Crackerjack Release Date: 18 August 1994 (USA) Genre: Action Director(s): Michael Mazo (Time Runner, Downdraft) Writer(s): Michael Bafaro (Hell’s Gate: 11:11) & Jonas Quastel (Sasquatch) Starring: Thomas Ian Griffith, Nastassja Kinski, Christopher Plummer Die Hard in a [ski resort]. If you don’t know by now, let me spell it out for you. In my opinion, […]

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Crackerjack
Release Date: 18 August 1994 (USA)
Genre: Action
Director(s): Michael Mazo (Time Runner, Downdraft)
Writer(s): Michael Bafaro (Hell’s Gate: 11:11) & Jonas Quastel (Sasquatch)
Starring: Thomas Ian Griffith, Nastassja Kinski, Christopher Plummer

Die Hard in a [ski resort].

If you don’t know by now, let me spell it out for you. In my opinion, Die Hard in a [ ] is the greatest movie formula ever conceived. I’ve seen at least forty copycats in the past ten years and the formula works almost every time. There was a time when I was considering doing a Video Relapse featuring nothing but Die Hard clones, but then I realized that while I would never grow tired of the formula, I would eventually get sick of writing the same review over and over again.

But a few days ago I was bored. In my infinite wisdom I’d recently broken my TV remote by allowing the metal part of my recliner to press down on it for eight hours or so. Since the TV in my apartment is, at a bare minimum, twenty years old, the lack of remote left me unable to switch to my DVD player. As a result I had to go to the ever-growing, although rarely indulged in, VHS shelf. There are all sorts of random crap to choose from; Bloodfist IV, Keepin’ It Real, eight movies about cyborgs, and at least two hundred others. But after a recommendation from Eric Spudic a few months back, I decided to check out the Lloyd A. Simandl-produced Crackerjack.

We can thank the heavens that Simandl wasn’t involved outside of producing. Simandl is pretty much a hackmaster that, in the span of ten years, has made the transition from action movies about pretty white women being taken hostage to softcore movies about pretty white women being taken hostage. While I can obviously not say it with certainty on the account of only having seen four or five films he’s produced, Crackerjack is probably the best thing his North American (and Czech Republic too) Pictures ever produced.

Now that I’ve spent half-a-page extolling the virtues of my TV remote, my VHS collection, and Lloyd Simandl, I’ll keep this one short. Conflicted cop with a badass name Jack Wild (Griffith) gets placed on a forced leave of absence after it becomes apparent that he’s gone quite a bit over the edge. He reluctantly travels with his sister-in-law to a mountain resort that just so happens to get taken over by terrorists. Their plan is to steal a mobster’s diamonds and then detonate bombs to cause a freak avalanche that will cover their tracks. Jack, of course, isn’t in the dining room at the time of the takeover, and must work from the outside to take down the mad individuals.

What’s so great about Crackerjack is that it doesn’t try to be different. As a movie critic I’m naturally supposed to be apposed to copycats, but that’s just not the case with the Die Hard formula. The only change the really make is making Thomas Ian Griffin’s Jack Wild a self-destructive, rude, unlikable asshole. Once again, it’s usually not good for the main character to be like this, but hey, DIE HARD IN A [ ] WORKS!

Nastassja Kinski is in this too, but too be completely honest, I barely remember her role.
If you don’t like the Die Hard formula, Crackerjack is obviously not for you. If you’re one of the millions of people who kept the genre alive throughout the 90s, though, this one will rock your socks.

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Crackerjack, 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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