Picks and Pans Review: Action Jackson

updated 03/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/21/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Former stunt coordinator Craig R. Baxley claims this is his first feature film as director. In fact, it is more like a bunch of action sequences strung together, barely, by a stupid plot, one-dimensional characters, bad acting and dopey dialogue. Carl (Rocky) Weathers plays a detective who has a Harvard law degree but prefers to do hand-to-hand combat in Detroit. He's out to get auto chieftain Craig T. Nelson, who's killing off auto union leaders so he can replace them with his cronies. Baxley adds an occasional touch of sorely needed self-mockery but usually takes himself far too seriously. When Weathers discovers the havoc Nelson is up to, he doesn't say something like, "This is taking union busting a bit too far." He soberly goes over the list of Nelson's transgressions again, as if the audience might want to check its notes. Vanity plays a nightclub singer as well as Nelson's mistress; her main credit should be as a set decoration. There was a time this would have been called black exploitation; now it just seems like a rotten movie. (R)

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