Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Directed with as little flair as possible by Michael Mazo from a witless script by Jonas Quastel and Michael Bafaro, Crackerjack is one of the worst films Nastassja Kinski ever appeared in. The fact that the film, a poor Die Hard wanna-be that fails at every turn, followed up a work as well meaning and esteemed as Wim Wender’s Faraway So Close makes its shallowness all the harder to swallow.
Nastassja thankfully has a relatively small role in the film, which is controlled by the rather weak lead of Thomas Ian Griffith. Griffith is joined by the usually reliable Christopher Plummer as well as some other recognizable faces, all of whom are much better than this lousy film they are stuck in.
Crackerjack fails on even the most rudimentary levels of basic storytelling and filmmaking…the fact that the film inspired not one but two cringe worthy sequels (thankfully Nastassja was not involved in either) is as depressing as it is telling.
Shot in the Czech Republic as well as Canada, Crackerjack at the very least should have worked as a gorgeous looking production but the TV-movie like photography of Danny Nowak is flat at best. Even worse, the film takes itself entirely too seriously so it doesn’t even have the opportunity to work as just a big dumb fun action movie. Special Effects creator Terry Sonderhoff (who has done a lot of good work in his career) is hampered as well by the low budget and Crackerjack fails to generate any excitement in its visually motivated sequences.
Nastassja has nothing to do here and her performance shows it. She’s not bad but her part is written just as ‘the girl’ and frankly she is just too good for the film, and her appearance in it is out of place to say the least. Crackerjack unfortunately marks a period in Nastassja’s career where she would appear in many films simply not good enough for her, including her next film Terminal Velocity (which at the very least works as the fun action film Crackerjack fails to be at every turn.)
Crackerjack has basically slipped into total obscurity and it basically went straight to video in late 1994. My screenshots are taken from that ugly old VHS copy of it and the film, to my knowledge, has never had a DVD release anywhere. It’s a depressing experience for fans of Kinski’s prestigious career and just action thrillers in general.