Posts Tagged ‘ribs

11
Nov
11

Action Jackson and The Art of Catching a Cab

a Primal Root written review

“How do you like your ribs?” – Action Jackson

Action has never really been my genre.  I can’t exactly tell you why, but it’s not really one I go out of my way to watch unless it’s got some kind of hook to it like The Road Warrior, Predator or the greatest action film ever made, Robocop. However, I am beginning to change my tune a little bit and give this genre a bit more attention. What changed my mind and get the action film on my Trash Cinema radar? Two words…

Action Jackson.

Carl Weathers (Predator, Happy Gilmore) plays a badass police Sergeant, Jericho Jackson. Better known as…ACTION JACKSON. The man’s exploits are legendary and purse snatchers simply faint when the man simply looks into their greedy, thieving eyes. However, Action Jackson was demoted from the rank of Lieutenant some time early after a scandal involving a local big wig car magnate named Peter Dellaplane (Craig T. Nelson-Poltergeist, TV’s Coach). See, Jackson nearly tore the arm off this rich, therefore, important member of Detroit’s 1% during an investigation. Don’t garner too much sympathy for Delleplane, see, hie a sexual deviant, sociopath who own a nightclub, kills his competition, enslaves women with heroine and knows kung-fu.  Yeah, the guy’s a major league asshole.

Whenever I think "master of martial arts" I instantly think of Craig T. Nelson.

One such enslaved dope head is his club’s band’s spastic lead singer and sex pot, Sydney Ash, played by none other than 80’s pop star and and ex-Prince fuck buddy, Vanity (The Last Dragon, Tanya’s Island), who bring much believability to her role (*ahem*) and is surprisingly fun to watch on screen as she gets all naked with Criag T. Nelson and ends up having to be saved by Action Jackson as she is targeted for death by Delleplane. These two unlikely allies bond as Jackson is framed for the murder of Delleplane’s ignorant wife, Patrice (played by a pre-stardom Sharon Stone who they still manage to get totally naked for the flick)  and Sydney begins going through what seem to be pretty mild withdrawal symptoms for someone who is supposed to be totally reliant on the drug…

Delleplane's "Boobs for Smack" program in action.

Action Jackson ends up being a balls to the wall, cheese-ball, action flick. The film doesn’t take itself seriously at all and neither should the audience. The cast does a fantastic job of playing off one another , especially Weathers and Nelson who try to steal every scene they have together from one another. Carl Weathers is such an insanely likable actor who exudes a kind spirit as well as a very serious “don’t duck with me or I will crush your bones into powder” aura that you can;t help but like the guy. The character of Action Jackson is reasonable, intelligent, and honorable. Not only that but he forgoes his car during a car chase sequence which was easily one of the highlights of the film for me. That’s right, he RUNS DOWN a cab hurtling full speed down a busy Detroit city street. No, really, he even manages to jump on top of it, punch through the windshield and send the damn thing hurtling into a building…and walks away totally unscathed.

That’s Action Jackson.

Craig T. Nelson…you know, I will never get used to him playing a villain. I thought it was weird in The Devil’s Advocate, and here he’s and out and out psychopath which is even stranger to me. I grew up on Poltergeist so I will always see T. Nelson as a father figure.Still, to my surprise, he managed to pull off the sociopath kung-fu expert, Delleplane, commendably well and you can tell he’s having a blast playing such a scuzzy, irredeemable character. He plays the part with gusto and, in the end, might even steal the show…

Now that's a 200 dollar stunt, right there!

It’s not excessively exploitative, never gets too nasty, and all the elements that need to work do! There are some mind blowing stunts in Action Jackson and some full body burns that are so epic in scale it’s kind of astonishing. Especially early on when a man explodes into flames and goes sailing out an upper level high rise window in slow motion. And that shit happens about 5 minutes into the film! From that moment I was hooked.The fight scenes are really well done, expertly choreographed and edited together and shot very well. Never too choppy that you can’t tell what going on, but just quick enough to make us feel each and every skull cracking blow.

The critics pretty much turned this movie into their bitch and even garnered a  Razzie Award Nomination for Vanity as Worst Actress, which is a real shame, because I really enjoyed her time onscreen. And, no, not just because she shows her tits and runs around with bouncing cleavage for most of the run time. I really felt she did a decent job with the material and played her part pretty damn well.

I'll catch Vanity, you catch Carl, okay?

I think most critics missed the boat with Action Jackson. This flick is supposed to be a fun, B-Movie, action. This isn’t Platoon, gang, this is Action Jackson! Just look at the title! the whole film’s a blast to sit through and I dare you to walk away from this flick without a smile on your face. The action is great, the TnA is plentiful, and the fun is non-stop. There’s electrocution with Christmas lights, a car chase inside a mansion, hilarious one liners, jars of cut off testicles, barbecued ribs, Biff from Back to the Future getting a foot-job, the of the stars of Predator reunited, and the greatest cab catching scene ever committed to film.

In L.A., you don't catch the Christmas Spirit, the Christmas Spirit catches you.

So, if you are in the mood for some fun, non-pretentious, over the top, action fun accept no substitutes. Action Jackson is the real deal.

“There ain’t been any pussy at your pad since your mother helped you move in. They oughta call your place the House of Wax.” – Officer Lack

14
Jul
10

The Woodchipper Massacre: A Backyard Affair

a Primal Root review

Who among my fellow gore hounds has not contemplated the the scenario of watching some poor schmuck getting tossed into a fully functional woodchipper? We’re all seen these machines in action with their intended quarry but just what could that thrasher do to the defenseless human body and just what in the hell would it look like spraying from the other end?

There have been films that feature this scenario, most famously, The Coen Brother’s Oscar winning quirky crime drama, Fargo. Of course, we are seeing the end result after a character has already been murdered, quartered and fed through the human liquefier.  We can’t forget Trash Cinema Classic, The Corpse Grinder, where this scenario was experimented with and there’s even Jackie Chan’s Rumble in the Bronx where some gang banger is devoured by this hungry, godless, machine.

And then there’s Jon McBride’s (Cannibal Campout) 1989 shot on video low budget opus, The Woodchipper Massacre. The first film to wholly exploit our morbid curiosity to see someone shot through one of these contraptions and do so right in the title! Hell, we’ve seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre, why not make the logical step to the woodchipper?

Going into this little film oddity I was expecting it to play much like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre as the title suggests. I went in expecting something much like McBride’s previous work, Cannibal Campout, a bunch of psychotic rednecks roaming the woods looking for terrible actors to eat. Except this time around the rednecks prefer their human meals after they’ve been puréed.

This kid looks like a cannibal to me.

Probably the most shocking aspect of the film is how different it is from what one expects. You go in expecting some kind of survivalist  splatter yarn and what we get is a strange dark children’s film about three siblings–Jon, Denise, and Tom–who have to spend a weekend being baby-sat by their over bearing and psychotically anal Aunt Tess. She forces the kids into manual labor, won’t allow older brother Jon to go out on his dates, is a horrible cook, and refuses Tom the simple pleasures of rocking out the air guitar in his bedroom.

Aunt Tess’s greatest offense comes when little brother Tom receives his mail-in Rambo Survival Hunting knife in the mail and she makes the mistake of trying to yank it away. Tom and Aunt Tess struggle for control before Tom mistakenly/on purpose stabs the old bitch, killing her instantly.  It’s an emotionally heavy moment as all three of the kids must face the reality that their Aunt Tess is now laying sprawled out, dead, in a pool of her own decrepit blood, and at the hand of their little brother to boot!

The children mourn the loss of dearly departed Aunt Tess.

After some soul searching  and crappy comedy sketches involving phone calls from Dad and what not, the children come to a wise and educated decision.  They chuck that unholy dead woman into the woodchipper out back. Sadly, this woodchipper scene leaves much to be desired. First off, Aunt Tess’s body comes off looking like a bunch of  spare ribs with freezer burn, and worst of all, the only thing that shoots out of the chipper chute is what looks like potato chips. You call your movie The Woodchipper Massacre and you better deliver some fucking meat!

I recommend the dry rub on Aunt Tess.

Anyhoo, believe it or not, the kids are not traumatized by their own sadistic and malevolent actions and go about life as normal. There’s not a single moment of remorse over their actions. I guess we didn’t really know Aunt Tess as well as these kids did.  And believe it or not, another person gets tossed in the Chipper! Aunt Tess’s son Kim! He was established earlier as being psychotic and shows up on the scene the next day after Aunt Tess’s date with the Chipper Man.

Kim:Psychotic Man of Action

What in the world does Kim want from the kids? Will anyone else gets thrown in the ‘ol wood chipper? And the biggest question of all…will the yard be cleaned up by the time Dad gets home?

The Woodchipper Massacre plays more like Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead than it does Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It’s an astoundingly chipper, quaint…even cute movie. The last thing I was expecting. I’m not saying this is a bad thing at all. In fact, it kind of works in the film’s favor. It has the feel of an old home made, backyard movie that the family takes out every Thanksgiving and watches and laughs at. In a way, it reminds me of the hilarious weird films my best buds, cousins, and I used to make whenever we had a long weekend or holiday.

It’s cheap, it doesn’t deliver the gore, and the performances are godawful. But it still manages to be a charming and fun viewing experience. It’s Trash Cinema for kids and would work well on a double bill with Jon McBride’s grislier flick, Cannibal Campout.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root




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