Have Cheetah,Will View #404 – “Action Jackson” (1988)

Its 11:20 pm
dark/windy/rain

    In terms of what is “hot” on today’s TV screens,the Star Wars series on the new Disney+ streaming service,”The Mandalorian” with its Baby Yoda is THE show to watch. For us older folks,we saw a name that really hasn’t been said enough and that is Carl Weathers.
    Now even the most casual fan can name the “Rocky” films and even “Predator” but after that?? Yes,you can mention “Happy Gilmore” but I’m talking bigger. Carl Weathers should have been as big as Stallone,Arnie,Gibson,Willis….especially after Rocky II and Predator. 

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    But it never happened for him Instead,after doing the film we’re going to talk about,”Action Jackson”,Weathers went from the big screen to TV and yes,he did a lot of fun TV work but we didn’t the other big names of the 80s slide into TV after having big hits,did we? Carl Weathers had it all,he was leading man handsome,a very good actor,he was in great shape and he was popular,so why didn’t he break out?

    I saw “Action Jackson” when it came out in the theaters back in 1988. I went with a few friends not only because the singer Vanity was it but because Weathers was the MAN in his first leading role. I hadn’t seen the movie since it came out and the only thing I remembered was Sharon Stone was it and that Craig T. Nelson was the bad guy.
That was it,I had completely forgotten the plot and other actors in it. But once again,thanks to our friend “MP” over at Warner Brothers Archive,I got a chance to revisit the film and see it again in a different light. 

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   Weathers plays Jericho “Action” Jackson who is on the Detroit Police Department. When a string of high profile killings of auto union leaders sweeps the city,it takes Jackson back to Peter Delaplane (Nelson). Jackson had Delaplane’s son arrested but because of the excessive force used,Jackson lost his Lt. status and is driving a desk. 

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   When Jackson gets a tip from a very frightened old friend,he starts to poke around. When his captain forces him to attend a function where Delaplane is being given an award,Jackson unknowingly meets Delaplane’s beautiful wife Patrice (Sharon Stone) The two men meet again with both landing verbal jabs.

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  Jackson follows the trail to Delaplane’s mistress Sydney Ash (Vanity) and while he is questioning her,Delaplane decides to strike back in a horrific way which makes Jericho Detroit’s Most Wanted. He is going to need all of his wits to not only stay alive from the cops but also from Delaplane’s own hit squad The Invisible Men…..

   So I’m going to be honest here,this movie did not age well and its not very flattering to Weathers. While there are some bright spots like Armelia McQueen stealing the show as one of Jackson’s street contacts Dee. I seriously think they could have made a whole film about her character alone! Both Sharon Stone and Vanity looked great but I was disappointed to see Vanity’s Sydney portrayed as a junkie and couldn’t understand why Delaplane would even have a mistress when he had Patrice waiting for him. 

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   One thing you can say about “Action Jackson”was it didn’t lack star power,there are a LOT of well known actors in it,it should have been a much bigger hit,right?
   So what went wrong…..a terrible script,Vanity’s speaking parts all sounded like they were dubbed in after filming was completed and a rookie director being handed the reins. Craig Baxley,who had a strong background in stunts was entrusted by producer Joel Silver to make his debut with “Action Jackson”. While some of the action pieces were decent,like Weathers chasing down a cab driven by one of Delaplane’s kill squad,the ending pieces were rushed and pretty badly edited.

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But you could have the best stunt team in the world and it wouldn’t saved this film from one of worst scripts I have watched….it had so many plot holes and WTF moments that it completely lost me and the cheetah. How bad was it? Well when I heard Paladin dragging his litterbox up the stairs,I knew not even Stone and Vanity doing topless scenes was going to save “Action Jackson”.

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   Weathers and the cast deserved so much better. This film was intended to break Weathers out as a leading action hero and to also start a franchise for him but despite doing (for 1988) decent business at the box office,the reviews were so bad,it killed any hope of that happening and Weathers ended up doing mostly TV projects thereafter.
He remains one of my favorite actors however and I’m always looking for his past work when I’m media hunting. I am happy that younger viwers will see him on “The Mandalorian” and hopefully will discover just how good Weathers really is. 
   “Action Jackson” runs for 96 minutes and is rated “R”. This BluRay release has no special features and be ordered from the website of Warner Brothers Archive.
We recommend “Action Jackson” for the star power that was assembled and as a Carl Weathers fan. But as a good film,we can’t do that…..and am pissed off at that.

What film/TV role of Carl Weathers is your favorite outside “Rocky” and “Predator”?
Drop your response in the comments below…..

5 thoughts on “Have Cheetah,Will View #404 – “Action Jackson” (1988)

  1. I have to admit, I saw Action Jackson in the movies too, but could not for the life of me remember the plot. Thanks for the refresher. I guess the blue-ray has no special features because…the movie was that bad. Sharon Stone was a knockout in the film. Vanity too.

    I just Googled Carl Weathers films and found out he had a bit part in the Blaxploitation film Friday Foster. I saw him for a brief second in the trailer, but his name didn’t show up. This was a Pam Grier action film, and not Carl’s time yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read that Joel Silver approached Carl about making Action Jackson an Blaxploitation film..thing is,that genre had died out in the late 1970s……and I think you’re right about the Special features….they could have done a commentary with at least Nelson and Weathers……

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s funny–we just watched Close Encounters last weekend and I saw Carl as an MP during an evacuation scene. I recognized him but couldn’t place him because I haven’t seen Predator or Little Nicky since they came out and never saw any Rocky movies past I.
    I looked him up and saw a pic of him. Even though he’s 71, this pic was from 3 years ago, and he looks like he’s in his 50s!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just found a copy of “Close Encounters” as well…..Carl has always had a commanding screen precense….and I just learned what happened to Vanity as well….wow.

      Like

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