Tim Kirkby (director)
1h 25m (length)
30 August 2018 (released)
31 August 2018
It may be courtesy of Johnny Knoxville, but with tamer stunts and an actual story, Action Point is no Jackass.
D.C. (Knoxville) is babysitting his granddaughter when he tells her about Action Point: his beloved theme park that pioneered minimum safety for maximum fun. The rides were dangerous and out of control, but the local kids adored the place – including his daughter Boogie (Eleanor Worthington-Cox), who is no longer the carefree girl she once was. But with an upmarket new corporate theme park stealing business, and real-estate developer Knoblach (Dan Bakkedahl) gunning for the land, D.C. and his crazy crew had to come up with nutty new ways to keep the park alive.
Knoxville decided to make the film after seeing Matt Robertson's 2013 short documentary The Most Insane Amusement Park Ever, about the real-life Action Point theme park in New Jersey, which was notorious for its poorly designed rides and incompetent, under-aged staff.
Given the inspiration, the Jackass reputation, and the fact that Knoxville received more injuries during Action Point than any other film he’s ever done, it should be all about the stunts. And in a theme park where roller coasters can literally go off the rails, you’re bracing for some extreme thrills.
Sadly, this is not the case. There’s not a great deal of creativity in terms of execution, which may be because – similarly to Bad Grandpa – the stunts must compliment the linear narrative and are therefore constrained by a story, while the original Jackass films were not.
That’s not to say that these stunts aren’t still amusing. Many of the extreme sequences warrant a laugh, but loyal fans of the franchise may be disappointed that Knoxville doesn’t make the most of the location and push boundaries even further.
Without the stunts, what’s the point of a Knoxville feature, right? Surprisingly, Action Point has an unexpectedly entertaining plot, and is pretty funny nonetheless. Of course, as one would expect, it’s not a sophisticated style of comedy and its humour certainly won’t appeal to all. If you find sex jokes crude or are strongly opposed to using animals for entertainment, do yourself a favour and give this a miss. If not, strap in and enjoy!
The plot is pacey with some decent one-liners and standout scenes courtesy of Knoxville, and his Jackass co-star Chris Pontius. It’s a light-hearted, easy watch, while the total anarchy that unfolds behind the park gates is immensely satisfying to behold.
What’s most surprising is that, among all the simple-minded chaos, Action Point finds its heart in the father-daughter relationship between D.C. and Boogie, who is well played by Worthington-Cox. It’s an almost strange emotional depth considering the film's central premise, but somehow it works.
Hardcore Jackass fans will be underwhelmed and it’s notable that this is also the first movie Knoxville has written without crediting the franchise in its title. Anyone wanting a cinema trip remotely highbrow will bemoan the artless recklessness and often dated jokes. Fall somewhere in the middle? Then take a trip to Action Point: 85 minutes of perfect disorder.