Crackerjack (1994)

CrackerjackPosterCrackerjack is a typically stupid Die Hard clone saved only by the fact that it is a typically stupid Die Hard clone. Slavish in its devotion to all the obvious elements of Die Hard while completely uninterested in emulating anything that actually made Die Hard a classic, Crackerjack still manages to blow up two helicopters, a cable car, and an entire resort! And it managed to do all that damage with the Breck Girl of the wannabe action stars of the 1990s, Thomas Ian Griffith!

When we last saw Thomas Ian, he was swishing his perfectly gaudy mane of girlish hair around as a bad ass Chicago cop in Excessive Force. In that self-indulgent cartoon rouge cop movie, Thomas Ian worked overtime to convince us that he was the next Seagal, Van Damme, and Speakman all rolled into one!

And you know what, Thomas Ian? You sold me! You’re all those guys put together times ten, but like with a great hair stylist!

And having established his credentials as a posing pretty boy who abuses the martial arts in his movies, Thomas Ian knows that to cement his status as “one of those guys in a bunch of action movies you never heard of that went straight to video” he has to turn it up another notch in Crackerjack!

And what a notch it is! It’s the highest notch an action star can go to! We’re talking burned out cop haunted by his past notch here!

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When we meet Jack Wild (Jack Wild? Thomas Ian knows his action stuff doesn’t he?), he’s going ape shit all over a stakeout he’s working on, charging in, guns blazing, using bad guys as human shields and almost getting his partner killed!

It’s been a whole year since the mob blew up his daughter and kids, but he just can’t get past it! In fact, he’s so fudged up that all the guys at the station are calling him Crackerjack! Well shoot, you got a bad ass nickname out of the whole dead family situation, so it wasn’t a total butt punch, was it?

Well, Crackerjack isn’t really going to have a chance to move on with his life until he gets a chance to kill a team of ruthless mercenaries which somehow enables him to hook up with a sexy blonde activities director at an isolated Rocky Mountain resort, so it’s a good thing his pushy sister-in-law cajoles him into accompanying her family on a little vacation!

A little vacation to the very resort where a mob boss is hanging around with $50 million worth of diamonds! That an ex-East German Secret Police guy turned neo-Nazi (he even quotes Mein Kampf!) desperately wants to finance his private army with! And the resort sits in a gully right below a mammoth glacier that the terrorists have wired to explode!

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Such a scenario is just the sort of thing that an action hero needs to clear his mind. Running around hallways, rummaging through storage rooms for gear, and taunting the lead terrorist periodically over a stolen walkie talkie releases all kinds of feel-good brain chemicals and has been scientifically proven to have the same effect on an action hero that getting the new issue of the Victoria’s Secret catalog in the mail has on us regular guys.

But for Crackerjack, this particular Die Hard fan fiction is personal! Can you believe that the East German in charge is the very same guy that blew up Crackerjack’s family last year? Crud, I wouldn’t believe it if he wasn’t!

With Thomas Ian at the controls, Crackerjack has no problems maintaining its entertaining death grip over its audience. Thomas Ian’s patented faux-intensity, combined with his bouts of total disinterest, all topped off with a healthy helping of mousse make us giggle every time Crackerjack gets stabbed or shot. I’ll admit that I laughed out loud when the Marines shot Crackerjack in the leg!

The Marines? What kind of action hero is calling in the Marines? Don’t worry about it. Crackerjack manages to get them all blown up before they can actually provide any assistance!

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Still, I was never too sure just why the Marines were the organization sending out a rescue helicopter or invading this resort. I didn’t realize that the Marines sat around their command posts in the Rocky Mountains manning distress signals from ski resorts, but I guess that’s how we stay one step ahead of East German mercs. Except when they get the drop on us and blast everyone to Kingdom Come.

As you might expect in a movie where a resort is taken over by terrorists, it doesn’t actually make a whole lot of sense. The East German wants the diamonds that a mob boss has with him (the mob boss wants to go to Rome and give them to the Pope so that the Pope will hear his confession and forgive him for his sins before he dies), but I wasn’t sure why that necessitated taking over the resort.

Supposedly, he needed to make the resort look like a natural disaster wrecked it to cover his tracks so the mob wouldn’t come back on him for stealing the diamonds, but if he stole the diamonds and killed the mob boss, how would they know it was him anyway? And couldn’t he just make it look like the old fart slipped in the shower or something? This guy was ex-East German Secret Police after all!

Besides Thomas Ian’s annoyingly smug presence, Crackerjack benefits from actual actor Christopher Plummer (The Sound Of Music) as the East German Nazi. He’s dressed in his finest Eurotrash black outfit and when not quoting from Adolf’s book, gets off the line of the movie when he asserts that Lady Luck is spreading her legs for him! (And obviously for the indiscriminate action movie fan, too!)

© 2015 MonsterHunter

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