Saturday, August 17, 2019

Action Jackson

Finally, a movie where Craig T. Nelson has a karate fight with Apollo Creed. I’m still sad we didn’t get, like, nine Action Jackson movies. Carl Weathers (ROCKY) plays Jackson like Fred Williamson Meets Apollo Creed and definitely worthy of the nickname “Action.” Somehow, ACTION JACKSON was not a hit, and Weathers ended up in television.

So, yeah, Jericho Jackson. Track star. Harvard Law grad. The Detroit Police Department busted him back down to sergeant after he tore off a pervert’s arm. Evil auto manufacturer Peter Dellaplane, portrayed deliciously by a bleached-blond Nelson (COACH), hates Jackson, because his son was the pervert.

Dellaplane wants to be the puppetmaster of the next U.S. President, so he engineers the murders of big-time union officials. Sure, that could work. He has a sexy wife, Patrice (Sharon Stone), and an even sexier mistress, a junkie nightclub singer named Sydney (Vanity, way too sexy to play junkie roles). Life is pretty good for Peter Dellaplane, the kind of rich asshole who breaks his karate teacher’s arm just for laughs.

The feature directing debut of ace stuntman Craig R. Baxley, ACTION JACKSON is farfetched, slick, often hilarious, and populated by ace character actors who bring a lot of color to their roles, such as Ed O’Ross (RED HEAT), Robert Davi (LICENSE TO KILL), Thomas F. Wilson (BACK TO THE FUTURE), and Bill Duke (PREDATOR). This movie may hold the record for macho ball-busting. A running gag is a young purse snatcher who keeps fainting in fear of the badass Action Jackson.

The performers help ground the nonsense in Robert Reneau’s (DEMOLITION MAN) screenplay in some sort of reality. Everyone plays it with the right amount of tongue in cheek, so when Weathers leaps over a speeding taxicab or swaps karate blows with Nelson after driving a sports car into his house and up the stairs to the second floor, it seems like, well, of course that’s what would happen. Joel Silver produced, which explains the constant quipping and huge explosions. Baxley blew up a lot more cars in I COME IN PEACE and STONE COLD, as perfect a trifecta of badass action flicks as any director can boast.