Action Jackson (1988)

R | 96 mins | Adventure, Comedy | 12 February 1988

Director:

Craig R. Baxley

Writer:

Robert Reneau

Producer:

Joel Silver

Cinematographer:

Matthew F. Leonetti

Editor:

Mark Helfrich

Production Designer:

Virginia Randolph

Production Company:

Silver Pictures
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HISTORY

       According to HR productions charts published on 19 May 1987, principal photography began 4 May 1987 in Los Angeles, CA, and Detroit, MI. On 20 May 1987, HR stated that filming was set to conclude in late Jun 1987. The 5 May 1987 HR added that the production was scheduled to film in Denver, CO, and a Sep 1987 Box news item, which stated that the movie was still in production, listed New York City as a location. The 6 Jun 1987 L.B. Press-Telegram reported that Queensway Bay in Long Beach, CA, was used for filming a stunt sequence by blowing up a “40-foot make-believe yacht,” which was constructed on a “plywood-façade barge.”
       As noted in various contemporary sources, the film was the directorial debut of Craig R. Baxley. He was previously known for work as a stuntman, stunt director, and second-unit director. A news item from the 12 Mar 1988 Billboard stated the film was the onscreen debut of musician David Glen Eisley, lead vocalist of the band Giuffria.
       On 24 Jan 1988, L.B. Press Telegram reported that the film was conceived and thoroughly edited in eighteen months. Actor Carl Weathers, who reportedly came up with the story, but was not credited onscreen as such, told L.B. Press Telegram that he came up with the idea while acting in Predator (1987, see entry), in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There, he garnered the interested of producer Joel Silver, who liked Weathers’ plan to create a strong, invincible action hero that ... More Less

       According to HR productions charts published on 19 May 1987, principal photography began 4 May 1987 in Los Angeles, CA, and Detroit, MI. On 20 May 1987, HR stated that filming was set to conclude in late Jun 1987. The 5 May 1987 HR added that the production was scheduled to film in Denver, CO, and a Sep 1987 Box news item, which stated that the movie was still in production, listed New York City as a location. The 6 Jun 1987 L.B. Press-Telegram reported that Queensway Bay in Long Beach, CA, was used for filming a stunt sequence by blowing up a “40-foot make-believe yacht,” which was constructed on a “plywood-façade barge.”
       As noted in various contemporary sources, the film was the directorial debut of Craig R. Baxley. He was previously known for work as a stuntman, stunt director, and second-unit director. A news item from the 12 Mar 1988 Billboard stated the film was the onscreen debut of musician David Glen Eisley, lead vocalist of the band Giuffria.
       On 24 Jan 1988, L.B. Press Telegram reported that the film was conceived and thoroughly edited in eighteen months. Actor Carl Weathers, who reportedly came up with the story, but was not credited onscreen as such, told L.B. Press Telegram that he came up with the idea while acting in Predator (1987, see entry), in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. There, he garnered the interested of producer Joel Silver, who liked Weathers’ plan to create a strong, invincible action hero that was also “bright, educated, and sensitive.” Weathers contrasted “Action Jackson” to characters such as “Rambo,” noting, “the other guys were more like machines.” The 24 Jan 1988 L.B. Press Telegram article and a 20 May 1987 HR item explained that the character name and film title were conceived before the story was written. Weathers also reported that he was involved with various stylistic decisions during production, including costume design, hair and makeup.
       According to articles in 5 Jan 1988 DV and 24 Jan 1988 L.B. Press Telegram , distributor Lorimar Film Entertainment preceded the film’s 12 Feb 1988 release with great fanfare, including a promotional tour, sending Jackson across the U.S. for three weeks, and a 30 Jan 1988 appearance on the comedy television series Saturday Night Live (NBC, 11 Oct 1975).
       A 30 Dec 1987 DV news item announced that a potential series for the character Action Jackson was being considered by Lorimar Film Entertainment chairman Bernie Brillstein. A 22 Feb 1988 DV article reported Action Jackson as being the first film completed with Brillstein as chairman of Lorimar, generating $9,800,000 from box office receipts.
      End credits state the following: “Special Thanks to: Coast to Coast Auto Styling, Camp Hill, PA; GMC Trucks; Goncz Gun Company; Heckler & Koch, Inc.; Southwest Auto Leasing; Thompson Knife Company; Vista Group.” The end credits also note: “‘The Flinstones’ clip supplied by Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. © 1964 Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc.”
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Billboard
12 Mar 1988.
---
Box Office
Sep 1987.
---
Daily Variety
1 May 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
4 May 1987
p. 2.
Daily Variety
13 May 1987
p. 4.
Daily Variety
14 May 1987
p. 4.
Daily Variety
4 Jun 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Jul 1987
p. 22.
Daily Variety
30 Dec 1987
p. 3.
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1988
p. 3.
Daily Variety
10 Feb 1988
p. 3.
Daily Variety
22 Feb 1988
p. 1, 22, 30.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Apr 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
5 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
18 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
19 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 May 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
20 Jul 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
23 Jul 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
11 Feb 1988
p. 3, 15.
L.B. Press-Telegram
6 Jun 1987.
---
L.B. Press-Telegram
24 Jan 1988
p. F1, F7.
Los Angeles Times
12 Feb 1988
p. 21.
New York Times
12 Feb 1988
p. 10.
Variety
6 Jan 1988
p. 25.
Variety
17 Feb 1988
p. 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Silver Pictures Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Unit prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
Cam asst
"B" cam op
Key grip
Best boy
Dolly grip
Best boy
Elec
Still photog
Cam op, Second unit
Cam op, Second unit
Steadicam op, Second unit
Cam asst, Second unit
Cam asst, Second unit
Grip, Second unit
Grip, Second unit
Gaffer, Second unit
Gaffer, Second unit
Elec, Second unit
Elec, Second unit
Elec, Second unit
Dir of photog, Detroit unit
Cam op, Detroit unit
Cam asst, Detroit unit
Ultracam™ 35 cam and lenses provided by
ART DIRECTORS
Visual consultant
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
Asst film ed
Assoc ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Prop master
Weapons specialist
Const foreman
Paint foreman
Prod painter
Labor foreman
Swing gang
Swing gang
Swing gang
Mr. Quick's knife and sheath des and built by
Weatherford, Texas
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Men's set costumer
Women's set costumer
Action footwear provided by
Tuxedos from the Robert Wagner collection by
MUSIC
with
Mus
Mus supv
Mus editing
Supv mus ed
Mus scoring mixer
SOUND
Prod sd mixer
Boom man
Sd eff
Sd eff
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Sd eff ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Asst sd ed
Post-prod dial
Supv dial ed
Dial ed
Dial ed
Dial asst
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR ed
ADR asst
ADR asst
Foley ed
Foley by
Foley by
Foley mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec mixer
Re-rec
Re-rec
Asst re-rec
ADR mixer
ADR rec
Maintenance eng
Dubbing projectionist
Prod sd mixer, Second unit
Boom op, Second unit
Dolby Stereo consultant
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff coord
Spec eff foreman
Spec EFX propmaker
Spec EFX propmaker
Spec EFX propmaker
Main and end titles des
New York City
DANCE
Choreog
Asst choreog
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Prod assoc
Prod assoc
Scr supv
Casting assoc
Extra casting
Extra casting
Pub coord
Loc mgr
Loc mgr
Asst loc mgr
Prod coord
Transportation capt, Second unit
Prod accountant, Detroit unit
Asst accountant, Detroit unit
Prod secy, Detroit unit
Asst to Joel Silver, Detroit unit
Asst to Joel Silver, Detroit unit
Asst to Carl Weathers, Detroit unit
Prod asst, Detroit unit
Prod asst, Detroit unit
Prod asst, Detroit unit
Prod asst, Detroit unit
Transportation coord, Detroit unit
Transportation capt, Detroit unit
Transportation capt, Detroit unit
Caterer, Detroit unit
Craft service, Detroit unit
Helicopter pilot
Helicopter ground coord
Transportation capt
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
Driver
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
Stunts
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col timer
Col and prints by
SOURCES
SONGS
“He Turned Me Out,” performed by the Pointer Sisters, written by Lemel Humes and Mary Lee Kortes, produced by Richard Perry, © 1987 MCA Music Inc./Warner-Tamerlane Music Corp., All Rights Reserved, Courtesy of RCA Records
“Vesti La Giubba,” by Leoncavallo, performed by Mario Del Monaco, Courtesy London Records (A Division of Polygram Classics, Inc.)
“Action Jackson,” performed by Madame X, written by Bernadette Cooper, produced by Bernadette Cooper for Slap Me One Productions, © 1988 Slap Me One Music/Spectrum Seven Music/Lorimar Music A Corp., All Rights Reserved, Courtesy of Atlantic Records
+
SONGS
“He Turned Me Out,” performed by the Pointer Sisters, written by Lemel Humes and Mary Lee Kortes, produced by Richard Perry, © 1987 MCA Music Inc./Warner-Tamerlane Music Corp., All Rights Reserved, Courtesy of RCA Records
“Vesti La Giubba,” by Leoncavallo, performed by Mario Del Monaco, Courtesy London Records (A Division of Polygram Classics, Inc.)
“Action Jackson,” performed by Madame X, written by Bernadette Cooper, produced by Bernadette Cooper for Slap Me One Productions, © 1988 Slap Me One Music/Spectrum Seven Music/Lorimar Music A Corp., All Rights Reserved, Courtesy of Atlantic Records
“Faraway Eyes,” performed by Vanity, written by Jesse Johnson and Sue Ann Carwell, produced by Jesse Johnson for J.W.J. Productions, Inc., © 1987 Crazy People Music (Administered by Almo Music Corp.), All Rights Reserved
“Protect And Serve,” performed by West Coast Posse, written by Stevie Salas, Pee Wee Jam and M. C. Jam, produced by Stevie ‘No Wonder’ Salas for Powertrax, © 1988 Lorimar Music Bee Corp., All Rights Reserved
“Keeping Good Loving,” performed by Sister Sledge, written by Kae Williams, Jr. and Kathy Sledge, produced by Kae Williams, Jr., Phillip Lightfoot and Kathy Sledge, © 1988 Pizzazz Music/Christopher Songs/Lorimar Music Bee Corp., All Rights Reserved
“Undress,” performed by Vanity, written by Teresa Laws, Kim Cage, Jerrie Hubbard and Vanity, produced by Jesse Johnson for J.W.J. Productions, Inc., © 1987 Crazy People Music (Administered by Almo Music Corp.), All Rights Reserved
“Lovers’ Celebration,” performed by Skyy, written by Randy Muller, produced by Randy Muller and Solomon Roberts for Alligator Bit Him Productions, © 1988 One to One Music Publishing Co., All Rights Reserved, Courtesy Atlantic Recording Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“Funky Broadway,” performed by Wilson Pickett, written by Arlester Christian, produced by Jerry Wexler, © 1966 Drive-In Music Corp./Music Sales Corp., By Arrangement with Original Sound Entertainment, All Rights Reserved, Courtesy Atlantic Recording Corp. by arrangement with Warner Special Products
“That’ll Be The Day,” performed by the Knudsen Bros., written by Norman Petty, Buddy Holly and Jerry Allison, © 1957 MPL Communications, Inc. and Wren Music Co., All Rights Reserved
“Shotgun,” performed by Vanity and David Koz and featuring vocalist Kareem, written by Autry DeWalt, produced by Jeff Lorber--Associate Producer David Koz, © 1965 Stone Agate Music (A Division of Jobete Music Co., Inc.), All Rights Reserved
“For The Love Of Money,” performed by Levert, written by Kenneth Gamble, Leon Huff and Anthony Jackson, produced by Craig Cooper, Gerald Levert and Marc Gordon for Trevel Production Company, Inc., © 1974 Mighty Three Music (administered by the Mighty Three Music Group), All Rights Reserved, Courtesy of Atlantic Records.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
12 February 1988
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 12 February 1988
Production Date:
4 May -- late June 1987
Physical Properties:
Sound
Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo® SR in selected theatres
Color
Lenses/Prints
Ultracam™ 35 Cameras and Lenses provided by Leonetti Cine Rentals; Prints by Metrocolor
Duration(in mins):
96
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28927
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

One night in Detroit, Michigan, Frank Stringer of the Auto Workers Alliance (AWA) and his secretary, Liz, are murdered by a gang called the Invisible Men: Gamble, Thaw, Shaker, Marlin, and Birch. The following day Albert, a purse thief, is arrested and brought to the police station. The officers warn him of the temperamental Harvard Law School graduate Sergeant Jericho “Action” Jackson. Albert attempts to escape, but spills coffee on Jackson’s desk, and when Jackson speaks to him, Albert faints. After, Jackson meets with Capt. Armbruster, who orders him to attend the Detroit Businessmen League’s Man of the Year Fundraiser, honoring Peter Dellaplane, a prominent automobile maker. Upset, Jackson argues that Dellaplane provoked his demotion to sergeant from lieutenant. That evening at the fundraiser, Jackson meets Patrice, Dellaplane’s second wife, as Dellaplane gives a speech. Elsewhere, the Invisible Men blow up a yacht, killing all onboard, including Lionel Grantham, an official at AWA. Jackson returns home after the fundraiser, listens to a telephone message from his friend, Tony Moretti, and watches a television report about the explosion. The next day Tony telephones the station, looking for Jackson. Jackson goes to Tony’s apartment and sees Tony holding a gun. Tony fears that he himself will be killed because he knows Dellaplane is ordering the murders of AWA officials. Tony advises Jackson to talk to Sydney Ash, who is a singer at Joey’s Club Elite, and Dellaplane’s mistress. After Jackson leaves, an Invisible Men gang member kills Tony. Meanwhile, at the club, Dellaplane watches Sydney rehearse a song. When she finishes, they go to her apartment ... +


One night in Detroit, Michigan, Frank Stringer of the Auto Workers Alliance (AWA) and his secretary, Liz, are murdered by a gang called the Invisible Men: Gamble, Thaw, Shaker, Marlin, and Birch. The following day Albert, a purse thief, is arrested and brought to the police station. The officers warn him of the temperamental Harvard Law School graduate Sergeant Jericho “Action” Jackson. Albert attempts to escape, but spills coffee on Jackson’s desk, and when Jackson speaks to him, Albert faints. After, Jackson meets with Capt. Armbruster, who orders him to attend the Detroit Businessmen League’s Man of the Year Fundraiser, honoring Peter Dellaplane, a prominent automobile maker. Upset, Jackson argues that Dellaplane provoked his demotion to sergeant from lieutenant. That evening at the fundraiser, Jackson meets Patrice, Dellaplane’s second wife, as Dellaplane gives a speech. Elsewhere, the Invisible Men blow up a yacht, killing all onboard, including Lionel Grantham, an official at AWA. Jackson returns home after the fundraiser, listens to a telephone message from his friend, Tony Moretti, and watches a television report about the explosion. The next day Tony telephones the station, looking for Jackson. Jackson goes to Tony’s apartment and sees Tony holding a gun. Tony fears that he himself will be killed because he knows Dellaplane is ordering the murders of AWA officials. Tony advises Jackson to talk to Sydney Ash, who is a singer at Joey’s Club Elite, and Dellaplane’s mistress. After Jackson leaves, an Invisible Men gang member kills Tony. Meanwhile, at the club, Dellaplane watches Sydney rehearse a song. When she finishes, they go to her apartment and Dellaplane gives her a syringe for her drug habit. Later, Jackson learns from the coroner that Tony is dead and Jackson’s former partner, Detective Kotterwell, rules the death a suicide. However, Jackson is convinced that Tony was murdered. The following day, Dellaplane and Patrice entertain AWA president Raymond Foss at an exclusive restaurant. Jackson arrives unexpectedly to inform Dellaplane of Tony’s death, but the tycoon replies that he doesn’t know Jackson’s deceased friend. Later, at Dellaplane’s mansion, Patrice leaves the steam room and overhears Cartier, one of Dellaplane’s henchmen, on the telephone mentioning Tony and what the deceased man might have told Jackson. Patrice tries to discuss the matter with Dellaplane, but he leaves for a meeting. After dressing, Patrice opens the front door to find Jackson, and they drive into town together. At a bar, Patrice tells Jackson what she overheard about Tony and a man named Oliver O’Ronney. When they leave, an Invisible Man, Gamble, attempts to run them over with a taxi. Jackson pulls Patrice out of the way, and chases the taxi on foot, as Gamble tries to ram into Jackson with the vehicle. Although Jackson jumps over the taxi before it crashes into a building, Gamble escapes. Returning to the police station, Jackson looks for Patrice and an officer gives him a note from her, stating her intention to tell Dellaplane what she overheard about Tony. That night Jackson talks to Sydney at the club. He goes backstage, but is stopped by Sydney’s bodyguard, Edd. After shoving Edd through the dressing room door, Jackson leaves with Sydney. Meanwhile, Dellaplane returns home and Cartier hands him a recently cleaned gun. He finds Patrice crying in the bedroom and she tells him about Cartier’s telephone call. When she mentions she spoke to Jackson, he shoots her dead with his gun. While driving with Sydney, Jackson sees police cars in front of his building. He learns from his car’s police radio that Patrice has been murdered and her body was found in his apartment. They drive to Sydney’s apartment, arriving as the telephone rings and triggers an explosion. The two escape and hide in a hotel. There, Jackson introduces Sydney to Kid Sable, the hotel clerk and a former prizefighter. The next morning, Jackson and Sydney find his car stripped, then walk to a local poolroom to look for a former informant of Jackson’s. However, the bartender leads him to the backroom and knocks him unconscious. When Jackson awakens, a trio of criminals and the bartender announce their plan to castrate him. Sydney arrives, claiming that Jackson is her mentally unstable brother. He acts along with Sydney’s lie, then fights the group and Jackson and Sydney escape to the hotel. Kid Sable directs Jackson to a barbershop stylist named Dee and while Sydney stays in the hotel room, Jackson learns about the Invisible Men from Dee. She also informs Jackson that Oliver O’Ronney is in the AWA and frequents a bar called the Red Devil. Returning to the hotel room, Jackson finds Sydney missing, but locates her in another room with Mr. Quick, a drug dealer. As Jackson fights Mr. Quick and throws him through the window, two police officers witness the scene. Jackson and Sydney leap from the window onto Jackson’s car and steal the police car. While driving, Jackson tells Sydney how Dellaplane framed him for Patrice’s murder. Warning that she will be Dellaplane’s next victim, he convinces her to help him. Later that night, they drive to the Red Devil, and Sydney kisses Jackson before heading inside. There, she finds O’Ronney and tells him Dellaplane sent her. As they leave the bar, Edd watches unnoticed. Early the next morning, Sydney and O’Ronney drive to an empty factory to supposedly meet Dellaplane, but Jackson is there instead and asks O’Ronney about Dellaplane’s plan. O’Ronney informs Jackson that Dellaplane is going to kill AWA president Raymond Foss at a party that night and blame the murder on Jackson. Suddenly, Sydney yells for help and Jackson finds she is being held hostage by the Invisible Men. He too, is captured and brought to another factory, where Dellaplane tells him he wants control of the AWA and that he murdered Patrice. He then explains that Gamble will kill Foss, disguised as Jackson. Dellaplane leaves, ordering three Invisible Men to kill Jackson. However, Sydney’s bodyguard, Edd, rescues Jackson. That evening, Dellaplane hosts an outdoor party for Foss. Jackson sneaks in and sees Gamble in a tree with a sniper rifle, aimed at Foss. After creating a distraction, Jackson knocks Gamble out of the tree and onto metal fence posts, where he is fatally impaled. Meanwhile, Dellaplane holds Sydney hostage. As party guests panic and run, Sydney screams for Jackson from the mansion’s second story. He drives a car inside the mansion and maneuvers the vehicle upstairs, crashing into the room. As Jackson fights his nemesis, Dellaplane fires his gun, hitting Jackson’s shoulder. However, Jackson grabs a gun at the same time and shoots Dellaplane dead. Sometime later, police Capt. Armbruster assesses the crime scene and promotes Jackson to his former rank of lieutenant. Sydney promises Jackson that she will stop using drugs and they kiss. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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