Thursday, March 27, 2008

That's Action (1991)

The Action Mutant…
does not lend his name to this particular product in any way.

That’s Action (1991)

review by Joe Burrows


Believe it or not,
This gig won’t cover my cab fare
I never thought I could work for free-ee-e!
Pawning away a swing and a chair
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's A.I.P!

Heh. Robert Culp.

The Plot, as it was:
Robert Culp (TV’s I Spy & The Greatest American Hero, Big Bad Mama II) hosts a highlight reel of scenes from…get ready…films produced by Action International Pictures! Whether its segments on chases, fights, shootouts or stunts, Robert is there to introduce them with the type of fervor you would imagine someone getting paid with a ham sandwich and Diet RC Cola would. Along the way, he highlights several B movie luminaries that grace these films (David Carradine, Robert Ginty, Oliver Reed, Reb Brown, Ted “DANTON” Pryor, William Zipp, etc.) and adds in worn sayings, such as “I bet that had to hurt” and “That’s not my idea of a Sunday swim!” After the credits roll, he most likely pulls out his wallet photo of him and Bill Cosby from I Spy and spits on it.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
As ridiculous as it seems for a film studio to put together a serious highlight reel when they’ve only been in business five years, imagine trying to watch it! Despite clocking in at 77 minutes, That’s Action (or This is Action, as the main titles in the program state) feels like every bit of the two hours it is allotted on TV. Culp’s introductions do nothing to make us want to get into what is coming up next and the footage that follows usually confirms that. There are a few fun clips (which I’ll get to below) and it might be better for some to catch them here (as opposed to the films themselves, which are risky propositions at best). In the end, That’s Action is barely good enough to act as a gratuitous fix for violence since A.I.P.’s films are not exactly technical masterpieces and the format grows tiresome quickly.

Body Count/Violence: I didn’t feel comfortable with clocking up the bodies in a glorified highlight reel because I don’t know how the characters died in context within the stories of the films (i.e. Did they appear to die, only to come back later on?, etc.). The viewer basically gets a little bit of everything in each segment (as mentioned above) so bodies aren’t always flying left and right. However, there are two lengthy clips from Rage to Kill so the final total is probably in the 60-70 range. In lieu of an actual count, I’ll list some highlights:
- David Carradine summoning his robotic arm to fly through the air and pound Robert Tessier to death in Future Force!
- Night Wars, where Vietnam vets fight soldiers in their dreams, complete with shooting guns at the ceiling while they're sleeping and Dan Haggerty praying for their gas sniffin’, orphan beatin’ souls!
- Ollie Reed’s demented target practice in Rage to Kill!
- A clip from an unknown film where a man thanks his girlfriend for getting him an important envelope, then promptly chucks her out of the helicopter they're flying in!
- The training montage from Mankillers!
- The clips from Aerobicide, where a model fries in a tanning bed and a serial killer uses the stupidest weapon ever!
- SPACE MUTINY! (The chase scene highlighted reminds me of the MST3K episode on it: “This vehicle may reach speeds in excess of 3! Sound the siren! *cue circus music*).

Sexuality/Nudity: A black woman with big jugs gets stabbed in the shower in Aerobicide. I can’t help but to also mention the skimpy costumes in Mankillers.

Language/Dialogue: Some here and there.

How bad was it?: No reviews but IMDB’s reader rating is 3.0/10.

Did it make the studio’s day?: Are you kidding?

Film: *1/2/*****
Entertainment value: **/*****

Copyright 2008 The Action Mutant.

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