Bullet Points: Action Jackson
Carl Weathers has been blessed with some of the best character names in entertainment history… Apollo Creed, Fortune Dane, Sundog, Chubbs and Jericho Jackson a/k/a ACTION JACKSON!
- The Premise: Power hungry automaker, Peter Dellaplane (played by Craig T. Nelson) is looking to become a force in the dirty world of politics and he’s taking out union leaders and anybody else who stands in his way to make it happen. When Action Jackson gets wind of this he makes it his mission in life to take down Dellaplane.
- Bad Blood: There is bad blood between Dellaplane and Jackson that predates the movie. Jackson brought Dellaplane’s son to justice for being a sexual deviant and the methods he used were so extreme that Lt. Jericho Jackson out in the streets of Detroit fighting crime became Sgt Jericho Jackson sitting behind a desk.
- Action Facts: The introduction of the character Action Jackson is well done… as the film opens we see two of Detroit’s finest at work. Officer Lack (played by Roger Aaron Brown) and his partner Officer Kornblau (played by Thomas F. Wilson of Back to the Future fame) spot a young ne’er do well, Albert, about to steal a woman’s purse. Now this woman… well let’s just say she has not missed too many meals. Anyway, the officers watch in delight as Albert is the victim of a vicious purse beating. After letting the situation percolate a bit, they haul Albert in. On the drive to the police station they start telling him about Action Jackson using a method that is quite similar to all those Chuck Norris Facts, except this happened nearly 20 years before Chuck Norris Facts were even a thing.
- Ladies Man: Peter Dellaplane proves that power is the ultimate aphrodisiac (I believe Henry Kissinger said that once). He’s married to Sharon Stone and his mistress is Vanity. Stone’s character, Patrice Dellaplane, thinks her husband is a savvy businessman and has no idea of his evil ways. Vanity’s character, Sydney Ash, is a nightclub singer/junkie who has been promised by Dellaplane that she’ll get a record deal with Motown and he also keeps her supplied with the heroin she craves so badly.
- Til Death: When Patrice overhears the butler, Cartier, on the phone talking about murder she spills the beans to Action Jackson. When she talks to Peter about it later that night, he assures her he had nothing to do with anyone’s murder. But when Peter finds out she told all of this to Action Jackson, he kisses her, shoots her and hatches a scheme to plant her body at the home of Action Jackson to frame him from the murder.
- Just Get In, Baby: Working on a tip that he can get to Dellaplane through his mistress, Sydney Ash. Action goes to Joey’s Nightclub where Sydney works to take in a show and try to get information. Action makes his way backstage, but there’s a huge obstacle in his way, Sydney’s large and in charge bodyguard Edd (played by Prince Hughes). Not since his days as an Oakland Raider has Carl Weathers made such a monumental tackle as the one he makes to get into Sydney’s dressing room.
- Kid Sable: Action realizing he has been set up by Dellaplane for the murder of Patrice is now on the run with Sydney in tow. They seek safe haven with an old friend who runs a dive hotel, Kid Sable. Sable is played by Chino “Fats” Williams. “Fats” is a man with a distinctive voice, who you may remember from such films as Iron Eagle, Rocky III and The Terminator. I once tweeted Carl Weathers about Chino and he spoke about him with great reverence stating that Chino would light up a room.
- Worst Pool Hall Ever: Action goes looking for an old informant of his at a local pool hall… now it is never really explained but for some reason the proprietors of this pool hall have a thing for cutting off testicles, putting them in jars and storing them in a large cabinet. Fortunately for Action, with a little help from Sydney and transforming into Reverend Jackson he leaves the pool hall with the same amount of body parts he went in with.
- Best Barber Shop Ever: When the pool hall doesn’t pan out, Kid Sable tells Action he should visit Dee’s Barber Shop… again it is never really explained but Dee has ALL the inside dirt on the politics and goings on of the Automobile Workers Alliance. With Dee’s help, Action gets the final piece of the puzzle. Dellaplane plans on killing the President of the AWA at a birthday party he is throwing in his honor that night, but before Action can do anything about it, Dellaplane shows up and takes Action and Sydney captive.
- An Evil Plan: No doubt thanks to his incredible narcissism and because it is in the movie villains handbook, Peter Dellaplane spills the beans on his “perfect plan” to Jackson. After he tells Jackson he wants him to die, he leaves just before his hired guns are about to burn Jackson alive. This would make Dr. Evil so proud and frustrate the living hell out of Scott Evil.
- Hot Finish: As you might assume, Action Jackson did not get burned alive (Dellaplane’s thugs were not so lucky) so he along with Kid Sable, Edd the Bodyguard (another of the story elements that is never really explained) and even young Albert (turns out he is the nephew of Kid Sable) crash the birthday party with a plan to prevent the murder of the AWA President, rescue Sydney and deliver some justice to Peter Dellaplane. I hate to give away the details of movie conclusions in these reviews, so let me just say the three words that can describe the climax of this film… Hot. Hotter. Hottest.
Action Jackson definitely delivers the action and this should come as no surprise considering Joel Silver was the producer. With Action Jackson you will get everything you expect to get when watching an 80’s action movie. Nothing more and nothing less.
On my Rewatchability Scale, I’d give it a 8 out of 10. I am a fan of the movie. I am a fan of Carl Weathers. He is surrounded by a great cast and as I said at the start of this review it is unfortunate this film did not perform better at the box office as I’m sure we would have had at least one more Action Jackson film to talk about here on the site.
- What Starts With “V” And Gives Craig T. Nelson An Erection?: Nowadays it is likely Viagra, but back in 1988 it was Vanity. In one scene, Peter is watching Sydney rehearse her night club act, when the song is over she comes over to him as he sits at a table smoking and says “I expected a standing ovation.” He replies with “You’re getting one.”
- Evil Action Jackson: Bob Minor plays Gamble, one of Dellaplane’s thugs that kills Jackson’s high school friend Tony (played by Robert Davi), tries to run over Jackson with a cab and later doubles as Action for Dellaplane’s plot to kill the President of the Auto Workers Alliance. The irony, he is a member of the Stuntman’s Association of Motion Pictures and has actually been a stunt double for Carl Weathers.
- Verbal Smackdown: Officer Kornblau is about to regale Officer Lack with a tale of his latest sexual conquest when Lack cuts him off with this memorable line… “There ain’t been any pussy in your pad since your mother helped you move in!”
- Predator Reunion Tour: Carl Weathers is reunited with two of his Predator co-stars, Bill Duke, who plays Action’s boss Captain Earl Armbruster and Sonny Landham, who plays drug dealer Mr. Quick.
- Last But Not Least: Ladies and gentlemen, The Pointer Sisters…