Jake Speed (1986)
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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.
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!
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.
"Come on. We need a big finish".
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
JAKE SPEED IS a TEN OUT OF TEN!!!
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.