Action Point isn't THAT bad
Yeah, Action Point is a bad movie.
It’s gross for the sake of being gross, the story doesn’t create much tension, and slapstick comedy takes the place of any clever writing. It’s a stupid movie, but damn it’s fun.
Action Point is produced, written in part by, and stars former Jackass patriarch Johnny Knoxville, and it shows. The movie can’t go more than 10 minutes without D.C. (the purveyor of the park, played by Knoxville) getting flattened by a runaway object, catapulted through a barn wall, or something similar in nature. That’s probably the most likely reason you will love or hate the movie.
Action Point gives us a fictionalized (less than you might think) account of Action Park, a real life Amusement Park located in Vernon, NJ from 1978-1996. I gained the majority of my knowledge about Action Point from the youtube channel Defunctland. Defunctland gives in depth histories of now defunct amusement park rides. It is very well produced and I highly recommend it for anyone that loves amusement parks, history, or a combination of the two. Here’s the Defunctland video on Action Park.
The acting in the movie is honestly better than may be expected. While he may be looked down upon for his history as a dumbass that made a fortune getting hit in the balls, Johnny Knoxville is a competent actor. He conveys emotion and elicits empathy, but the entire time you never forget that you’re watching Johnny Knoxville, the guy from Jackass.
The rest of the cast’s performances are middle of the road, nothing really stands out, but nothing takes away either. One cast member of note, however, does stand out, but not for their acting in Action Point. Brigette Lundy-Paine’s performance in Netflix’s Atypical is such a joy to watch, that I was surprised that she was playing such a minor role here. Portraying “Four Finger” Annie seems like a step below what Lundy-Paine is capable of. Check out Atypical to see “Four Finger” Annie put on a five star performance as a fiercely protective sister to a brother with autism.
The movie limits the history of the park to a much smaller scope than what felt appropriate. There were seven deaths at the park during its history. This macabre fact makes the movie at times feel a little disrespectful. Four of the deaths occurred due to drowning, so giving Chris Pontius the roll of incompetent lifeguard may have been in bad taste. Though, if you’re looking for a complete idiot that is constantly speedo equipped, I can’t think of someone more qualified.
Now, for what makes Action Point unique in 2019: the stunts. Far gone are the days of lead actors doing their own stunts in a film, save for Jackie Chan. For the most part, every time in the movie we see Johnny Knoxville getting knocked on his ass, he’s actually getting knocked on his ass. According to this Vanity Fair article, Knoxville suffered four concussions, a broken hand, whiplash, and he had to receive stitches. Oh, and HIS EYE POPPED OUT OF HIS HEAD BECAUSE HE SNEEZED. I know that last one is due more to a full life of being Johnny Knoxville, but still.
Action Point is a pile of garbage, sure, but it’s worth a watch. If you grew up on Jackass, Wildboyz, The Three Stooges, or Abbott and Costello, this is the movie for you. Slapstick humor is so rare in 2019, that it’s actually kind of refreshing. So don’t let that 13% Rotten Tomatoes score scare you from a fun time and check out Action Point on Hulu.