radical jackEdgewood Entertainment
2000
R

Back in the early 1990s, I don’t think anyone could anticipate the kind of career trajectory Billy Ray Cyrus would take. After hitting One Hit Wonder gold with the infernal Country earworm “Achy Breaky Heart”, he seemed to have parlayed his lukewarm music career into various acting endeavors, as well as spawning more successful musical progeny. You have to admire his tenacity and work ethic, if not his talent.

In 2000, the Mulleted One starred in a low-budget “action” flick named Radical Jack. This movie’s premise seems to smoosh together two better movies: Road House and Stone Cold, only with hardly any of the charm and cheesy goodness of those. Radical Jack is an action movie so vanilla, so devoid of actual action or substance, you can’t help but continue watching out of pity, really.

Radical Jack tells the tale of ex-CIA operative “Radical” Jack (“Radical” was his code name, presumably chosen by a 10-year-old son of a Colonel) who is recruited begrudgingly to scope out illegal weapons trade happening in a small po-dunk Southern town of nondescript. Since “Radical” Jack rides a motorcycle and rocks a sweet, sweet mullet, of course the moment he hits the town he immediately gets a job at the local bar, but not until after he does his laundry and have sepia-toned flashbacks. He runs into the gang of ruffians lead by the son of the…gangster? Illegal gun fencer? Whatever you call him…all I know is he likes to sit outside on the porch of his nice home in the finest of polo shirts and have brunch and coffee a lot. Anyway, that guy’s kid and his slack-jawed yokel friends like to drive around in a Hummer and generally be assbutts to everyone in the town, including the waitresses at the bar that “Radical” Jack now works at. You can probably see where this is going. So, several confrontations happen, a bunch of tough-guy posturing and badly choreographed fight scenes ensue, and eventually the biggest non-surprising non-twist happens and the movie is over. Finally.

I have no idea who came up with the bright idea to try and make Billy Ray Cyrus an action star. Trying to take a guy who is closely associated with all-American wholesomeness and turning them into a grizzled antihero type just fell flatter than Garth Brooks’ attempt at his Chris Gaines persona. And I just now realized that I seem to know way more about 90s era country music than I’m comfortable to admit. That crap was everywhere, man. Anyway, the dialogue spouted was beyond horrible, the “action” scenes laughable, and if it wasn’t for some face palm-worthy bits of swearing that Billy Ray doesn’t seem to be able to pull off and some surprise nudity, I would swear this was a Family Channel attempt at edgy action television. The only redeeming quality of this movie happens to be that it’s one of those movies so bad that you can’t seem to stop watching, like a train wreck.

Fortunately, there was no further attempt to make Billy Ray into an action hero star. Unfortunately, Radical Jack still exists. And if you come across it…grab your friends, and rip this one to shreds. You’ll have a jolly good time.