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Action Point (2018)

Loosely based on the mess known as Action Park, located in Vernon, New Jersey, but out of business for a number of reasons, Action Point tells the story of D.C. (Johnny Knoxville) and what he considers the greatest theme park of all time. In typical Knoxville/Jackass fashion, Action Point displays the real-life dangers of creating a theme park with no limitations, no properly-trained staff members, and absolutely no safety regulations. Through a series of life-threatening stunts, the reality of Action Park comes to life.

It’s common knowledge that Knoxville’s acting is average at best, and, to be honest, that’s all viewers really need from him. His appeal stems from his ability to very literally injure himself on screen for the world to see and laugh at. His ability to own each of his stunts and understand the fact that, while it is a niche group of individuals, he has followers that genuinely appreciate the authenticity of his work allows that authenticity to shine through and allow him to find success. Action Point sees more of what fans have come to expect from the daredevil, and, as he always has, he entertains those viewers throughout the entirety of the film. Oddly enough, however, Knoxville isn’t the worst actor in the film. Like Knoxville, Chris Pontius (Benny) is not well known for his acting either, but for his ability to take a beating doing absolutely ridiculous stunts. After watching Action Point it is quite clear that he should never act again. The reality that neither Pontius nor Knoxville are entertaining as actors seems like it may hinder viewers’ ability to appreciate the film, however, the simplicity behind getting hurt for others’ entertainment is enough to drive the film and allow those viewers to appreciate what the two leads do throughout.

Action Point attempts to be something more than the typical nonsensical bologna viewers might usually find in Knoxville’s films. It’s a semi-touching story of father-daughter malfunction, but I’m not sure that, regardless of how hard Knoxville tries, he will ever truly appeal to an audience through fabricated drama or heartwarming scenarios. I’m disappointed in the fact that Knoxville, and co-writers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, tried to do more with this film, as the stupidity of getting hurt is more than enough to intrigue audiences and find Action Point success. This aspect of the film leaves a lot to be desired and takes away from the black comedy that viewers have come to know and love.

All in all, Action Point feels like a semi-feeble attempt to mainstream Knoxville more than before by including a dramatic element. And, while this aspect of the film fails to reach audiences, the physical comedy and the reality that Knoxville is willing to put his body on the line to entertain his fanbase is enough to make Action Point worthwhile. In addition to the physical comedy, the fact that the HBO special Class Action Park aired less than a year ago allows viewers to better appreciate everything that occurs throughout the film. Even with the many failed aspects of Action Park, it manages to entertain well enough to warrant somewhat of a following, particularly those who love what Knoxville is capable of.

Directed by Tim Kirby.

Written by John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky & Johnny Knoxville.

Starring Johnny Knoxville, Eleanor Worthington-Cox, Chris Pontius, Dan Bakkedahl, Johnny Pemberton, etc.




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