Action Jackson (1988)

SUMMARY: Carl Weathers plays an action hero so nuts he has “Action” in his name. Vanity, Sharon Stone, Craig T. Nelson, and the Joel Silver Repertory Company join him for this wild, ludicrous throwback to ’70s-style action films with an ’80s gloss.

Note from the author: This is the first in a series of tributes to cheesy action movies of the ’80s and early ’90s. Rather than in-depth recaps or straightforward reviews, these will contain a brief synopsis followed by a longer list of highlights, notes, and observations.

So, here it is. Action Jackson. Or as I like to call it, Joel Silver’s Shaft.

Action Jackson

This movie is a real anachronism: it has the look of an ’80s action epic, but the style and tone of a ’70s action film, the kind that would probably star either Fred Williamson or Jim Brown. Carl Weathers plays Jericho “Action” Jackson, a one-man wrecking crew who’s been taken off the streets after nearly tearing off a sex offender’s arm. When reminded of this, Jackson’s excuse is, “He had a spare!”

Yep, we’ve got another Dirty Harry clone on our hands here, only this time, unlike some other action films of the era, it’s played pretty much for laughs. No one takes this movie overly seriously, one of the things that makes Joel Silver a lot better than the Cannon guys. Well, that, plus talent, money, and creativity.

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Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

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