s great fun as Jackson delivering a little more emotion than most action heroes. It’s all big budget 1980s nonsense but all delivered in a slick, tight package from ace stunt guy Craig R. Baxley (Stone Cold). The action is often thick and fast if never sustained featuring lots of broken class, squibs shattering doors and walls and, as mentioned, some quality Joel Silver funded explosions. Perhaps the best bit, is actually the opening 5 minutes where an unfortunate couple (that women who keeps popping up in the Lethal Weapon movies and the main bad dude from Red Heat) are beaten and blown away in alarming fashion as a squad of Dellaplane’s goons raid their high rise office. Glass is shattered full force, desks obliterated by hand guns all before the dude is thrown out the window while on fire. Barnstorming stuff all done in that non-politically correct, ultra violent, 1980s action cinema way.



On top of all the action and the quick fire one liners, the film is populated with a whose who of up and coming 1980/90s stars and action cinema stalwarts. Aside from Nelson, on deliciously evil form as Dellaplane, there’s Sharon Stone making an early big budget appearance, Back to the Future’s Thomas F. Wilson, Robert Davi (Die Hard) pops up at some point, Al Leong (also from Die Hard) is on main henchman duty and half the cast of Predator are reunited: along with Weathers, Bill Duke and Sonny Ladham also appear in supporting roles all of them previously appearing in the Schwarzenegger classic.

While not the best of the big 80s action flicks, Action Jackson is nevertheless one of Weathers’ better vehicles, a whole lot of fun and certainly supplies enough crash, bang and wallop for any action movie fan.

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