Why send John McClain when Thomas Ian Griffith’s Jack Wild can do the job!

On my seemingly never ending quest to see every Die Hard inspired film known to man, It has led me to Thomas Ian Griffith’s mid 90s effort, CrackerJack.

You should know me by now UAMC readers, I am all about physical media forever and building my collection, but there are a large number of action films from the 80s and 90s that are neglected when it comes to making it past VHS.

Especially here in the states. CrackerJack is available on DVD in other countries, but no such luck here. So, needless to say, this one has been on my “must see” list for quite some time. Amazon Prime is definitely the best streaming service in terms of a deep well of obscure films from the past. So it was a late Christmas surprise when I seen that all 3 (yes there are three) CrackerJack movies are now available via Prime!

The Legendary Thomas Ian Griffith

Thomas Ian Griffith. What can I say? We all grew up with him from his role in Karate Kid III, but why he never reached super-stardom as a leading action hero of the 90s is one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. The looks, the martial arts skills and even the acting chops, he definitely had “it”.

In CrackerJack, Thomas Ian Griffith stars as Jack Wild, a cop who has been spiraling out of control ever since his wife and children were tragically taken from him in a mob hit. He became such a loose cannon that he developed the nickname “CrackerJack”, hence the movie title. His brother (Richard Sali) decides that a much needed vacation is in order. Much to Jack’s dismay.

The first bit of the movie, he is an asshole to everyone pretty much, but in flashbacks, the movie does a good job with showing what transpired and you can sympathize with him more. Thomas Ian Griffith/Jack does a good job at portraying a haunted man who lost everything.

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One of Griffith’s Best Adventures

They arrive at this mountain top ski resort type place and it provides a pretty cool, unique backdrop for the action to come. He soon crosses paths with Nastassja Kinski (Terminal Velocity/Al Pacino’s Revolution) who works as an activity director/tour guide and their on screen chemistry is instant and pretty undeniable.

Just as Jack finally is enjoying this vacation, the place is taken over by a small army of ruthless criminals. Their leader, played by legendary actor Christopher Plummer (All The Money in the World/12 Monkeys). Plummer turns in a very good, almost chilling performance that elevates the movie. Turns out, he is the hit man that was ordered to take out Wild’s wife and kids. They are there for a diamond fortune that the owner of the resort has and they are even willing to trigger a natural disaster involving a nearby glacier to do it.

Thomas Ian Griffith Deserves our Ultimate Respect for ‘Excessive Force’

Now to the ultimate action!

While not quite as epic as I had hoped, it was still very enjoyable. My favorite fight of the movie came early on during the takeover where Wild (Thomas Ian Griffith) took on a baddie on a rooftop. The bad guy threw a knife at him that got stuck in this door…they battle into the doorway and just as he is about to kill our hero, the wind blows the door closed and what happens? The baddie gets stuck with his own knife! So awesome, I had to laugh.

Plenty of good lines and shootouts keep things interesting. Like I mentioned, the resort and location made for some pretty cool stunts. He calls on help from some nearby marines, led by Duncan Frasier (Timecop/Red Scorpion 2), but all they end up doing is getting shot out of the sky and blown up on some ski lifts.

While not Griffith’s best outing (see Excessive Force or my previously reviewed Hollow Point), he still turns on the charm and makes CrackerJack another worthy entry in a leading role career that is far too short.

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