Jake Speed (1986) Poster


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Campy adventure for those with an '80s nostalgia kick!
polo337816 June 2005
I enjoyed this movie as a kid when it came out, and to this day still do. A simple story involving the search for a kidnapped girl and an adventurer literally straight out of paperback lore. It has actors that were more recognizable back in the day. This shouldn't keep the viewer from giving it a whirl. Wayne Crawford stars as the main character Jake Speed. Sure, it might bite from certain elements of Romancing the Stone, and Indiana Jones. But this movie is done well enough to keep it out of the cellar. I am surprised not too many people know about it. It must have been overshadowed by other movies in the theaters back in '86. I watched it back then on cable TV. It might be hard to find since it's out of print on both VHS and DVD. I managed to get a DVD from ebay at less than 8 bucks! Cool flick.
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You'll have fun
The first thing I have to say is that I own Jake Speed. I've seen it at least 10 times. This movie is one of the most fun movies ever made. The film begins with Margaret (Karen Kopins) trying to find her sister. Her sister was kidnapped in Paris and the family has heard nothing. Along comes Jake Speed (Wayne Crawford), telling her exactly where her sister is and making an offer to find her. Jake Speed is a hero. He doesn't work for money because he just wants to help and have a good adventure. His partner (Dennis Christopher) follows him around and writes their adventures into novels. This film is a great adventure. It's hilarious, it's action-packed, it's just great. I guess it's a cult film with a very small cult following. Crawford is perfect as Jake Speed and throws out some one-liners that you'll never forget. Kopins and Christopher are also good as the girl and the sidekick, respectively. John Hurt, the guy who's stomach blew up in Alien, plays the devilish, pervertish villian which just adds to the fun. In many ways, this film is similar to Indiana Jones, in some ways it's similar to James Bond films. Maybe it should have been called Indiana Bond but whatever it's title is, it's a very enjoyable film.
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A great B-movie ! Lighten up and enjoy something fun
kh3296222 February 2005
I know the film snobs are snorting. But if you're looking for a surprisingly fun ride through the B-movie jungle, try "Jake Speed".

A little thin at times, but its one-liners and the location more then make up for this. John Hurt(God love him), seems to be having fun doing his role as the ultra evil white slaver. The nemesis of Crawfords, Jake Speed. He adds a dimension to the film that only a pro like Hurt could provide. Crawford and Dennis Christopher( Jakes sidekick) are a good team,although you do wonder why they both put up with each other.However ,together both Crawford and Christopher portray a team that is just so much fun that, if you can get over yourself for a moment, you may find yourself acting like a kid again at the situations and the inherent suspense they provide.The delicious Karen Kopins does a great job as the damsel in distress that is more concerned about the motives of her rescuer then her tormentor.

I have yet to find a movie that is as much fun without getting preachy,or bogging down the movie by trying too hard. Not every movie has to be the latest "Citizen Kane". And trust me,Wells was an original. So lets remember that sometimes, movies are for fun.Not social commentary or attempting to sway an audience politically. But just for the sheer fun of being alive and living in a time when our hero's live in a celluloid dimension.
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A tongue in cheek look at paperback novels.
potsy3217 June 2002
Ever wonder where the ideas for romance novels and other paper back released come from? According to 'Jake Speed' they are based on real people, living out the adventures they write about and publish. This movie is quality family entertainment, moderate amounts of violence, and skimpy clothes at the worst. The language is is also not a problem, and the jokes are funny at all levels. This is a 'Austin Powers' look at 'Indian Jones', without the over-the-top antics of Michael Myers. I highly recommend this film for kids in the 10 to 15 range.
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parmrh14 September 2000
"Jake Speed" was NEVER meant to evoke "Indiana Jones" in any way shape or form. This film is both a satire and an homage to the great pulp-fiction adventures of the cheap paperback literature series....ala` "Doc Savage",and the more contemporary exponents such as "The Destroyer" and other similar adventure series. In that light, the movie succeeds admirably,and should not be dismissed by those who came looking for Harrison Ford and did not find him......
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Not what you might expect
winner5515 July 2006
One of my favorite films for a number of years was "Last Action Hero"; unfortunately, Arnold Schwarznegger decided to spoil my fun by becoming a corrupt scumbag politician; so now I can't bear any film he may had a hand in.

The Adventures of Jake Speed actually toys with some themes similar to those in Last...Hero; so I was pleased to find it on DVD, so I could watch these themes played out so well.

Despite the "plot-within-the-plot" involving white slavery during an African nation's civil war, this is not an action movie. The plot that the "plot-within-a-plot" is within, is actually about a question that the film has no intention to resolve: Is Jake Speed a real person that is helping the heroine save her sister from the white-slave trader; or is he actually a fictional character (which means that the heroine has somehow entered the universe that really only exists in a series of pulp novels)? I suggest that this is not all that clearly defined in the film, and that Wayne Crawford and Andrew Lane are perfectly aware of this. The film thus becomes a presentation of what audiences may want from such a fictional "adventure-story" universe. That's actually a rich theme, the potential heaviness of which is lightened by the film's amiable and campy sense of humor.

There are weaknesses to the film - primarily it's cinematography, which makes the film look like a TV show. And the pacing does sag on occasion.

But I really like these characters, and I enjoy the adventure they live, however silly. And I just find fascinating the idea that this adventure is actually taking place in a novel.

Holds up under multiple viewings -m good show!
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Fun Fantasy Entertainment
DZombie12 January 2005
Most people (36) gave this movie a 10 and those who don't are being too critical or maybe expected something else. This is one of my favorite movies from the 80's, it grows on you, and has it all. I just got it on DVD and 20 years later it still does not disappoint, having plenty of action, drama, romance, and even comedy. Add to that the great car chases, automatic weapon shootouts and lots of stuff blowing up and you have a fun, edge of your seat experience! You will even be humming or whistling the main theme song for days after seeing this.

You can watch this movie with your wife/gf and you will both enjoy it lots. The premise is that of a paperback book hero, like Doc. Savage, really existing and helping people fight evil so he can write the story is almost true to life here. The actor Jake Speed is also a director, producer and writer of many films. In THIS film Jake Speed (the character) is an Indiana Jones adventurer type, he usually uses his head to get out of sticky situations but will sometimes resorts to brute firepower (yay!,and sheer dumb luck too!). Keep an eye out for his one "James Bond" hi-tech equipment, the ultimate road warrior SUV dropping out of the sky.

The heroine is the very beautiful young love interest from the early Jim Carey vampire movie "Once Bitten" and here she is a little older and still a knockout even compared to her teenage blonde little sister.

The bad guys are "real bad" men and are the worst lowlife villainous scum you love to hate. The ending is just perfect and can stand alone or invite a sequel, sadly never made - but you can just imagine what would happen next!

You have to see this movie just because it will entertain and amuse you and that's worth the price of a ticket.
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Come on people
HairyHacker14 July 2001
This film is harmless escapist fun. Something the recent Tomb Raider film lacked. I can't wait to get the DVD. How can people give this a low score and still go and see Titanic without a guilty conscience I do not know. Anything with Karen Kopins in her underwear has got to rate an extra point or two!
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"Being a good guy is so predictable. You do everything right"
mylimbo14 April 2012
Wayne Crawford stars as Jake Speed a fictional hero character from paperback novels, but Margaret finds out that he's actually real when he offers to find her missing young sister who was abducted in Paris by a white slavery ring located in South Africa. "Jake Speed" is a low-budget b-grade comic book fantasy adventure caper where the pages simply come to life in a sprawling caper of impulsive thrills, laughs, mayhem and energetic performances. It pretty much spoofs the genre (heroes vs. villains) and it's quite a clever spin on the material too with its fairly witty script, despite how the routine story comes together. The adventures that Jake Speed goes on are what his novels are all about. Nor does he make it easy on himself, because where's the adventure and entertainment in that. Simply there's no other way. Like Speed said "It reads better". Crawford is likable as the rugged Jake Speed and as well as his resourceful partner Des played perfectly delivered by Dennis Christopher. In the role as Margaret is a feisty Karen Kopins. Then the villains are played with hammy glee by John Hurt and Roy London. Also popping up in minor parts are Donna Pescow, Alan Shearman and Ken Learner. Plus there's an interesting instrumental cover of Flashdance's "Maniac" in a grungy looking South African bar. It's quite a sight. An always amusing and bouncy enterprise.

"Come on. We need a big finish".
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I'd actually call an inspiration!
Lumbering_Jack15 October 1999
"Jake Speed" is a fine movie with a wonderful message. It has its flaws of course. At times it's a little slow. It introduces its villain too far into the story. It's action is paced at the rate of a snail's heartbeat. It has a Z-grade cast (Although I've always admired the work of Karen Kopins, who has the straight-laced good looks of Sandra Bullock).

But with all this going against it, "Jake Speed" really is inspiring, thanks to a charming script by Wayne Crawford(who plays the title role) and Andrew Lane.

Why do I find it so inspiring? Because it says to me "Hey, why not try to be a good person."

The story is essentially a "stranger in a strange land" premise, that is good-and-heroic Jake Speed is placed in the real world where bad things happen to good people. Jake is more than a Boy Scout. He's more than a knight in shining armor. Jake Speed is the patron saint of optimism in a dirty, mean and evil world.

It's because of this that "Jake Speed" really needed to be a hit. It has a great message that should have gotten out to Hollywood and then to the rest of the world.

Imagine a movie industry that really pushed itself to portray good and decent people. I'm not saying that we should be watching the Waltons in every theater at the cineplex, but that it would be nice if more movies such as "Jake Speed" would get a chance. ("Due South," a TV show about a Canadian Mountie, is a good comparison of what can be done to brighten up American entertainment.)

Sure, "Jake Speed" has violence, blood and guns, but the overall message is that if you try hard enough to be a good person, you'll beat the forces of evil every time. 10/14/99
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Not as bad as...
kc48824 July 2004
Is this a movie worthy of Oscar buzz? No, but it is a fun little film.

Unlike other people's comments, I do not think that this film intended to pretend that it was Indiana Jones; it was meant to entertain in the genre of fictional hero with human frailties, and in that respect Jake Speed succeeds. No one wants to believe he exists, and he has an over-the-top archenemy, played to the hilt by John Hurt. Karen Kopins does fine as the "heroine" who just wants to get her sister back from white slavers and finds herself caught up in the strange world of a hero whose books are based upon his real-life adventures. And Dennis Christopher tries to hold the adventure together while dealing with Jake's ego and Karen's disbelief.

For escapist fun without the need to invest mentally or emotionally, Jake Speed fits the bill.
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The Adventures of Jake Speed.
Joseph P. Ulibas8 September 2005
Jake Speed (1986) was an amusing parody of Indiana Jones and other adventurer films that were popular during the eighties. Wayne Crawford stars as Jake Speed, an adventurer who's always battling evil doers wherever he goes. With his assistant Desmond Floyd (Dennis Christopher) they globe trot looking for some action (and some decent story lines). The duo meet a young woman named Margaret (Karen Kopins) who's sister has been kidnapped by an evil white slaver trader (John Hurt). Can she find and convince Jake and Desmond to help her rescue her sibling?

A sappy and cheesy film that doesn't pretend to be something that it's not. I have to give this one a recommendation. That's if you enjoy movies that like to have fun and for those who don't take everything at face value.

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Why no respect
Acmcguy17 July 2011
Unlike most reviewers I feel Wayne Crawford was amazing. Karen was amazing Christopher filled the partner role awesomely .44's blazing!!! The cast was perfect for the story. But quite possibly the most overlooked role of all time was John Hurt who played a great bad guy in V for vendetta and for how great he was there (in my opinion) plays the greatest bad guy off all time.

The lines were written so perfectly and he delivered them in a way that should have won every best bad guy ever award. Pure evil

This movie never gets the respect it deserves. Why? Because people don't take the movie for what it is. A FUN action flick with ultimate good vs. Evil.

Great one liners. Great vehicles and chases. And the greatest shotgun of any movie ( even the Expendibels shotgun pales)

How many movies 20 years later try to show the horrors of civil war in Africa ( like 3 ?) There is more going on in this story than people see.

I really wish this movie, the cast, the acting, the plight of Africa and the helpless citizens.

Remember my words an amazing hero and the greatest bad guy ever portrayed on screen
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Jake speed? more like Jake "let's just relax"
mdeacon13 April 2003
Don't let the name of this film deceive you, In reality Jake Speed the character is quite possibly the laziest action hero ever known to film. When Jake Speed is not saving virgin girls from evil madmen, which he is often not, he's seriously relaxing. Perhaps this adds to his charm, but in my opinion an action hero is not suppose to "chill out" whenever he gets the chance. Furthermore, unlike other daring heros who usually have an impressive list of talents, this man has none, unless of course you call sleeping a talent. Anyhow, this movie is basically worthless, the writing is sub par and the action, when there is some, is very lame. (The machine guns on the jeep weren't bad, but that's about it) So, if you're in the mood to watch a movie that is a cure for insomnia, then this piece is perfect for you - It has a hero that not only puts himself to sleep, but also his audience.
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An Honest Review
generationofswine3 April 2017
My dad had a biker friend I loved that he called "Doc" because of the Doc Savage pulps he always used to read.

It didn't end there in our home. Remo Williams was a beloved family film and...we had a couple old paperbacks about him laying around the house. And Dumas and Claremont and Doyle and their creations.

And of course Elmore Leonard was always somewhere to be found along with Louis L'Amour and Marv Wolfman and....

The point is that pulp was a common thing in our blue collar home and especially if that was an adventure pulp. My father loved trash like that and it rubbed off to my sister and I.

Jake Speed is trash like that. It is not only trash like that it references trash like that. It pays homage to trash like that. It spoofs trash like that it's, well, it's brilliant.

In fact, it does for the pulp action hero what "El Diablo" did for the pulp western hero...

And at the same time it is pure adventure...

...you have to love it...

...that is unless you are the type that has to have everything absolutely serious and only read stories about murdering your family with an axe, turning into a beetle, and only if they are penned by suicidal novelists.

If that is the case you are going to hate this movie...

But if you are the discerning gentleman or lady that has a respectable library...and a Kindle full of Sabatini with a password guaranteeing that no one will ever know your childlike love for high adventure...

Then "Jake Speed" is bound to be one of your favorite films.

Not Everything has to be "Citizen Kane" you know...these are movies, they are made for one singular reason...to entertain.
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Jake Speed is 80's Coolness!
Dark_Lord_Mark5 February 2015
In the age of Rambo, Terminator, Remo Williams, there was Speed, Jake Speed! Jake Speed is a fantastic 80's action flick....the fun 80's.

It's a hero story with danger, suspense and well, some love.

What makes Jake Speed stand out, well nothing. It's perfect in its story telling and character development. It's a mix between Crocodile Dundee and Romancing the Stone. Jake is the over the top hero or is he just an illusion made up by money grabbing individuals. That is the mystery and makes Jake Speed perfect story telling.

Jake Speed is somewhat of a smaller cult flick that should NOT be passed up.

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A movie? Have you tried dealing with those people?
samson_k7 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Jake Speed is a film that lacks one thing – a charismatic lead. Unfortunately that's something that really taints the entire movie and it's a shame because at heart it is an enjoyable action movie with a witty enough script and an interesting, if derivative, premise. Although it's genesis probably can be traced back to the success of the Indiana Jones trilogy – the film actually plays a little more like 'Romancing the Stone' albeit in reverse. It's not an author of romantic adventure fiction being led on an adventure by a character very much like one of her creations it is an adventure fiction character (who happens to chronicle his own adventures) leading an ordinary woman on one of his adventures.

When a young woman goes missing in Paris, her sister Margaret (played by the appealing Karin Kopins) gets embroiled with pulp hero Jake Speed (Wayne Crawford) and his sidekick Dennis (Dennis Christopher) who both turn out to be real and very flawed individuals in an adventure that takes them into the heart of a civil war torn African state and ultimately into the clutches of two brothers the deliciously evil Sid (John Hurt) and his ridiculously camp sibling Maurice (Roy London). That's the plot – it's not labyrinthine and it's not complicated but the story that it tells doesn't require great depth.

The action sequences are appealing to begin with and it's certainly true that the heroic trio are put through their paces (whether caught in battles between government and rebel forces or being dropped into a pit full of lions) and there are certainly some quite funny lines. However the film does seem to struggle to find an ending and unfortunately the action sequences that are quite appealing to begin with go nowhere and ultimately become a bit bland and irksome. This, however, may not have been such an issue if it was possible to like Jake Speed but due to Wayne Crawford's performance it becomes harder to really care what happens. Now I don't know if he was stretching himself a little thin as he was also the producer and writer of the movie or whether he's simply not a good actor (as I haven't seen him in much else) but he never really convinces as a roguish mixture of Doc Savage, Indiana Jones and Jack Colton.

This is a shame because most of the other characters play their roles well – Karen Kopins is funny and convincing and her character shares some nice banter with Jake (unfortunately it never convinces). Dennis Christopher is perfect as the archetypal sidekick and John Hurt plays the part with camp relish – almost as if he were in a sixties episode of Batman. He strides about his few scenes growling in a ridiculous cockney accent putting in a performance that almost belongs in another film. Sid is no Moriarty (he is presented as Jake's nemesis from a number of his previous adventures / books) but he is always fun to watch.

Jake Speed tries to channel the same fun B movie spirit as 'Night of the Comet' (a film produced by Crawford a few years beforehand) and almost succeeds but misses – which is a shame because Jake would have been good to watch in a few more adventures and may have been served better by a television series.

I would recommend this out of curiosity appeal but ultimately it leaves a bitter taste because most of the elements were there to make something genuinely good.
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Not good
Wizard-88 January 1999
This movie just doesn't work, despite having an amusing premise (those pulp action heroes actually being real). It's really sad seeing Dennis Christopher (BREAKING AWAY) being wasted in movies like this.
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Jake Speed is no adventure guy!
emm27 October 1998
So what's the big fuss out of making an INDIANA JONES wannabe when you have an actor who's cast as a fictional dude from adventure storybooks who doesn't want to go out on an adventure??? Whoever wrote the script for JAKE SPEED was probably fired, but for whatever reasons possible, this movie greatly lacks in excitement! That doesn't mean it has no action, but look on the dark side of the picture. This has got to bare no resemblance to INDIANA JONES or other action-adventure thrills containing cliffhangers and narrow escapes, and JAKE SPEED was promoted that way using clever propaganda to make me and several others interested in it! Besides, I've never heard of the guy, so who needs his attention?
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No Redeeming Factors...
studiojudio13 July 2005
This could be a strong candidate for "The Worst Flick Ever". Perhaps without the presence of John Hurt, it could be tolerated as a kid-film. However, the TRAGEDY of this entire endeavor, is that John Hurt, one of the screen's greatest actors, diminishes himself in this....I gave it two points just because Mr. Hurt SHOWED UP...I take AWAY 8 points, because he didn't run from it fast enough. As far as the rest of the cast, they are, simply, terrible. Janine Turner, as pretty as she might be, cannot act to save her soul. And the lead actor is, for all intents and purposes, AWFUL. If you can spare yourself this embarrassment, please do so. It's so bad, it almost HURTS.
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Jake Speed? More like Jake Slow
sundialpictures-0165724 August 2017
A boring adventure with poor pacing and unimpressive set pieces is rescued somewhat by the beautiful Karen Kopins and John Hurt's scenery chewing villain. Oh, and a pre-X Files Mark Snow provides a film score too good for this joke of a picture. About as close as this comes to providing exciting action is a car chase. Instantly forgettable.
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