The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Action Jackson (1988)

"Action Jackson" (1988) is a cult classic film starring Carl Weathers, as the movie's title. This movie did well at the box office, but critics were not pleased with the movie. It grossed $20 million on an $8 million budget and made another $45 million in VHS sales. Yet, the film earned a cult following that understood that Action Jackson should have been an ongoing character. The 1980s movies were primarily cheesy in a lot of ways. But that's what we loved about that period. The ensemble of actors was notable, and I was pleased to see many of them in this film. Bill Duke and Weathers were only one year removed from playing in "Predator" together.

Before Carl Weathers starred in "Action Jackson," he had already succeeded in Hollywood movies with his most notable role as Apollo Creed in "Rocky." Denise Matthews (a.k.a. Vanity) starred alongside Weathers, and the two of them formed that masculine hero and damsel in distress chemistry. Matthews was familiar with acting and had previously played in a few movies and TV shows. Similar to what people grew accustomed to in James Bond films. So, in essence, Action Jackson was the alternative version of what Bond was doing without saying, "we need a Black James Bond." But, of course, there was no need for a Black Bond. We had Action Jackson.

I loved the cartoonish nature of the movie and the cheesy wittiness. The synthesizing soundtrack with a mixture of pop, jazzy, and RnB is a timepiece. The movie was a play on blaxploitation films from the 70s mimicking characters like Shaft. Plus, Craig T. Nelson was a great addition as the film's antagonist. We could still use an Action Jackson today! I love this movie. I highly recommend it.

Director: Craig R. Baxley
Writer: Robert Reneau

Starring Carl Weathers, Craig T. Nelson, Vanity, Sharon Stone, Bill Duke, Bob Minor, Roger Aaron Brown, Stan Foster, Thomas F. Wilson, Robert Davi, Jack Thibeau, Chino 'Fats' Williams, Prince Hughes

Due to the use of excessive force in arresting a sexual predator, Detective Lt. Jericho "Action" Jackson (Carl Weathers) is demoted to sergeant. What's worse, the father of the man he roughed up, Detroit industrialist Peter Dellaplane (Craig T. Nelson), declares war on Jackson, framing him for the murder of his wife, Patrice (Sharon Stone). But Jericho manages to elude arrest and, with the help of a drug-addicted singer named Sydney (Vanity), goes after Dellaplane.