Sunday, April 24, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
"You're reviewing a DVD? What!?!" That's what you're thinking right now isn't it? I can review what ever I want, so go put it where the monkey sticks the nuts.
This week I am writing in defence of what has become my definitive favorite Star Trek film: Star Trek The Motion Picture. Yes, that's right- the boring one with the pajama uniforms. This movie has had several versions since it was released in 1979, and has had an almost universally bad wrap ever since no matter which one is being talked about. I don't think it is entirely fair, and I will go about explaining why I feel as such. As many of you no doubt have seen or are already familiar with this film in some way I won't go to the effort of detailing the plot. Onwards and upwards:
I won't lecture you with the full version of the events leading up to the making of this film (which are extensive and for those interested, are interesting believe me), so don't worry. Let's just say a bunch of this and that occurred that led up to Paramount wanting to make a new Star Trek series called Star Trek Phase II. The sets were being built, scripts were being written, the cast was selected, and all was set to make what would have likely become an oppressively tacky and lame late 70's television series (for a tantalizing and informative glimpse at what might have been, check out the book Star Trek Phase II: The Lost Series by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, its dope!).However all that changed before production began in earnest (insert sigh of relief here).
For some time a Star Trek movie (either theatrical or television) was sought, but the many scripts written didn't quite seem measure up. They included all sorts of cockamamey plots ranging everywhere from the Enterprise going into an alternate universe to find Earth having lizards as the dominant species instead of humans (YAWN) to the Enterprise going back in time and somehow becoming the Titans of ancient myth (YAAAWWWNNN). The script for the proposed Phase II pilot "In Thy Image" however did strike a chord and the idea was green lit rather quickly to become a full fledged theatrical feature albeit with what proved to be (now standard) short sighted Hollywood foresight and planning.
The task of directing the first ever Star Trek feature was handed to veteran film maker Robert Wise (He directed a handful of little known films like The Sound Of Music, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and West Side Story that nobody has ever really seen or heard of), who was given the ludicrous task of completing the film (special effects and all!) a full TEN WEEKS behind schedule before a single frame of film had even been shot. This was due to the production of Phase II being cancelled in favor of the film. To make matters worse, Paramount had PRE-SOLD the film to theaters and promised it to them in time for a December 7th, 1979 release date which was decidedly NOT flexible. Talk about a fucking nightmare. The films production ran so down to the wire an entire soundstage was rented to hold all the film cans for each theater showing it to have the prints rushed over still wet from processing to be sent where they needed to go. Robert Wise physically carried the print to its December 6th, 1979 premiere in Washington D.C. on the plane and to the theater under his god damn arm and handed it to the projectionist personally so they could set it up! For shame Paramount, for shame! My finger wags infinitely at your actions here.
I think all things considered, Robert Wise did a terrific job with the hell bound and completely unrealistic schedule he was handed. The biggest problems with the finished product were the lack of many unfinished or otherwise unrealized effects shots (which Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra did their very best to get completed working under the same ridiculous time constraints and Wise), and the fact that the film was never even given a sneak preview. That's right, the original theatrical cut was basically a rough cut of the film! That and daily rewrites and corrections by William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy (they had a clause in their contract allowing them to do so if production went beyond a specific time period so I've read), I'm appalled to be honest- and that is putting it rather nicely- by what the studio did. But thankfully Paramount saw fit to let Mr. Wise correct this somewhat in 2001 by allowing him to lead a director's cut of this practically forgotten (by my generation at least) Star Trek Film for a premiere two disc DVD release.
I say "practically" forgotten as every time I mention it to nearly anyone my age (as of this posting I am 26 currently) who is not a big Star Trek fan, they reply "which one is that, First Contact?". I am assailed by fucking idiots at nearly every turn. If I said First Contact was my favorite Star Trek film, I would say "First Contact is my favorite one" not "STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE IS MY FAVORITE". Just how lacking in understanding can people be that they guess a film with a secondary title far different than what came out of my mouth!?! Seriously...
Back on subject however:
The movie is distinctive for various reasons. Its the among the first films to have a cable TV version which included footage NOT seen in theaters. Unfortunately, this extra footage in some cases made little sense as it was from and relating to a cut sequence, and in one case featured fully visible stage lights and wooden support beams (which would have obviously been covered with a matte painting if the scene were kept)! It was a sequence in which BOTH Spock and Kirk go inside V'ger to a so called "memory wall" and discover the spacecrafts true nature. This would have gone in place of the later space walk scene with only Spock present but due to time and budget constraints (the cost of wire removal so the actors appeared to be floating in space for example pretty much canned it) left the sequence totally unfinished. Its a pity because this scene would have added a feeling of tension that the second half of the film discernibly lacked.The home video release included extra footage too, and while I have never seen a copy I have read that the original 1981 VHS release was the straight up theatrical cut. I am on the lookout, if you locate one talk with me, I am open to negotiations. The CED Videodisc (NOT LASERDISC- VIDEODISC, LOOK IT UP!) was also the theatrical cut. I have heard rumor of a Blu Ray edition containing this cut along with the director's edition, but fuck that "high def" bullshit. I don't want to know about it.
The directors cut had newly done (and well done may I add!) CGI effects shots to retouch as well as add a few brand new sequences including the first ever FULL VIEW of the V'ger spacecraft! Overly long sequences were trimmed, sound tweaked, and at long last a panned by many fans film was made to look the way it was meant to as much as was humanly possible. My one peeve with the dvd is the fact that while all this work was done, they didn't bother to remaster the image or sound. If you are going to give an mistreated film proper love, go the extra miles guys, please? Not to mention it almost seems like they let this happen so they could slam some promos for that bullshit series Star Trek: Enterprise on the disc..... BOOOOOOOO! NEVER mix promos for another program on a movie commemorating a maligned piece of cinema. Its like trying to steal the limelight, I found it strictly unwelcome and unnecessary.
What I really like about this film is everything that only happens in this movie only and nowhere else in the series. Like those weird uniforms with the boots connected to the pants, those cool wrist communicators, and how thin Shatner was- all of this only happened just this once. This is also the only Star Trek film in which phasers are never fired, and the first movie ever supported by a McDonalds Happy Meal! Don't believe me? Take a look at one of several of the commercials produced:
This movie was a HUGE event, and as such it had a marketing frenzy no other Star Trek film has ever enjoyed since. Name any product you can think and it happened: squirt guns, sticker books, pop up books, viewmaster reels, action figures (I am the proud owner of five of the 12, better complete the set some day), model kits, tee shirt iron ons, instant stained glass window hangings, trading cards, a metal lunchbox (I will do damn near anything for you if you get me one complete with thermos), sew on patches, a novelization (written by Gene Roddenberry!), silly putty, fuck it- ANYTHING! Only Star Wars, which pioneered such widespread marketing in the first place, surpassed the level of merchandising this movie accrued. So much of the marketing was devoted to toys, story book/LP combos, and other children's items which I find odd as this film is actually rather boring and slow paced. I can't imagine too many young kids going to it and being enthralled unless they were already huge fans of the show, all of the two action sequences happen within the first half of the movie for example.
But this what I REALLY like about the movie. It IS somewhat boring (by some peoples views anyway) and is indeed slow paced. Unlike everything that followed it is definitely not an action movie but more character and philosophy oriented. I wish it were more so, but due to the many drawbacks to the script, this film also has the dubious distinction of being the first major hollywood productions to try and wow audiences with special effects in an attempt to make them forget the shortcomings present elsewhere. This has become more and more commonplace in movies as the decades wear on, but at least the effects in this movie were really truly great. The film had a VERY strong opening box office take as well, but tailed off rather quickly causing major disappointment with Paramount execs. Even when adjusting for inflation TMP held the record for a ST films opening take until 2009s JJ Abrams reboot of the franchise. As a result, Star Trek films (at least up until nowadays) never had as high of an SFX budget again which is a shame to say the least.
This film reminds me of the first Star Trek Pilot "The Cage". Yes, the original unaired pilot from 1964 starring Jeffrey Hunter as Capt. Christopher Pike (The character of Kirk was created after Hunter opted to not be in the second pilot which turned out to be a fateful decision as his career nosedived until his death shortly after in 1969). Like TMP, The Cage was more cerebral, more character oriented and featured quite a few "only in this episode" bits and pieces. TMP is no different, and both stand out to me as examples of what I think is "true" Star Trek, where its not about firing a Phaser and blowing something up, its about discovery and reflecting the human condition. While several of the succeeding original crew era movies dealt with issues like how Kirk learns the nature and value of sacrifice in Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (my second favorite, and a great many peoples most fave ST film), but none gave me quite the same feeling as TMP.
And while still on the subject of only in this film, lets take a moment to talk about Captain Kirk's character in this film. In the television series, he was brash, risk taking, clever, and sensible. Here we see him at his darkest in my opinion. He is pushy, conniving, and obsessive for a good portion of the first half of the film. This stems from being promoted to Admiral and being taken off starship duty. His constant frustration with Commander Willard Decker (temporarily reduced from Captain thanks to Kirk) provides some interesting drama for our once proud and unshakeable hero. It all comes to a head in Kirk's quarters when he confronts Decker in front of Dr. McCoy due to Decker belaying one of Kirk's orders due to his cluelessness of the Enterprise's redesign. Bones goes on to explain how Kirk is using the situation to his advantage, and to allow him to retake command of the Enterprise and keep it for himself. Kirk replies "Is there anything else?" to which Bones only says, "That depends on you...". The somber image of the tinted glass doors to Kirks office closing upon his pensive expression are like dark shrouds enveloping his inner motives. This image sticks with me more than any other in the film, why I cannot be certain, but the reversion of our hero to such knowing conceit is interesting to say the least.
Many awful nicknames were given to this picture after release, including: "Star Trek: The Motion Sickness", "The Motionless Picture", "The Slowmotion Picture", and due to the films similarities to the original series episode The Changeling- "Where Nomad Has Gone Before". On an amusing note, I was once told by an IRS worker at the office here in Olympia, WA her friends used to joke with each other saying "Leave it to V'ger", somebody put that on a shirt for me please? I can understand why people don't like it due to it many deficiencies (both real and perceived, its all a matter of taste really) but I beg to differ and will continue to do so for as long as I am so able. Just try and talk shit to me about this movie, I will roll you- even with Multiple Sclerosis!
And now for two things I couldn't find a proper place for in this review. The first is a ten minute short from 1979 showing some great behind the scenes shots and of the filming miniatures/set pieces as well. I can't help but nitpick a little, but at 2:25 they mention the Epsilon IX space station, sorry dudes that's the orbital office complex (reused in Star Trek II as the Regula I lab by removing a bunch of stuff and flipping it upside down!). I also find the shots of the SFX crew blowing up Klingon battle cruisers of interest, as I am unsure why they are doing so. Its either an early effects test for when V'ger absorbs them, or an attempt to film elements of the written but otherwise unused space battle that was to be the films conclusion.
The battle sequence stayed put for a while, and was even storyboarded. The Enterprise was to be severely damaged in the battle and do a SAUCER SEPARATION (that's right!) and return the crew to earth. This sequence was still in when toy company MEGO (pronounced mee goh) made their plastic toy of the ship, you could separate the saucer just in the un filmed sequence! Talk about cool cut scene bleed overs. At 3:45 we see what I thought was never filmed at all- a portion of the memory wall sequence I mentioned earlier in the review! Too bad, because the set looks awesome (SFX test shots with the set are on the aforementioned and pictured two disc TMP DVD)! Here, have a looksee:
The final piece is to prove my devotion for the ages. Take a look:
Yes, that small 1" X 2" rectangle is a bonafide piece of the V'ger miniature along with an autographed 8x10 of William Shatner. Its number 67 of 250 and you will have to pry it from my cold dead hands iffin' ya want it. I got it off ebay as a scratch and dent from the company that sold them via williamshatner.com. There appears to be a small imperfection to the finish on the brass plaque, enough for me to get it for well less than the $299 they were trying to get for them off his site. And for the astute onlooker, yes that IS an original VHS release poster for Jim Wynorski's 1987 classic Deathstalker II poking out behind the plaque- not the canvas reprints people are selling these days (expect a review of that movie some time in this blogs future!). May I also add this gives you the opportunity to see a picture of the handsome son of a bitch responsible for writing everything here. So in closing, Star Trek The Motion Picture is near and dear to my heart and in my opinion one hell of an overlooked gem of science fiction cinema. I am sure my collection of odd bits of memorabilia from it will only increase as time goes by. I hope I've done the film justice with this post.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
This weeks review is for a film I actually like: The Manipulator aka B.J. Lang Presents (1971). As there are no helpful youtube clips for this movie beyond other folks own reviews and I do not as yet have the items necessary to make my own clips, I will have to do my best to describe things to you with only words. This movie is what I like to refer to as a real live sleeper hit.
It seems this film was made in the dark end of Mickey Rooney's career, and as such has an incredibly low rating on imdb which I firmly believe is very unjust. The loosely defined plot (with little unnecessary exposition, which I feel does this film tremendous credit) centers on ex Hollywood makeup artist BJ Lang (Rooney) and an actress (Anders) he is holding captive in a multi level building of some sort. We are never certain just where the building is located or even what kind (we can assume a warehouse) as events constantly unfurl into a world of escapist insanity.
Lang is living in an immense delusion of grandeur and is "filming" (with no doubt empty cameras) a production of Edmond Rostand's play Cyrano de Bergerac- all the while yammering and conversing with imaginary crew members and recounting his former (and pitiful) notoriety. The poor actress who has been kidnapped/coerced/tricked (we never know) into playing the part of Roxanne is tied to a wheel chair by rags for a fair portion of the film. Claustrophobia, paranoia, and schizophrenia commence through the final frame.
I won't give away anything more than this because I want you to seek it out, rather I will focus the rest of this short and sweet review on what makes this film work so well in my opinion. The film is frightening, bizzare, and psychedelic. The only special effects utilized are something modern directors with digital cameras have all but forgotten about- OPTICAL TRICKERY. Fisheye lens closeups, slow motion, under cranked images, and even stills make the viewer become one with the crumbling edifice of Lang's shattered mind.
The use of these camera tricks combined with constant contradicting shots of escape and imprisonment of the captive actress only further serve to make one question reality itself. Has she escaped? Much like Ridley Scott's incomparable horror classic Alien (1979) its what the audience does NOT know that makes things so frightening. As mentioned before where is this warehouse of props we are in? How long has she been kept there (we only know long enough to be desperately hungry) and how did she get there? What was the final straw that pushed Lang to such depths? The answers never come, and I prefer not to know what's behind the curtain.
As far as I know, the only home video releases (in the US at least, anybody who knows of foreign releases please chime in!) are the Vestron VHS reviewed here and a Mill Creek Entertainment DVD only available in one of those terrible "50 movies for 20 bucks" type box sets filled mostly with garbage. If you find this movie lying about somewhere don't hesitate, its a rarity!
Saturday, April 2, 2011
For a long time now I have had an obsession with this film. I have to admit I was initially intrigued by a film actually starring Carl Weathers and curious about the acting abilities of failed pop star Vanity and Craig T. Nelson cast as a bad guy. It was to put it simply curiosity to find out what on earth was it all about, especially considering the casting anomalies (I am obviously being too kind toward the casting director when I say this). This of course led to actually having to sit through it. Now my obsession is with going to GREAT lengths to pick apart and deride just how bad this blivit of an action yarn is. Behold the years long culmination of this effort forthwith:
Now that that is out of the way, where to begin? I'll tell you- THE FUCKING TRAILER. Now to be fair the trailer here is the Lorimar Home Video trailer but based on what I know about this movie as a whole it is probably the same odd minute and something moviegoers had to sit through in theaters. Observe:
Where to begin with this even!?! The first line says much: "There's been a lot of talk about Sergeant Jerhico Jackson, FORGET EVERYTHING YOU'VE HEARD". Fuckin A, the entire marketing campaign for this movie (you will see further evidence of this shortly) is a fucking double entendre for how much the film is going to suck. Let us continue with further evidence: "Because action speaks louder than words". Vanity even manages to put this movie in its place before you even watch it by simply saying two words: "Some action"! And at the end we have another voice over proclaiming "Action is on the way" and a scene from the film with a cop proclaiming "mark it on your calendar, that day is comin'".
What is wrong here you ask? A LOT. The trailer leads you to believe this is a super action packed cop movie. There's explosions, a car chase, attractive women, people flying out windows, people jumping out windows, face punching, making out, more explosions, gun fire, and flat footed wet fart attempts at tough guy humor. There's even some super arpeggio laden action music replete with orchestra hits. An arpeggio is useful to accentuate action in the 80's, but it does not MAKE ACTION OCCUR. Thanks for the illusion fellas. Actions are taken place by Carl Weathers yes, but this does not make an action movie good as you will see (or won't if you are as smart as I think). The quick eyed viewer will notice Bill Duke and Sonny Landham who both appeared in Predator with Mr. Weathers and also the dude who played Biff in Back To The Future.
And while I'm at it, what's with the cheesy computer drawing of Carl Weathers' face? What the fuck is this, the video for the song Breakdance by Irene Cara?
But back to the trailer, "Mark it on your calendar", you fucking got that right. Just take a look at the video box art at the beginning of the review. Some dipshit at the Atlanta Journal/Constitution labeled it "This year's Lethal Weapon". Really? REALLY? Talk about premature judgements. I want to find whoever wrote this and hand them a roll of toilet paper and tell them you're supposed to wipe shit instead of write it. Action Jackson was released February 12th 1988, here is what came out months later: Rambo III (aka the king shit of 80's action trash at its absolute best)- May 25th, Die Hard- July 15th, and They Live- November 4th. What do these three movies have in common? The first five minutes of each of these is better than the entirety of Action Jackson. That cop was right, mark your calendar- better movies were going to come out a little while later. Now to be fair it is TECHNICALLY an action movie based upon the formula presented by the trailer- however the way the formula is presented on celluloid is dull, predictable, and like Bob Dole, flacid.
And I nearly forgot the final warning a potential moviegoer had before entering into a theater showing this: the poster. It has the audacious headline of Its Time For "Action". Yes that's right, the word action is actually in quotes. To me this translates to the action of turning around and going home. Look:
What's the deal with this poster? The graphic design is not particularly gripping or even vaguely interesting/exciting. It appears the graphic designer was bored/out to lunch/blind and/or not being paid enough to do something compelling here. Carl Weathers is dressed in a tuxedo to give some sort of James Bond kind of flair. Unless I'm mistaken he's a god damn cop not a secret agent. He only wears a tuxedo for maybe the last 15 minutes of the movie. Where can I find a case of these posters to wipe my ass with in case I run out of shit tickets? Anybody?
Okay enough fucking around, let me explain the plot and do this movie an actual simultaneously.
Basically the film is about Harvard law degree holder and renegade cop Jerhico "Action" Jackson (Weathers) and his uncovering of a plot by ruthless auto tycoon Peter Dellaplane (Nelson) to murder Detroit union bosses to supplant his rise to political power. There is of course bad blood between them from the start- Jackson was demoted to sergeant from lieutenant for some bullshit involving Dellaplane's kid that I don't remember or give two shits about.
The movie begins with some sort of ninja assassination crap with what appear to be shoddy slightly under cranked camera shots that make this movie look like it was actually intended for TV. It might have been better this way to be frank with you. The ninja assassination is followed by the dude getting killed by an explosion that sends his flaming corpse plummeting through a glass ceiling. Kind of neat but meh, ninjas are bullshit.
I am barely able to describe this movie its so unmemorable, so let me just hit the high (read: mostly low) points from here on out okay? Jackson's crazy buddy who hasn't slept in days gives him convenient plot exposition about the union murder scheme and gets iced by a cold ass killer wearing a sick ass pair of Rayban Wayfarer shades. Shortly afterward we have to sit through an awful late 80's track by Dellaplane's mistress Sydney Ash (Vanity), where we find out that she likes smack, supplied by her lover Dellaplane. He delivers it via a classy old timey syringe, you know the kind with the interchangeable needle like you see in the old west.
Basically Jackson has been taken off the street and is a pencil pusher. Tasked by his captain to go to a social function he cannot attend due to his wife's parcheezie night (not making that up), Jackson meets Dellaplane's wife Patrice (Sharon Stone) and strikes up an acquaintance. BORING. Oh, before we get that shot of heroin in, we see Sydney's boobs. Also boring. Not to say breasts aren't interesting to me as a straight guy, but the fact that they are shown immediately following CRAIG T. NELSON saying "give me two reasons why I should keep my promises" or some such shit which kinda grosses me out. Its the lamest tit shot I've ever seen besides Halle Berry's chest bearing in the movie Swordfish.
We also later find out Dellaplane is a karate practicing douchebag. BFD. Are you really telling me the dad from the TV show Coach is some badass martial artist? Please piss off. Shortly after that we see Sharon Stone nude in a sauna. Unnecessary. I want decent action here, not nudie bits! Anyways, Patrice overhears the plan to fuck up unions hard and informs Jackson. After more important and uncompelling plot exposition, The wayfarer shades wearing assassin tries to kill our hero by running him over with a taxi cab. Serious bullshit commence:
It was conveniently mentioned at some point that Jackson was a track star, so he of course RUNS after the cab. At at least 25-30 miles an hour. For several city blocks. While yelling. Without slowing down. He then runs up a parked car and leaps on top of the taxi, and has a fight with the wayfarer assassin and is eventually thrown off the top of the car. Watch this helpful clip to view the bullshit that happens next:
SERIOUSLY!?! He ran like ten feet then forward somersaulted SEVERAL METERS into the air over a car driving TOWARD him. I'm glad whoever made this clip repeated the jump twice, just to let it sink in further. Anyway, the assassin gets away and Jackson finally meets up with Sydney after the poor attempt at tough guy joking shown in the trailer. He is dismayed to discover her heroin addiction, but needs her to get at Dellaplane. After going back to her place and barely dodging an exploding telephone (ooo, how nasty!) they hit the street. Later on, Patrice gets shot by Dellaplane for blabbing the lowdown to Jackson. Here lies another extraordinary deviation from the laws of physics. Dellaplane ices Patrice with a short barreled .357 Magnum at point blank range. Now if I'm not mistaken, pistols and guns in general have even a tiny bit of recoil when fired, especially serious business like the gun in question. Forget the fact that there would be a sizable wound, powder burns, and a bullet flying through her body rather than staying put with only minimal mess...
Jackson finds out via the police radio in his car that Patrice is dead so he takes Sydney to dry out (From one day of an obviously long term heroin addiction? Really?) from heroin to a shady ass hotel run by an ex boxer buddy of his. This of course leads to Sydney whining like a schoolgirl about "how she needs a fiiiiixxxxx :( waaaaaahhhh, you poor junkie. Somehow I think a die hard addict would be meaner about wanting drugs, and be more serious about getting some than that. Lo and behold, she finds a dealer in the same hotel (played by Sonny Landham!) who gets his ass beat for being a despicable loser type.
From here our duo go in search of a well known informant in search of more exposition to be handed to them to move the cardboard story forwards. Instead of the informant, all they find are his balls in a jar which leads to this ridiculous altercation:
They wind up getting their information by having Sydney lure a dude in on the fiasco to come to a warehouse and explain everything to them only to be in turn captured by the now (un)infamous ninja assassins, one of whom looks like a genetic mix of Sven Ole Thorson and Van Halen. Dellaplane pulls a Bond villain and tells Jackson EVERYTHING about his assassination plot and leaves so the captured Jackson can be killed by henchmen. This leads to the only reason I still own this film which is this scene:
This then leads Jackson to the dinner Dellaplane is having to murder a key union dude and have it blamed on Jackson by having wayfarer assassin dressed in his clothes. Jackson foils this plot and finally kills wayfarer assassin by causing him to fall from his sniper perch to his grisly death. Stealing one of Dellaplane's stupid show cars (he's an auto tycoon after all), Jackson drives it through Dellaplane's mansion to where Dellaplane is hiding. After a ludicrous martial arts/punching fight Dellaplane gets shot and dies, the cops show up, Jackson gets his Lieutenant bar back, and Sydney vows to quit smack cold turkey (Yeah. Fucking. RIGHT. Just wait till she steals your wallet cold turkey while you're asleep) and Jackson is overjoyed to begin a relationship.
How trite. I'm fairly certain I left quite a bit out because I forgot. This is due to much of this film being completely forgettable.
Okay, time to give the home video some chin music right in the kisser.
The jibe about the quote on the box earlier on is practically all I need to say about the art. Besides the fact that I can't for the life of me figure out why the shit Sharon Stone is even on there as she really doesn't do much except unnecessarily flash her tits in a sauna and get shot by our "villainous" Craig T. Nelson with a large caliber hand gun at point blank range that apparently has zero recoil as mentioned earlier. Here's another anomaly, this movie was somehow selected for Warner Brothers "Hits" video series. For those of us who remember, these were budget priced VHS of movies that may or may not peak buyers interest as DVD slowly strangled my beloved VHS out of the market. But Action Jackson considered a hit? Who's wet dream was this? It cost 7 million to make and somehow managed to make back its budget just shy of three times (This is of course its worldwide gross earnings)! Don't believe me? Here's the box:
Way back when VHS cost a LOT of money, especially rental copies. Check out the price tag on the back of my review copy: 89 bucks! I wonder if this tape ever paid for itself before being sold off for $9.95 then for $1.99 from the goodwill I bought it from? The description is pretty classic too. It mentions how the "last, desperate showdown HURLS (tell me about it) the film toward a heart stopping climax". I sure wish my heart would have stopped, I wouldn't have to be writing this right now.
To further exacerbate this films utter failure to entertain me beyond the one scene vaguely doted upon, read this article from the February 15th, 1988 issue of Jet Magazine. It is unfortunate how optimistic the two main characters were as we now know with the advantage of hindsight this movie was a terrific FAILURE (yes I said it twice in the same paragraph for effect).
Sorry Vanity, this movie didn't ruin your career, being addicted to hard drugs did, like maybe the time you smoked crack with Nikki Sixx. I know that isn't very fair to say, but seriously this movie is no Chinatown when it comes to the casts acting ability...