Radical Jack (2000) — Highly achy, not so breaky

Justin’s rating: Sponge bathing country music stars since 2000

Justin’s review: You know why I never want to be a famous music star? Because sooner or later, I’ll succumb to the same temptation everyone else in that position has — thinking that crooning songs means that I’m a capable actor. And then I’ll throw myself into movies, ultimately creating a lasting source of embarrassment that my friends and families will put on their TVs during holiday parties to mock my hubris.

So thank God I’m not, say, Billy Ray Cyrus, because at least I never ended up in a movie called Radical Jack. I suppose that this tepid action flick was the best he could leverage with a single hit song in 1992 and the partial parentage of Miley. You can see how he was hoping that this would be the start of a bold foray into Hollywood. You can also see how he knew that his dream was dying, minute by minute, as this film was made.

It’s not that Radical Jack is the worst movie ever made. It’s about three smidges south of adequate, but only that. However, it wasn’t going to launch anyone’s career, because nobody was going to see it — Achy Breaky Heart or no.

Cyrus plays Jack, he of the radicalness, an ex-CIA Navy SEAL who drifts into a small town with a mullet so long that he could be a British barrister. His new job as a bartender is only covering his not-so-stealthy investigation into an arms dealer who runs the town. Said dealer looks like they dragged some 78-year-old out of a nursing home and promised him all of the pudding in the world if he spat out a few lines. The bad guy also has a kid named Rolland who is an expert at slapping women around and getting his butt kicked by anyone with the nickname of “Radical.”

What ensues is a movie that ambles from scene to scene with no clear destination in mind. Jack plays it aloof for the entirety of the movie, relying on plot armor to protect him and throw women — plural — at his feet. When the movie told me that he was a former SEAL, I choked hard on the piece of broccoli I was eating. There’s no way that he carries himself as a former pool lifeguard, nevermind one of the Navy’s best-of-the-best. At one point, his bold move in evading the bad guys was ever-so-slowly crawling under a bed and waiting until they left. I didn’t know they taught that at BUD/S.

For a full movie, there’s too little to it. Too little characterization, too little action, too little actual threat, and too little country music videos. But if you want to see inexplicable flashbacks, an impressively dull finale showdown, and Billy Ray Cyrus dousing himself in water in slow motion, then have your fill, you weirdo.

Radical Jack kind of wants to be Road House, but trust me when I say it isn’t even Road House 2.

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