Pulpmovies Cult Film Reviews
So what do you get if you start off with a comic book inspired spoof of James Bond and then – by way of some very silly cartoon violence – a broad dig at the whole genre of video game inspired films?
You get Jack Action, the million-dollar mystery man.
To be fair, the above description is far too limited. Like Lethal Force, Jack Action sets out – both successfully and enjoyably – to spoof every action sub-genre there is. So as well as James Bond and video games, science fiction, horror, martial arts movies, Die Hard, and much more are all mercilessly mocked in an uproariously silly package.
The Jack Action DVD is split into three parts…
There are two short films on the DVD – Jack and the Red Cosmos and Jack Vs. The Army of Steel. I was originally planning to review each of these films separately, but there really isn’t a lot of point since everything that can be said about one film can be repeated about the other.
Jack Action (Antti Murtonen) discovers a nefarious plot - destroy the world in the first film, steal plutonium for a ninja army in the second (no-one said any of this had to make sense) – and sets out to save the world.
And on this simple plot thread hangs physics defying insanity, a wilful disregard of time and distance and lots of very over the top violence. In fact, everything that can make action films – as well as action oriented science fiction and horror films (and Jack Action takes a poke at both) - such an annoying genre.
However, when all of this is dragged through the comic sensibilities of the Trash Video team, what emerges is something that retains a clear sense of fun and which is very, very funny.
Also worth mentioning – and very significant in terms of the feel of the films – is the heavy use of captions, split-screens and inserts which combine very effectively to create the feeling that these are live action comic books rather than more traditional films.
The Ultimate Action is a collection of six episodes of gore heavy action oriented jokes made between 1999 and 2003. There’s no real plot to any of these films – Action Unknown comes closest – but they do provide a lot of very over the top fun.
The ludicrously comedic violence of the early films – especially Action Hervanta and Warriors of Action Hervanta – reminded me in many ways of the Dangerous Brothers . But top marks for both humour – and plot, for that matter – has to go to the sheer silliness of Action Unknown.
It’s worth noting that – unlike the rest of the Trash Video team’s output – these films are in English with Finnish subtitles.
As well as the requisite trailers, the DVD also includes a couple of music videos. What you make of these will probably depend of how you find King’O’War, but I enjoyed them – especially Black Sausage.
And finally, Jack Action is based on comics written and drawn by Matti Kuusniemi during his Philosophy classes. Which goes to prove that even philosophy is good for something.