‘Action Point,’ dreadful movie on so many levels


Hey thrill seekers! From the people that brought you “Jackass: The Movie,” we have “Jackass: The Amusement Park.” Johnny Knoxville, now 47, returns with his own brand of humor, pratfalls and gross-out gags. Not the same as the old days, his half-fast performance still has a way of cracking up friends in low places.

Sadly, this story about “Action Point” is inspired by an actual amusement park of the same name in Vernon, New Jersey. The park reported at least six deaths and countless injuries under original ownership in the 80s to mid-90s. Filmed in South Africa, Knoxville stars as D.C., the outlandish owner of a low-budget, out-of-control amusement park.

These rides were designed with minimum safety for maximum fun. What could go wrong? Those crying for less government regulation will love this movie. D.C. explains, “Back then, there was a thing called personal responsibility. If you had an accident, you just dusted yourself off and bragged about it. “Of course, this gives Knoxville an excuse to resume his patented act of slapstick comedy and hard-core physical humor.

After all, who wouldn’t want to see some Bozo get catapulted into a barn door, have beanbags shot at him and fire-hosed down a water slide? The reason this works is the same reason audiences have been watching guys get hit in the groin for almost 30 years on “America’s Funniest Videos.”

Probably not as offensive as his early ventures almost two decades ago, but still far beyond anything allowed on TV, Knoxville, performs his own outrageous stunts, which yielded four concussions, a broken hand, torn meniscus, a whiplash, stitches and broken orbital lamina bone in his face. When asked why, he responded, “It’s what I do.”

D.C.’s crew of rejects is not really likable but so credible they are scary. Named Four Finger Annie, Hot Headed Pete, Chicken Butt, Body Double and Ziffle, this is a group of seriously flawed individuals that we were surprised to see had actual acting credits. So, we watch this nit-wit and band of half-wits repeatedly get whacked in the mug and groin.

A team of seven writers presents a father-daughter story buried in there somewhere. However, the punishing gags and one-liners are the tickets here. When a competitive corporate park opens, D.C. decides to give his park an excitement enema, “We’re going to focus not on what we can’t do but on what we can do.”

They remove the brakes off the rides and make it “a lawless and reckless free for all.” It attracts so many unsavory guests, D.C. boasts, “We had a good day, ran out of beer, hot dogs and toilet paper, in that order.” Eventually, the site is condemned. Somehow, as too often in today’s world, the audience rooted for the sleazy and irresponsible proprietor over principles of common decency.

Tim Kirby directs his first-feature length film and does what he can with what he has. We would say this is an E-Ticket ride, but if there were an F-ticket, this would be it. Stay tuned for the out-takes, which are not that different than the grueling gags in the final cut.

“Action Point” is 85 minutes and rated R for crude sexual content, language, drug use, teen drinking and brief graphic nudity. This is a dreadful movie on so many levels. It seriously lacks a plot, script, sets, direction and acting, but it’s hilarious for those with a very warped and possibly sadistic sense of humor.

In fairness, the cast seems to be having as much fun with this mayhem as Knoxville, who truly seems to be in his element. After almost a decade, he offers something new to his Jackass fan base. D.C. may explain this phenomenon best, “Thinking is not my super-power.” Yet, even in 2 Peter 2:16, the Bible tells us that a dumb Jackass forbad the madness of a prophet. So, maybe there was a moral to this story after all, nawww!

Ron’s Rating: B+
Leigh’s Rating: D


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