Friday, 3 March 2017

Retro Review: Action Jackson (1988)

Action Jackson
Cast: Carl Weathers, Vanity, Craig T. Nelson, Sharon Stone, Thomas F. Wilson 
Genre: Action
U.S Box Office Gross: $20 million

Plot: Vengeance drives a tough Detroit cop to stay on the trail of a power hungry auto magnate, who's systematically eliminating his competition 

'Not So Action, Jackson'

Former pro (American) football player, Carl Weathers will always be well known as Rocky Balboa's opponent, friend and trainer in Rocky IV- yet with the right movies, he could've joined the ranks of Arnie, Sly Stallone as huge musclebound action hero actors. & in Action Jackson, this could've and should've been the platform in which to make that feasible. 

Set in Detroit, the home of Robocop and Beverly Hill Cop's finest, Axel Foley and produced by Joel Silver (Lethal Weapon), Action Jackson plays out almost like Lethal Weapon meets Beverly Hills Cop with Carl Weathers, who already made his claim to fame in Rocky IV as Apollo Creed and 1987's Predator, for once, he is the headlining star in this big-budget action movie, thanks in part to producer, Joel Silver. Weathers is the title character, namely Jericho Action Jackson, a cop who is in pursuit of megalomaniac, Peter Dellapane, who is not only married to his wife played by a pre- Basic Instinct Sharon Stone, but who is also seeing Sydney on the side. 

Carl Weathers is a rather imposing figure himself and a force to be reckoned with in this film: he has a good build, is in great physical shape and has charm too. 

Back to the Future's Biff aka Thomas F. Wilson plays a bumbling cop, whilst forgotten R&B singer, Vanity is Sydney and her performance alone is the most forgettable and unconvincing out of the main cast. Her character when she is around Jackson is whiny and whenever she is on screen, she just drags this film down & doesn't manage to hold her own. Overall, the characterization is almost non-existent and we don't really get to know more about the characters, especially the main protagonist. 

A Carl Weathers vehicle, Action Jackson didn't set the action movie world alight when it came out almost 30 years ago and like with most of Joel Silver's efforts, Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Commando, 48 Hrs, The Last Boy Scout, it contains a couple of action scenes & stunts and is a film where you do not need to do a lot of thinking, but you watch it for the action and fights alone. Action Jackson is essentially a typical 80s action B-movie that is on par with a Saturday morning cartoon and shouldn't be taken seriously. 

It does have a sense of humour to it that is akin to Lethal Weapon and not so much like with 48 Hrs and yet on paper as an action film, it pretty much fulfills almost of the credentials, and yet for a film that has action in the title, it doesn't have more of it in abundance. The last 10 mins were better than the vast majority of this film. 

Some writer for the Atlanta Journal even labelled Action Jackson ''this year's Lethal Weapon'' in 1988which is far-fetched, as it doesn't come close. 

Final Verdict:

It's entertaining in places and it isn't too bad, but for an action movie there just wasn't enough action in it; it kept telling me how bad-ass Action Jackson is, which he is, but it should have spent a little more time on the action and of showing how packed this film is of it. There is more dialogue and of characters talking to each other, more so than for the action sequences, stunts, fights and shoot-outs. 

Action Jackson felt more like action-less Jackson with a paint-by-numbers formula. 

Joel Silver has cranked out so many memorable hits, but with this effort, I can understand why it didn't lead to a sequel.


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