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Review Action Jackson (1988): Should have been a franchise!

genre: action, crime

Carl Weathers, most famous for his role as Apollo in the Rocky series, is vastly underrated if you ask me. He has equal the presence, charisma and acting talent to boot compared to many of the stars in the eighties and nineties. Yet he never got even considered for a franchise of his own. Until Action Jackson.

Action Jackson is very much a typical eighties action flick with the right dose of comedy and drama mixed in to keep things diverse. But more than anything it was a showcase for Carl Weathers to demonstrate that not only that he is leading man material but also can do action well. It does take some time for the action to really start. But once it does you rarely have to wait again. Action Jackson does a real nice job of establishing the main character and his world. Now don't expect depth or anything. They just give you enough  to make you wonder why Jericho's nickname is Action Jackson. A running gag is where Albert (Stan Foster from Tour of Duty) keeps fainting or fleeing from the scene whenever he encounters Action. This is due to two colleagues telling all about Action and what he is about. Naturally they are joking at the kid's expense. 

The action itself is solid. One scene in particular is even outstanding as it is THE scene that makes Action Jackson a little different from all the other action films. Apparently Jericho has been demoted and isn't allowed to carry a gun any more. So he basically has only his wit and fists to use against the bad guys. The main bad guy is played by Craig T. Nelson. Nelson is a good villain and yes he totally creepy and believable. Except his martial arts skills. He clearly doesn't have any and very noticeable is replaced by a stunt double. His character already had a whole team of super assassins under him. Why not have them do all the hard work? Perhaps it's me nitpicking. In any case it is real cathartic to see him getting what he deserves.

Last but not least. The women. There are two extremely hot women in this flick who make Action Jackson even more fun. Sharon Stone and Vanity. Sharon Stone got a bad deal with this film as she is not nearly enough to make a real impression. Vanity on the other hand is very believable as the gorgeous junkie singer who wants to party all the time. Even insults Jericho for being anything but action. Then realizes he is a real man who respects her and wouldn't take advantage of her even if she herself wants him to. She has some real nice chemistry with Carl Weathers. Just googled her name and found out that she died at the age of 57 in 2016. R.I.P. Vanity.

Action Jackson should have been a franchise. It's real puzzling to me why it hasn't. It was both a hit in the box office hit on VHS. And it did just as good or even better than other action films made in that decade. So if you haven't seen this film by now and you are an action fan then this film is a must watch! 

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