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Rated R
Copyright 1988 Lorimar Film Entertainment
Reviewed by Ted C on 6 March 2008

The Characters:  

  • Jericho "Action" Jackson - Carl Weathers! Former college track star and Harvard law graduate turned cop, with a tendency toward unnecessary roughness.
  • Peter Dellaplane - Craig T. Nelson! Car company CEO with his own political agenda. Gets a lesson in humility, followed by a bullet.
  • Sydney Ash - Vanity! Junky nightclub singer with a heart of gold. Dumps her sugar daddy for Jackson.
  • Patrice Dellaplane - Sharon Stone! Peter's wife who has no clue what a jerk he is. Offed by her husband.
  • The Invisible Men - Peter's commando goon squad, so named because of their astounding sneakiness. Dead in a variety of poetic ways.

Buy It!

The Plot: 

I wish I could give you the proper details here, but it's honestly been a bit too long since I've seen it, so you'll just have to live with the CliffsNotes version.

"Action" Jackson works as a Detroit cop (I guess Harvard degrees aren't what they used to be). He used to be an officer; he got demoted and busted to a desk job following an unnecessary roughness incident with a sex offender who happened to be the son of a major car tycoon, Peter Dellaplane. Political enemies of Dellaplane in the autoworkers union are now turning up dead, and Jackson decides to investigate.

In his early snooping, he manages to talk briefly to Dellaplane's wife, Patrice. She doesn't give him anything very useful, but his suggestions about her husband disturb her, so she tells Peter about the conversation. Big mistake! Peter shoots her on the spot, then frames Jackson for the murder. Oh no!

Jackson goes on the run to clear his name (bet you didn't see that coming). He looks up Dellaplane's mistress, junky club singer Sydney, and busts past her bodyguard to see her. He drags Sydney along with him as he goes to chat with some street informants. Alas, stool pigeon number one meets with an unfortunate accident, resulting in a bar fight for Jackson to keep his family jewels. That crisis escaped, they go visit informant number two, who produces exposition from thin air, giving Jackson plenty of goods on Dellaplane.

Seeking hard evidence, Jackson runs afoul of Dellaplane's crack commando goon squad. They capture him and chain him up in a warehouse, where Dellaplane himself drops in to provide the details of his dastardly plot take over the autoworkers' union so he can decide who they support in presidential elections. He just needs to assassinate the union's president and replace him with a sycophant to finish the plot, and he's even going to frame Jackson for the murder. Chuckling at his own brilliance, he heads off to the party where said union prez is scheduled to die, taking Sydney with him (so he can - do her - one more time before killing her) and leaving some of his goons to take care of Jackson.

In a spectacular moment of deus ex machina, Sydney's bodyguard comes to Jackson's rescue, and the two of them deal with the goons at the warehouse before heading to Dellaplane's mansion to stop the murders. They crash the party and save the union guy, taking care of the rest of Dellaplane's goons in the process. Thwarted, Dellaplane decides he might as well kill Sydney just for spite, but Jackson drives a car into the bedroom before he can finish the dastardly deed. Foiled again, Peter challenges Jackson to an unarmed duel to the death. Peter's been practicing, too, but he unfortunately manages to get Jackson really pissed off, and the hero unloads a whole can of whoopass on him.

So, Dellaplane dies. Jackson's name is cleared, he's promoted to lieutenant, and he even gets the girl.

Things I Learned From This Movie: 

  • It can take a lot to piss off the badass cop, but if you manage it, you'll regret it.
  • Never tell your husband that a cop asked you if you know anything about his illegal activities.
  • Rat poison makes a passable substitute for heroin in a pinch.
  • Super-sneaky commandos get sloppy when ambushed themselves.
  • The best teacher of good ethical behavior is mortal danger.

Stuff To Watch For: 

  • Balls in a jar.
  • The undisputed mistress of combining exposition with alliteration.
  • Jackson's bicep of love.
  • Tough decision: Rape and murder the girl or escape before the hero arrives?

 Audio clips in wav formatSOUNDSStarving actors speak out 

Green Music Note actionjackson1.wav Jackson: "Hey, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I meant to congratulate you on that collar you made in Paradise Valley."
Old Partner: "Well, thanks a lot, I appreciate that."
Jackson: "Yeah, it takes some pretty sharp police work to track down a man waving a bloody knife, screaming, 'I did it! I did it!'"
Old Partner: "You know, Jackson, I can't believe you and I stayed partners long as we did."
Green Music Note actionjackson2.wav Patrice: "I know how you feel about Peter, Sergeant, but you don't know him the way I do. He may seem greedy and arrogant to most people, but you don't make it big in industry and remain loved by everyone."
Green Music Note actionjackson3.wav Jackson: "I bet you make a good living at this. Don't you?"
Bodyguard: "Good enough. It helps pay my way through medical school."
Jackson: "If I was to hit you again, you'd probably slam my little body right through that wall back there. Now, wouldn't you?"
Bodyguard: "I was thinking about it, but it goes against all my Muslim beliefs."
Green Music Note actionjackson4.wav Sydney: "What's Dellaplane got to do with me?"
Jackson: "You kidding? He owns you!"
Sydney: "He rents me!"
Jackson: "Six of one, half dozen of the other."

 Click for a larger imageIMAGESScenes from the movie 


 Watch a sceneVIDEOMPEG video files 

Video Clipactionjackson1.mpg - 4.6m
I never knew that automobile assembly line torches could do that.

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