Radical Jack (2001)

So, yeah, back at Christmas, I took a look at the 1991 film Cool As Ice starring flash in the pan rap superstar Vanilla Ice. I hated it. I really hated it. But, because it’s me, and I hate myself more than, well, I guess more than anything, I want to look at another movie starring another flash in the pan recording artist.

That’s what B-Movie Enema is all about, kids. I torture myself with movies starring Vanilla Ice or, as it is this week, Billy Ray Cyrus. In 2001, Mr. Ray Cyrus decided he would become a motorcycle-riding gritty action star and star opposite Michelle Pfeiffer’s sister, Dedee, in James Allen Bradley’s direct-to-video magnum opus Radical Jack. Sigh…

Well, at least there is a hot chick who gets naked in this movie…

Let’s dial back and talk about Billy Ray Cyrus. Born William Raymond Cyrus, Esq. in 1961, Cyrus would hit it big in 1992 with a hit single on his debut album, Some Gave All. That song would be “Achy Breaky Heart”. Funny story, that song was written in 1990 and previously recorded in 1991 by someone else under the title “Don’t Tell My Heart” even before Cyrus boot-scooted his way to the top of the country charts. Let it be known that I do find the tune catchy, but it’s about as big of a pile of shit as “Ice Ice Baby”.

Interestingly, Cyrus wasn’t exactly a one-hit wonder. He had relatively sustainable success throughout the 90s and 00s. That would start to fade slowly but steadily in the 2010s, but he isn’t a complete nobody. He is, after all, the father of one of the biggest pop stars of today, Miley Cyrus. I’m sure he smiled in pride when she butt-humped Alan Thicke’s kid on national television. I digress though.

Sure, Cyrus is mostly known for being the Achy Breaky guy and the dad to Miley, but in the same year that Radical Jack saw release, he was Gene in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive. He has done lots of voice work, and propelled his daughter into the spotlight with the Disney Channel show Hannah Montana which he also starred in. Cyrus is not someone you necessarily scoff at. Hell, the early 90s were a weird time in music and why would you fault a guy for getting a bitchin’ mullet and a catchy as hell song and taking off as a recording success?

Country music is not my favorite genre of music. And I think I need to be careful here. There is SOME country music I have a great deal of appreciation for. Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Lyle Lovett, Charlie Daniels, and even Conway Twitty can be a lot of fun. How can anyone hate Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Alison Krauss, or Dolly Parton? Kenny Rogers? He’s got good tunes AND good chicken! Modern day country music is bad. It almost feels like a reaction to how pop music began becoming multi-cultural in the early 90s and rock and roll was fading into alternative and pop rock instead of what existed in the 70s.

I’m not necessarily saying that I think modern country (the stuff that’s been around for a little more than 30 years now) is entirely made up of redneck, truck-drivin’ dudes and trad wives as a response to the rise of rap, hip hop, and R&B which is also predominately made up of people of color or city-dwelling folks… But I am saying that it’s hard for me to not believe that’s the case. Yes, I know that seems like a fairly politically driven statement, and it kind of is, but my dudes, lady dudes, and enby dudes, I’m just sayin’. I’ll drop it now because this is all about Radical Jack, not dicey commentary on country music.

We haven’t seen Dedee Pfeiffer for a bit. The only time we’ve previously covered her work was during the “Month That Shall Never Be Done Again” (the Asylum Movies theme month) in Journey to the Center of the Earth. There is at least one other movie of hers we should get to sooner than later, The Allnighter, that also stars the lovely Susannah Hoffs during her fame as a member of The Bangles. But here’s the thing… Dedee has been working a lot lately. She’s been in every episode aired thus far of the ABC crime drama Big Sky. She worked pretty consistently between 1985 and 2011 on everything from hit TV shows to supporting roles in movies and so on. She might have a more famous sister, but she’s had a career of her own for a long while. It’s good to see her again in this.

But I guess we need to pop the top on Radical Jack and drink its intoxicating froth and get started because the first part of this sentence had no clear plan and I’m just spinning my wheels at this point.

The opening of the movie with the production and distributor company logos are somehow simultaneously 80s cheap home video release and 90s early digital effects that are a cheap company trying to get in on the ground floor with the cyber. You know what I’m talking about. First, that Flashpoint logo is something created probably in the early 80s if not in the late 70s. But then, when that Edgewood Studios logo comes blasting in so fucking hard, it causes all the elements to fuck out like everything is on fire. The Edgewood logo is also something that I would expect to see in a commercial for a stereo system. But like one of those rad ones that are component stereos with a receiver and separated tape deck and turntable – and then of course a separated, and quite fancy, CD player. Look at this…

The movie proper begins at a bar. A guy is sitting at the bar drinking a beer with his left hand and a shot of harder stuff with his right. He also is smoking like all the cool guys do. This is Billy Ray Cyrus, aka Radical Jack. Two men come in wearing suits like government types. They try starting a conversation with Radical Jack, but he’s not having it. He’s denies being Radical Jack, but the government men with the very obvious earpieces with the giant microphones on them decide they want to take him outside to have a conversation.

“Goddammit, okay, I’ll sing ‘Achy Breaky Fart’ for five bucks.”

When the guy on the left there puts his hand on Radical Jack’s shoulder to escort him to this conversation they want to have, he busts their fucking heads up. He runs out and takes off on his bike, but he gets cornered by the various agents. One agent, the guy running this clown show, says he only wants five minutes of Radical Jack’s time. If he doesn’t like what he has to say, he can ride out of there. Radical Jack punches the head agent. Two agents restrain RadJack, but boss man tells the agents to let him go. RadJack tries attacking him again.

But you know what? That’s just Radical Jack. He’s Radical. He’s a Jackhole. He’s a real man!

This guy has information for Radical Jack. Radical Jack doesn’t want to trust these people anymore. Apparently someone had done something bad to Radical Jack and he claims that some guy named Riotti was the one who did him wrong, not this intelligence outfit. So Radical Jack comes to his senses.

I certainly hope you are keeping up because neither myself nor Radical Jack will be repeating a goddamn thing.

Radical Jack cleans himself up, gets a suit (no tie, of course), gets a shave (keep that goatee though, naturally), and somehow grow out a ridiculously glorious mullet.

Look at that thing. That’s fucking magnificent. That goes down past his goddamn shoulder blades, right? But then, we see him driving to wherever he needs to go to chase down this Riotti character. He’s in his jeep and the wind musses his hair, and check it out…

That’s not just a hair helmet of a mullet, oh no. That looks feathered. The wind has even teased that son of a bitch too. Glorious.

Radical Jack comes into the small town of Hope. What state? I dunno. It looks like sort of in the south, but also there are big hills or small mountains in the distance. Is it Hope, California? Hope, Georgia? I dunno and I’m not sure I care. Small towns are where all the international bad guys do things.

He notices a window where blinds are being raised. Inside the room, a girl, Dedee Pfeiffer’s Kate, who looks like Cameron Diaz from the earlier part of the 90s is tits out and getting dressed after what I can only imagine is a night of sleeping or a morning of sex. She tells her boyfriend in bed, named Rolland, that she can’t do this anymore. Rolland is confused. Apparently this is not the first time these two have been on the verge of breakup.

Rolland and this Kate are screwing around, but Rolland is married. Apparently, Rolland has promised to dump his wife, but he keeps dragging his feet on that. She wants him out of her life, but Rolland says it’s a bad time. He tells her, rather forcefully, that she’s clearly not thinking straight and he’ll talk about this with her again when she’s calmed down.

Radical Jack is doing some laundry in the Hope laundromat. He sees a little girl and her mother and he has a sepia tone flashback of his wife and little girl. He has to shake it off because I guess something bad happened. After doing his laundry, Radical Jack drives off and passes the Hummer driven by Rolland. Radical Jack gets a job at a tavern where he can bartend and do some handyman work. The owner decides to let Radical Jack stay in the vacant room above the bar. Alright, so he’s got a place to work, a place to do laundry, and a place to rest that wonderful mullet for sleep. We’re moving right along here with this movie.

While on a stakeout watching bad guys, Radical Jack has another sepia tone flashback of his family. That ends when he sees Rolland show up at the house he’s watching. There’s a whole conversation going on has something to do with weapons. The main bad guy, played by Buck Flowers, is in arms dealing. But more like illegal arms dealing. They get guns and missiles and they sell them to other guys who need guns and missiles. All from this small town.

It should also surprise no one that there are racists in this town.

I have a bad feeling this movie is going to be one of those catch-all types of hero pictures. Radical Jack is chasing after a guy who did him personal wrong. You know, the whole Frank Castle thing where a bad guy killed his family, and now he’s going to kill the bad guy. Then, there’s that whole thing with Buck Flowers dealing guns and missiles (yes, literally missiles). That’ll be something Radical Jack has to bust up. Now, there’s a gang of racists. He’ll beat them up. I bet someone punches Dedee Pfeiffer and he’ll have to beat them up too (probably Rolland). That’s what’s going on here, isn’t it?

Oh! I bet Dedee Pfeiffer is going to fall head over heels in love with Radical Jack, but he will be hung up on the memory of his dead wife and dead Miley. So he’ll not be able to love her back. He’ll leave town and the rest of Dedee Pfeiffer’s life will be living with unrequited love for Radical Jack. She’ll be waiting tables at the bar Radical Jack used to work at. Men will come in, and maybe some ladies too, and they will pine for her. I bet they will even be good for her too. But anyway, they’ll try to love her, but she’ll reject them because none of them, not a single one, will be able to mend her achy breaky heart.

So yeah, Radical Jack rolls up and stands up for this old black man. He says he’s checking on his friend to see if anyone is causing him any trouble. Does… Does he know this old black man? Or did he just have his “someone is committing a racism” radar pinging and he showed up to fuck up these guys? He actually doesn’t fuck up the bad guys. Nope. What does he do? He sizes one guy up and delivers a hell of an action line.

He asks the old black man if he’s okay, learns there are some bad apples in town, and then asks about whether or not some family named the Buckworths owns a building in town. Turns out, they own most of the town. But what Radical Jack is looking for is a large building like a warehouse. The old man tells him there’s something like that at the fairgrounds.

However, it’s getting pretty close to Radical Jack’s shift at the shitkicker bar. He shows up and the two waitresses, Dedee Pfeiffer and a sexy brunette, are talking about how glorious that new bartender’s hair is. Well… In so many words. They are talking about how he hasn’t said a single word to the sexy brunette all day. Kate also tells sexy brunette that she’s kicked Rolland to the curb. Sexy brunette warns that Kate needs to be careful because Rolland? Well, he’s an insane person.

It should also come as no surprise that Rolland is drinkin’ buddies with the racists assholes from the previous scene. They are at the bar high fiving over some bullshit story about how Rolland had a threesome. Seriously, they are high fiving Rolland. They are high fiving each other. It’s fucking insane. In fact, this is potentially revealing of potential latent homosexual behavior with these racists.

Anyway, a sheriff deputy shows up and asks to speak to Rolland privately. He says that he and his wife, Susan, wants out of whatever thing this deputy is up to with Rolland. Rolland seems pretty cool with this because, as he says, he doesn’t want anything they were doing to get in the way of this deputy’s marriage to his sexy wife. I guarantee this will not end well. Anyway, Rolland says it’s all done, and there’s nothing to be worried about.

Anyway, the next morning, the racists gang in the pick up truck run the deputy off the road and light him and his car on fire before tossing it off a cliff. But… Uh oh. His wife, Susan, also knows. So another deputy who is also wrapped up in whatever nefarious shit is going on in town decides to pay Susan a visit. Susan claims that Billy, the now burnt up, dead deputy, was weak and she thinks she can use her sexy body, hot curls, and incredible tits to settle this whole thing with this other sheriff.

She fucks him, he’s receptive of this (because, fucking duh), and then he guns her down in bed.

I guess add corrupt cops to this movie’s list of things Radical Jack needs to bust up. The guy who killed the sexy wife tells the cops and news that there was cocaine found in the house and Billy is missing which means he must be a murder suspect. Later that day, this is Day 3 of this supposed mission that Radical Jack is on by the way, Radical Jack is spying on the big warehouse like place at the fairgrounds. Guys are transporting in and out guns (and probably missiles too). Guys are testing the merchandise right there on the outside of the building. By the way, when they are testing these guns, it’s quite loud. It’s giving Radical Jack flashbacks of when his family was murdalated.

The flashbacks keep coming, even during a tenderly scored, sweaty, and hard-working Billy Ray Cyrus montage.

We learn through the bar’s owner that it’s pretty obvious that Radical Jack was a service member. The bar owner thinks that because he works so damn hard he must have been a soldier. Clearly you can’t have a hard work mentality unless you’re some sort of jarhead. Anyway, turns out that yeah, this is Lieutenant Radical Jack Awesomeness. He was a Navy Seal in Desert Storm. That scene ends and I’m pretty sure it means nothing to the grand conclusion of this movie other than the fact that he kills real good.

That night at the bar, Kate wants to fuck that Radical Jack Dick. Her sexy brunette friend tells her to watch that shit because Rolland and one of the racist rednecks is sitting right over there and she can’t be flirting with Radical Jack unless she wants serious trouble. Kate hears none of that and just asks if Radical Jack has talked to her sexy brunette face. Sexy brunette tells Radical Jack that Rolland and Racist Man #1 over there have a “hard on” for him so he best steer clear.

I like this brunette’s style. I also think Dedee Pfeiffer is cute too as she continues to try to flirt with Radical Jack. And I did mention earlier that those guys high fiving each other over their friend’s threesome was probably harboring some latent homosexual thoughts, but we’ll investigate that more later. All I know is that they have a hard on for Radical Jack.

Oh… I guess I just investigated that latent business. Never mind!

I do have some questions though. What is Jack’s mission? He’s been here for like 3 or 4 days and has done nothing despite knowing there are shenanigans in town. He’s just tending bar. Why is he a government guy? The movie doesn’t need to be this complicated. Why not just make it more like Road House? Radical Jack rolls into town. Maybe he has some past troubles or something. He finds out this asshole is running shit and he decides to stick up for the people in town who don’t like him.

Seriously. This is way more complicated than it needs to be. This movie has been mostly spinning its wheels for the majority of this first half of the movie. Shitty Paul Rudd here, Rolland, is clearly a rich boy asshat who tucks his t-shirt into his slacks. We don’t need him to be running guns. We don’t even need him to do much more than just treating people like assholes. Maybe he deals drugs. He should probably do something shitty. But something on the level of a federal crime that will definitely put you into butt-rape prison is not required for this movie to work.

We’ve seen Radical Jack serve up drinks. We’ve seen him come to the aid of an old black man. We’ve seen him get ogled over by Dedee Pfeifer and a sexy brunette, played by Cassie Branham. We’ve seen him get ogled over by his boss because he was in the service. We’ve seen him win over a large portion of the town because he beat up shitty Paul Rudd. We’ve seen him spy on the bad guys. What are his goals here?

After getting into that fight, getting some threats that he needs to leave ASAP, and having a moment with Kate while she cleans him up, Radical Jack asks his boss what he knows about every one of these bad guys. But what’s he do with that information? Does he come in fists and feet flying to bust up the bad guys? Nope! He just goes back to spying on them again. This is a movie. Ya don’t have to actually build a case against bad guys, Radical Jack.

“I don’t know how any of this stuff works.”

Radical Jack does radio his superior to tell him that he apparently has some sort of date confirmation for the shenanigans. Kate and Becky (I finally learned the name of the hot, hot brunette) shack up for now so Kate can stay away from Rolland. This leads to the best shots of the movie since that one chick seduced that one doofy sheriff to her own peril.

I gotta give it to this movie. There’s something here for both the guys and girls. Sure, Radical Jack’s rugged, country music good looks, and that pouring water over him in slow motion will get some women pretty hot and bothered. But let’s face it, fellas. We’ve got Dedee Pfeiffer looking pretty cute the only way through. Cassie Branham is a serious smoke show. Then, earlier, that Susan chick (played by Orly Tepper) had some pretty nice knockers. Guys, we’re getting good stuff too.

The movie sucks, but whatever.

Check it out… We’re in the girl getting beat up part of the movie. Rolland tosses Kate up against his Hummer and warns her that she will never speak to Radical Jack again because it will make Rolland look like he has a tiny dick or something. Whatever these assholes always say in these situations. I don’t know how these people think.

By the way, Becky revealed to Kate that before she and Rolland got together, Becky was Rolland’s side piece. She never said anything to Kate because Rolland threatened to kill her if she did. Becky accidentally lets it slip that his days of controlling her and Becky are over. What’s that mean, Kate? She then says that it wasn’t anything she said, but what Becky didn’t say. He throttles Kate. Then punches her. Then slaps her around and much worse after she slapped him. He leaves her knocked out on the pavement and he takes off to do other stuff that shitty Paul Rudds need to do.

Meanwhile, Buck Flower is concerned about Rolland. He thinks his son is a total fuck up. He can’t count on him to do the right thing about Radical Jack. He’s simply too radical for Rolland. He wants the cop who killed that one girl he fucked earlier to get all the background deets on Radical Jack. Find out just how radical this guy is, dammit!

Kate comes home to Becky’s in pretty bad shape. Becky swears she will fix Rolland but good. Later, at the bar, Becky is talking to Radical Jack and the idiot sheriff, who Jack knows is trying to find out how radical he is, comes up and asks for his ID – you know, so he can find out how radical Jack is. Kate comes in for her shift despite having her face all swollen and messed up. Radical Jack gets pissed. Well, he’s in his usual radical state, but he gets real mad now. He decides to go over to Rolland’s cronies hang out to beat the shit out of Rolland.

Rolland is ready for him. This time he has ALL his goons here ready to fight Radical Jack. The goons jump our hero and they get him pretty good. They kick the shit out of Radical Jack and one of the goons drive Radical Jack back to the bar and he’s pretty messed up.

When the screen says it is now Day 5 of this movie, I am suddenly reminded that there is supposedly a character named Riotti that ruined Radical Jack’s life. Where’s he at? How is he related to the other bad guys? Maybe we’re getting somewhere with that because the sheriff reports back to Buck Flower that Radical Jack is former military. He went MIA in Iraq in ’91. Of course, we know he then went on to work for the government as a Radical CIA Agent or something. Buck Flower freaks out and wants to know where he is, and the sheriff says he doesn’t know. He was damn near killed by Rolland’s boys. When he went to find out how he was doing in the ICU at the hospital, he was gone.

Where could he have gone?

Kate threw him in a wheelchair and snuck him out the backdoor of the hospital. Now, how do you think that works? He was in Intensive Care. How do you just toss him into a wheelchair and get him out of the hospital like that? Oh fuck it.

Buck Flower is extra pissed off at Rolland now that he finds out that Radical Jack is actually CIA. Rolland thinks he’s hot shit in a champagne glass, but he’s just cold diarrhea in a Dixie cup because Radical Jack had lots of connections. One of which was that Riotti guy who apparently is, somehow, connected with Buck Flower’s gun running operation. Radical Jack wakes up at Becky’s and is real happy that Kate is taking care of him.

Rolland comes into the bar with his goons and they start fucking the place up. He’s looking for Radical Jack. He also questions Becky about where Kate is. He claims if she’s with Radical Jack, he’ll kill her. He then says that he and Becky have some unfinished business. Rolland and his goon squad go to Becky’s house to try to find Kate and/or Radical Jack. I should also mention that Radical Jack has lost some of his radical luster because he got beat up real bad.

You know what? Rolland is the type of wildly out of control guy who would be the ABSOLUTE WORST person to include in any of your nefarious plans. He is wildly out of control. He is desperately entitled. He has the worst friends who do dirty work with him. He’s the type of guy who will run as much danger of being killed by his own father as he would be Radical Jack.

I also have questions about Buck Flowers’ gang. These are literal rednecks. They act like school bullies and people who are a half step away of running afoul of one citizen of this town who owns a shotgun to reach his limit with these fuckers and the house of cards is a pile of paper on the floor. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. Riotti is coming in tomorrow to get these guns from Buck Flower. Back at Becky’s, Radical Jack, who is still almost incapable of moving without nearly dying, asks Kate to wake him up at 7 in the morning for action.

Kate decides he needs different action right now.

So, Kate says she promises to wake Radical Jack up at 7am the next morning, but she’s nowhere to be found. He has to deal with the alarm clock like I have to each Monday morning after raging every minute of the weekend. He tosses that motherfuckin’ alarm across the room and starts suiting up and arming himself. At the little shitburg’s airport, Riotti arrives to pick up guns and missiles. Riotti is being transported to the fairgrounds and Buck Flower is nervously awaiting the arrival to finish the deal.

Meanwhile, Buck Flower’s guys are dumb as shit because they manage to only guard the front. Radical Jack sneaks in behind them. Kate also shows up and tells the sheriff that she needs to talk to Rolland. She claims to know where Radical Jack is and that he plans to kill Rolland. Because Rolland, and everyone else involved with this gang are morons, Rolland lets her into the warehouse where the deal is happening. Radical Jack is here too, and he’s got fuckin’ grenades.

That’s pretty radical, Jack.

Question. Does he know Kate is there now too? Did he send her there? Did she fuck up his plans to blow everyone to kingdom come? He says he’s here only for Riotti. Riotti swears he wasn’t to blame for his family dying. Radical Jack doesn’t care. Buck Flower seems to be okay with letting Radical Jack have his revenge, but Rolland takes Kate hostage and then shoots his own dad. Radical Jack pretty much kills all of Rolland’s goons fairly quickly. Kate kicks Rolland in the balls and gets away.

Radical Jack continues taking out goons all over the fuckin’ place. He even kills some of the guys loyal to Buck Flower. However, he gets winged by Rolland and things look pretty bad.

Pinchin’ a big ass loaf bad.

But yeah, Kate picked up a gun from a dead goon and she kills Rolland. That basically only leaves Riotti. Radical Jack and Kate argue about her getting out of there while Riotti just slinks around. Riotti is able to sneak up behind Kate and grab her and put a knife to her throat. To show Radical Jack he’s serious about getting a chance to kill the woman he loves a second time, he slices her arm. Shit is getting pretty damn tense around here, kiddos.

In fairly anti-climatic terms, Riotti licks Kate’s face before planning to kill Radical Jack and/or Kate. Radical Jack just shoots him in the head. We find out that Jack’s boss at the CIA didn’t exactly set up Radical Jack, but it was all very messy and it required Radical Jack’s family to die and then pull Radical Jack back in to get Riotti. It’s incredibly stupid, but whatever. Radical Jack asks to kiss Kate before they kill him. He tells her there’s a gun in his waist behind his back. He has her pull it out and kill all the CIA guys. That seems… not well thought out?

Doesn’t the rest of the CIA know what’s going on? Wouldn’t this basically make them fugitives for… like… ever?

Oh, whatever. This movie is finally over.

Radical Jack is almost good enough for a bad movie night with your friends. When it wants to be stupid, it does a great job of making you laugh pretty hard. However, there’s a big, fairly fatal problem with the movie. It’s not that it’s a dumb movie. That’s most of the movie’s charm. It’s not that it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Most bad movies don’t make any damn sense. It’s the fact that there aren’t enough dumb or over the top scenes strung together to make this an overly entertaining watch. The movie is also somewhat dull too. This is a very long 95-minute movie.

And that? That just won’t do.

I will give this movie some positives. First, I’m always up for a George “Buck” Flower appearance in a movie. I feel like he should be in most of the movies done on this blog. Second, I will say if you are a lady that thinks Billy Ray Cyrus is a hunk, you’re probably going to be pleased with this movie and the handful of beefcake moments he’ll give you. If you’re a guy, like me, you’ll like the third thing the most – there are three extremely watchable and attractive women in this movie. Dedee Pfeiffer is very appealing. Orly Tepper, who only basically shows up to show off her girls, is very sexy. But Cassie Branham has a new fan in me. She’s downright dreamy. She would be done with acting before the end of 2001. I have no idea what ever became of her, but she will be fondly remembered by yours truly for her work in this really dumb action movie.

Okay, I think I need to get the hell out of Dodge and say that our next article will take us to the 80s for a peculiar slasher that is almost as non-sensical as Radical Jack. We’re going to a party in some dude’s family’s furniture store for Hide and Go Shriek! Why don’t you do me a favorite and follow B-Movie Enema on Facebook and Twitter and make sure to subscribe to the B-Movie Enema channel on YouTube to check out the various vids that get posted there. That way you can be aware when it’s time for each new article of B-Movie Enema!

Until next week, get that mullet of yours quaffed and feathered and let’s go kick some redneck ass!

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