BLOCKBUSTED B-Movie Blogathon: Action Jackson (1988) & Dark Angel (1990)

BlockbustedBMovie

Katy from Girl Meets Cinema spearheaded this Blogathon, inspired by the recent Godzilla movie.

Choose a super cheesy blockbuster B-rated movie(s). Genres include: disaster flicks (examples: Twister, Poseidon), alien invasions (i.e. Independence Day, Mars Attacks), creature attacks (Eight Legged Freaks, Tremors), retro horror (i.e. The Crawling Eye, The Blob), and 80s and 90s action (i.e. Total Recall, Armageddon), supernatural (The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Van Helsing), etc. In your post, include a picture(s) of your selection (etc) and reasons why you love that particular movie. Characteristics to consider may be the sense of adventure, the cast, the script, the one-liners, an nostalgic memory, the cult following. Share all the reasons why you are shamelessly in love with this particular movie; the sky’s the limit!

It’s time to spread the shameless love for B-movie awesomeness.

TedSaydalavongBanner

As a big fan of summer blockbuster films, I have an endless list of B-movies that I can name but I don’t know if big summer movies should be consider B-movies? I mean most of them stars A-list actors, have gigantic budgets and support from studios. To me B-movies are the lesser known ones that don’t have a big budget and most of them weren’t hits at the box office. With that in mind, I’d like to write about two movies that absolutely fits the B-movie category and both were directed by the same person: Craig R. Baxley.

Here are two B-movies that I shamelessly love:

Action Jackson (1988)

ActionJackson1988Producer Joel Silver was on the top of his game back in the 80s, he’d produced many of the box office hits in that decade (48 Hrs., Lethal Weapon, Predator) and he wanted to create a character similar to Shaft for the 80s audiences and Jericho “Action” Jackson was born. Silver recruited second unit director Craig R. Baxley to helm this smaller budgeted action film and he signed Carl Weathers AKA Apollo Creed to play the title role. The film also stars Craig T. Nelson as the villain, the young Sharon Stone and the then popular singer and actress Vanity. The film was box office dud but sort of gained a small cult following and I shamelessly love it!

Why do I think it’s a great B-movie?

Well it’s a fun action flick that’s full of 80s cheesy one liners and Carl Weathers was pretty great as Action Jackson. Just like many action heroes of that era, he’s an honest cop who always figured things out before anyone else, his superior and co-workers don’t like him and of course the bad guys want him dead. Weathers was perfectly cast as the man of action, he played the role pretty straight and didn’t do anything over the top or took it too seriously. The antagonist in the film was the always great Craig T. Nelson, he’s your typical 80s villain. He’s powerful and always have endless henchmen who can’t seem to kill our hero. Sharon Stone had a brief screen time and her role didn’t really add much to the movie. The weakest link here is Vanity, yes she’s pretty but she can’t act and to have her be a love interest was kind of weird. She’s basically a junkie and didn’t care about herself yet somehow Action Jackson fell for her? That’s the only thing annoyed me about the movie.

ActionJackson_stills

Craig R. Baxley was a second unit director on Predator and I assume that’s how he got to direct this film, he shot most of the action sequences in that film and here he didn’t disappoint. He staged a pretty cool foot/car chase and the hand to hand combat finally between Jackson and the villain was pretty great. What I found a little surprising was the film didn’t include any big shootouts, in fact there weren’t any a shoot out at all, pretty rare for an action film of the 80s. Maybe that’s the reason why it didn’t perform well at the box office, people were expecting to see big shootouts and the film didn’t have any.

If there’s a film that deserves a remake, Action Jackson should be on the list. If they do it right, it can a potential franchise for the studio. I think Idris Elba would be the perfect choice to play Jackson.

Here’s the film’s original theatrical trailer:

Dark Angel: I Come In Peace (1990)

DarkAngel1990After Action Jackson, Craig R. Baxley got to make another B-grade action picture. This one starred Dolph Lundgren as a cop trying to take down an alien who kills humans because our brain have some sort of drug that he can sell on his planet. Sounds silly right? Well it wouldn’t be a B-movie if the story isn’t as silly as this one.

I would describe the movie as Predator meets Lethal Weapon, it’s sort of an alien invasion but also a buddy cop action/adventure. As mentioned, Lundgren played the rogue cop and again he’s your typical 80s/90s action hero. He knows everything but can’t seem to convince people to believe him, his boss constantly yells at him and he can take down an army of bad guys.

Brian Benben co-starred as the sidekick/buddy and I thought he’s quite hilarious in the role. It’s too bad his career never took off. The main villain is played by the always frightening actor Matthias Hues, he’s a perfect antagonist to the tall Dolph Lundgren. Their mano-a-mano showdown was fun to watch.

DarkAngel1990_stills

Being that the movie doesn’t have much of a plot, Baxley was able to keep pace moving smoothly by incorporating some good shootouts and a very cool climatic car chase. I don’t know what else to say about this movie except that if you haven’t seen it, I would recommend you check it out because it’s so silly that you might laugh along with it or at it. No, it’s not a great movie but it sure was entertaining.

Here’s the original theatrical trailer:


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Those are my two absolute favorite B-movies and I would highly recommend you check them out just for pure entertainment cheesy fun. 

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19 thoughts on “BLOCKBUSTED B-Movie Blogathon: Action Jackson (1988) & Dark Angel (1990)

  1. This really takes me back in time. I remember both films. That’s funny. I remember Dark Angel as exclusively titled, “I Come in Peace.” Action Jackson almost reminds me of a 70s exploitation film, made in the 80s. I remember watching that movie thinking “what in the world is this?” Vanity was so insane in that film.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha yeah, Dark Angel was renamed to I Come In Peace when it was released here in the States. The studio didn’t want people to be confuse it with some other films with Angel in the title, such as Angel Heart and We’re No Angels.

      Yeah Action Jackson just felt like it’s made in the 70s during the Blaxploitation era.

  2. Thank you for participating, Ted! I haven’t seen Action Jackson and Dark Angel: I Come In Peace, but they both look like the kind of action movie that my family would love to watch. The trailers alone are classic. 🙂

  3. Victor De Leon

    I recall these 2 films! They were both a blast. I watched them back in the Bronx as a kid at the theaters. Nice work. I need to re-visit them, now! 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Victor. Yeah I first saw these two films when I was very young and loved back then. You can now get them on Bluray at a very cheap price!

  4. jackdeth72

    Hi, Katy and Ted:

    Great idea for a Blogathon!

    With two auspicious choices from Ted!

    I Come In Peace is delightful and endearing in a high cholesterol, grimy, shiny, Dolph kind of way opposite a superbly arrogant alien. While Action Jackson is a natural progression of Larry Cohen’s Black Caesar and an even earlier, Trouble Man .
    Who’s so cool, he hangs at a pool hall with a coke machine that spits out .a 45 Colt ACP!

    Personal favorites would include Issac Hayes’ Truck Turner and The Hidden . Along with a back roads, Rip Torn Country & Western gem, Payday . And for bikers, you can’t go wrong with William Smith, Adam Roarke and The Losers , aka ‘Nam Angels .

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Jack!

      I think I remember seeing Black Caesar years ago, Action Jackson definitely tried to bring back the Blaxploitation to the 80s.

      Wow, I totally forgot about The Hidden, I remember I used to watch it every time it’s on TV. I haven’t the others you mentioned though.

  5. PrairieGirl

    Hey Ted, great post. Now I have another fun movie to add to my queue: Action Jackson 😀
    I’m kind of partial to the very first Evil Dead movie. Gotta love that Bruce Campbell!

    1. Ted S.

      Hey Becky, I think you’ll enjoy Action Jackson, especially if you like Carl Weathers. It’s too bad he never became the big action heroes star like his co-stars Arnold and Sly. He’s great in this movie.

      I loved the first Evil Dead film, I don’t get scare easily but I remember I had nightmares after seeing that film.

  6. I second Action Jackson as one of the cheesiest actioners that’s entertaining as hell. And Craig T. Nelson was a wonderful villain in the piece. Yeah, Vanity was pure eye candy, and little else. Still, a fun flick. Haven’t seen Dark Angel, but I might give it a try someday. Thanks for this, Ted.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Michael!

      Yeah Vanity was gorgeous but she’s an awful actress. I love Craig T. Nelson in this film, he’s so over top as the typical 80s villain, it’s mix of Hans Gruber and Gary Busey’s villainous role in the first Lethal Weapon film.

      I think you’ll like Dark Angel, it’s a lot of fun. It finally came out on Bluray last year, I’ve been waiting for it to come out for years!

  7. I remember Dark Angel. Largely because of Brian Benben of Dream On which was a show I grew up watching. It’s a cheesy film but a fun one. Action Jackson is awesome. There’s no shame in liking those films.

    1. Ted S.

      Oh that’s right Brian Benben starred in Dream On, totally forgot about that show!

      Yeah I love Action Jackson, it’s finally came out on Bluray last year and I’ve watched it several time since I bought it.

    1. Ted S.

      Ha ha, yeah Action Jackson was constantly on TV when I was younger and that’s when I fell in love with it. I remember seeing a trailer of I Come In Peace and when it came out on VHS, I begged my dad to rent to rent for it, I was too young to rent it on my own back then; you need to be at least 17 years old to rent an R-rated flick, oh the memories.

  8. Two films I haven’t seen but I know I’ll have plenty of fun with. I love a good/trashy 80s B-movie! Thanks for the recommendations Ted! 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      Dan, I think you’ll enjoy both of these films if you’re into cheesy 80s/90s action flicks. For such a small budget production, both of them contained some great look action sequences. You can find both of them pretty cheap on Bluray now.

  9. Action Jackson was a lot of fun, but I agree wholeheartedly about Vanity being a major flaw with the film. Her character should have been the “one scene and done” character; had the film given more of a focus to Stone’s character, and made her the love interest, I think it would have been a more solid film, and likely a more successful one.

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