“Action Point” stars Johnny Knoxville, Chris Pontius, Eleanor Worthington Cox, Aidan Whytock, Leon Clingman, and Joe Vaz. Released on June 1, 2018, the film is about a man who runs a low-budget, yet highly dangerous, amusement park.
The film is directed by Tim Kirkby, who was involved in such television shows as “Grace and Frankie”, “Man Seeking Woman”, and “Fleabag”. Many people have known Johnny Knoxville for his involvement in the popular, yet highly insane, reality stunt show, “Jackass”, as well as the films that are based on the source material. Even though those days are behind him, his obsession with death-defying stunts (and breaking every bone in his body) still lives on. This adult-rated comedy is based on an actual theme park in New Jersey known as Action Park, which was noticeable for its poor safety record in terms of the rides and the staff, leading to its closure in 1996. Unfortunately, for those who prefer the safer parks, Knoxville is bringing this “dangerous amusement park” idea to the big screen, along with his crazy “Jackass”-like schemes. While the concept is similar to “Jackass”, it doesn’t serve as a continuation to the franchise since it has Knoxville and fellow “Jackass” member, Chris Pontius, playing different characters. But will that prevent the “Jackass” followers from seeing it? More importantly, is the film as funny as the pain-inducing stunts?
In a style that was used in the 2013 comedy, “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”, the film offers a series of insane stunts that connect to a basic narrative. In that said narrative, the owner of Action Point named D.C. (Knoxville) is facing some stiff competition when a corporate mega-park opens right next door. With the help of his crew and his teenage daughter, D.C. is going to do what he can to save the park that he calls home. The most important thing that people should know about this film is that the actors themselves are the ones performing these stunts, especially Knoxville. So it is heavily advised that they should not repeat any of them at home. The concept alone definitely has the “Jackass” attitude as the source material, along with a tolerable, yet predictable and inadequate, story that showcases the importance of family over business. Unfortunately, the portrayal of that concept appeared to be surprisingly limited, and I mean, really limited. One particular reason would have to be the stunts. When you look at “Jackass”, the stunts that the cast performed had no limits, which means that anything they did can lead to extreme injuries or even death. In “Action Point”, however, they come across as slapstick stunts that we usually see in cartoons or family-friendly comedies. It’s almost like that they want to take some risks, but then decided to chicken out because of their concerns on how the audience is going to react to those risks. They’re quite painful to look at, yes, but they were unable to capture that uneasy feeling that audiences get when they watched “Jackass”. Because of that, it quickly loses the pride and joy of watching someone in pain by the time it reaches the second half. The film’s use of humor didn’t help that much either. There were plenty of jokes that had the potential to be hilarious, including a bear who’s obsessed with drinking beer, but alas, they ranged from dull to unfunny to just plain ridiculous. This was pretty unfortunate for me since I usually laugh at stupid stuff like that. The only thing that I happened to enjoy was the likable cast, especially Knoxville and Worthington Cox as D.C. and Boogie (D.C.’s daughter), respectively.
Overall, “Action Point” is an unsatisfying experience that’s as painful and embarrassing as the stunts themselves. The film was supposed to be the amusement park version of “Jackass”, but from my personal perspective, it’s more along the lines of “America’s Funniest Home Videos: The Amusement Park Edition”. With its pale storyline, dull humor, and a series of stunts that were both tame and tiresome, this is another adult comedy that fails to live up to its potential. Not only that, but it also proves that Knoxville should retire his daredevil schtick right away before he goes off the deep end. If you’re familiar with Knoxville and his “Jackass” fame, this one might not be able to win you over. Go watch the show (or the movies) instead.