Action Jackson (1988): Breakdown by Rantbo
Big chocolate cop tolerates druggie slut, kills some glam-metal ninjas with fire and fights Craig T. Nelson.
When making a film with the basic “Super-Cop-Kills-Bad-Guy” scenario, the devil becomes all about the details, as this movie has been made at least a dozen times a year since 1971. So, the question is: What is it that makes ACTION JACKSON stand out?
For starters, Carl Weathers is the SuperCop in question, and his name is Jericho ‘Action’ Jackson. I could stop there. But I won’t. Weathers’s impressive physic and in-your-face attitude oozes charisma and as such, he almost single-handedly kept the African American male kicking ass in the 1980’s (Steve James, with the assist). And it’s a good thing too, as most of the soul brother greats from the 70s (Richard Roundtree, Fred Williamson, Isaac Hayes and Yaphet Kotto) had all but disappeared into obscurity. In fact, allow me to just go on record in saying that I think it’s a fucking shame that Carl Weathers isn’t in more every movies.
Next, you got Craig T. Nelson as Peter Dellaplane, an evil automotive tycoon and Action’s nemesis. Hell bent on framing Jackson in a union boss assassination for the past insult of pulling his criminal son’s arm out of its socket after he was caught molesting some girl. On top of that, Coach is a martial arts expert, married to Sharon Stone and fucking Female Prince (Vanity) on the side—who he has addicted to heroin, to make a better sex slave. Not to mention, he employs a team of burly ninjitsu hitmen and Al Leong as his bodyguard.
I ask you, does a villain get much better than that?
So, as you can imagine, the story is fucking ridiculous. The characters are all eccentric and unbelievable and the action is completely nonsensical; making this simply one of the funnest action movies ever made. No joke. As a teenager I would come across this movie in cheap-o DVD discount bins and I would laugh at the fact it exists. Meanwhile I was renting shit like Rob Schneider’s THE ANIMAL and thinking it was actually funny. I was a stupid, stupid, young man. Lucky for me, I got wiser and years later I gave this flick a shot. And it blew my balls out my asshole.
In short, ACTION JACKSON is PURE 1980’s action gold. And I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t had the joyful experience of witnessing it first hand by talking about it too much. They really swung for the fences with an 80s blaxploitation action flick and surprisingly, hit it out of the park (as far as making a fun movie, ‘cuz money wise, this had to have tanked). Though it isn’t a perfect action film; (the plot is unnecessarily convoluted, Vanity has way too much screen time, the music sucks ass), the film is still a blast to watch and I highly recommend it to anyone who calls themselves an Action Fan.
One final thing I feel I have to mention is the supporting cast. It’s the ultimate 80s B-Action Movie line up of day-players. Check it out. Note: Some/most of the names you probably won’t recognize, but all you need to do is check out their pages on IMDb or give them a Google Image search and you will have instant, “Oh, it’s that one guy!” syndrome.
Mary Ellen Trainor as A Secretary
Thomas F. Wilson as Officer Kornblau
Bill Duke as Capt. Earl Armbruster
Sharon Stone as Patrice Dellaplane
Al Leong as Dellaplane’s Bodyguard
De’voreaux White as Clovis
Robert Davi as Tony Moretti
James Lew as Martial Arts Instructor
Chino ‘Fats’ Williams as Kid Sable
Charles Meshack as Poolroom Bartender
Miguel A. Núñez Jr.as Poolroom Thug #1
Branscombe Richmond as Poolroom Thug #2
Sonny Landham as Mr. Quick
[HOW BAD-ASS IS THE MAIN CHARACTER?]
NAME: Jericho Jackson (Carl ‘Stormy’ Weathers)
EDUCATION: Harvard Law
HOBBY: Fighting Crime
WEAPON: You’re looking at ’em
DRIVES: A ‘66 Chevy Impala Convertible
CLAIM TO FAME: Nearly tore a kid’s arm off. “So–he had a spare.”
SUPER POWERS: Able to run 30+ miles an hour. Able to punch through a windshield bare handed, shattering it in one blow. Able to jump over a speeding car Kobe style, but with an added feature: a front flip. Able to jump out of a 5 story building and land on a car without so much as a bruise.
“Some say he didn’t even have a mother. That some researchers at NASA created him to be the first man to walk on the moon without a space suit. Others say his mother was molested by Big Foot and Jackson is their mutant offspring.”
“They bring in Jackson when they want to re-educate some young neer-do-well.”
“I remember one kid got re-educated so bad, his testicles climbed back up into his belly—wouldn’t come out.”
“They called it a medical miracle.”
“Another kid—hand-cuffed to a chair—gnawed his own hand off like a trapped skunk or wolverine, or something.”
“Jackson is so vicious, we don’t even let him have a gun.”
“Yeah, sometimes he gets so riled up, you gotta use one of those WILD KINGDOM tranquillizer darts, and that’s just to keep him in his chair.”
[THE BODY COUNT: 18]
Action himself only gets 6, and when added to the others, this is not a very large count for a late 80s cop movie. But for what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. Almost every kill is a novelty death and at least 5 of them feature the victim on fire. That’s pretty awesome. Others include Sonny Landham being thrown out a five story window, but instead of falling all five, he crashes into an adjacent building’s window. That was cool. Another one has an Uncle-Tom traitor get electrocuted, fall out of a tree and get impaled on a metal gate post. Another good one. And then there is the coup de grace, which you can read about in the next section. This film’s kill count is like Natalie Portman, short but incredibly satisfying—and fun to masturbate to.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
Corporate Guy And Poor Bastard, Frank Stringer
He’s beaten, stabbed through the hand, grenade launched though a 10th floor sheet glass window (which sets him on fire), falls the 10 stories into ANOTHER sheet of glass (he’s still kicking at this point) and THEN finally hits ground level in the middle of a high-price restaurant. Did I mention that this happens within the first 4 minutes of the movie?
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
“Fine lookin’ woman like me, and you don’t even touch me all night? You either gotta be queer or a cop.”
For starters, his nickname is Action. Next, in the obligatory scene when our hero is captured (the first time) and surrounded by sweaty pool hall thugs, the following conversation takes place:
Poolroom Thug Number 1: Damn! You a BIG John! [Starts excessively patting Action down] You think I’m gitchy or sumthin’, huh? Don’t bogart me light-foot, there ain’t nothin’ we like better than to take a Tom-slick like you and have a little blanket party.
Action [out of breath for some reason (turned-on), he retorts]: You know something? I don’t understand what you’re saying.
Poolroom Thug Number 1: You’re dissin’ me! DON’T DISS ME! I’ma break it down to ya. See, you be a Charlie Irvine, and we gonna tap-dance on yo lips. And den we gonna deprive you of yo—Frick and Frack.
Translated, I believe the last sentence is slang for, “We’re going to circle-jerk on your face and then cut your balls off for keepsakes.” As another thug puts it, “It’s Hot-Dog Time!”. Indeed.
Later, Action breaks up a heroin deal and fights Sonny Landham. They exchange the following:
Landham: Your Ass is Mine!
Action [excited]: You know, that’s exactly what I was gonna say!
Oh, and then there’s this…
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Mark ’em off….
– Mary Ellen Trainor gets kicked through a sheet of glass and dies.
– Vanity fucks Coach for promises of fame, fortune and drugs. Also shows tits and gets punched.
– Sharon Stone clearly fucks Coach for his money and power, shows tits/ass and cries (per usual). Plus, she is killed and adding insult to death, her corpse is stripped naked for a second (though, less satisfying) titty shot.
And that’s the three women of this picture. Two die horrible deaths and the third is a junkie bitch who can’t sing. You’ve come a long, long, way, baby.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
Cookout This Weekend, Shirts Optional
Action is chained and shirtless. One of Coach’s ninjas ignites an industrial blow-torch after saying that he and the boys are going to make barbecue outta Action’s sweat-marinated pecks. Jackson breaks free (of course) and a few minutes later, when the tables are turned, and with a grenade-launcher in hand, Action turns it on the poor bastard who dared to taunt him and delivers the following…
“Barbecue, huh? How do you like your ribs?” ~BLAMMO!~
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
When the brothers unite, even Craig T. Nelson’s martial arts skills don’t hold a fart’s chance out of a flaming corpse’s ass of suppressing their glorious Nubian might. Oh, and black men don’t kill white women. White men kill white women and blame it on black men. But we knew that already.
[THE CHECKLIST: 16 outta 25]
[X] Athlete(s) Turned “Actor” [Carl Weathers]
[X] Clinging To The Outside Of A Moving Vehicle
[X] Crotch Attack
[X] Dialogue Telling Us How Bad-Ass The Main Character(s) Is/Are
[ ] Ending Featuring An Ambulance, A Blanket or A Towel
[X] Giant Explosion(s)
[X] Heavy Artillery
[X] Improvised Weapon(s)
[X] Macho Mode(s) Of Transportation
[ ] Main Character Sports Facial Accessory(s)
[ ] Manly Embrace(s)
[X] Notorious Stunt-Man Sighting [Al Leong]
[ ] Passage(s) Of Time Via Montage
[ ] Politically Fueled Plot Point(s)
[X] Senseless Destruction Of Property
[ ] Shoot Out(s) and/or Sword Fight(s)
[ ] Slow-Motion Finishing Move(s)/Death(s)
[X] Stupid Authoritative Figure(s)
[X] Substance Usage and/or Abuse
[ ] Tis The Season
[X] Torture Sequence(s)*
[ ] Unnecessary Sequel
[X] Vehicle Chase(s)
[X] Vigilante Justice
*At least the beginning of one.
hot, Hotter, HOTTEST!
Action Jackson (1988) © Lorimar Film Entertainment and Warner Home Video