Lightning Jack: review
Is this Kane able?
Lightning Jack is directed by Simon Wincer and written by Paul Hogan. Hogan stars as the title character and he’s supported by Cuba Gooding Jr., Beverly D’Angelo, Pat Hingle and L.Q. Jones. Music is by Bruce Rowland and cinematography by David Eggby.
Having burst onto the scene in movie world with Crocodile Dundee in 1986, Paul Hogan it seemed was set for a tilt at being a fully fledged film star. As it transpired, in spite of the first Dundee sequel proving popular, Hogan didn’t have much of a film career at all. So it’s with great interest to revisit his non Dundee films.
Lightning Jack is a comedy Western that pitches Hogan as outlaw Lightning Jack Kane, an Australian in the Old Wild West of America. He hankers to be more well known, to be wanted with a big reward on his head, so after (mis)fortune pairs him up with mute Ben Doyle (Gooding Jr.), they promptly go on an adventure of becoming criminally well known.
It’s really as simple as that, and if we break it down to the bare facts, it’s really just a chance for Hogan to play Hogan in a Wild West setting. But this is harmless comedy fare produced by an engaging comedy actor, okay so it may not be uproarious or have the fresh comedy finesse of Crocodile Dundee, but did it really deserve the scorn it got from critics?
Well it’s very thin on plot leaving us with a film that’s more a stitched together job of funny set-ups (your comedy barometer needs setting at amiable), but it is fun and likable due to Hogan and Gooding being easy to engage with. It also boasts gorgeous scenery, the locales sparkling thanks to smart work by Eggby (Mad Max/Quigley Down Under).
D’Angelo gets to be more than a token hooker with a heart, and is lovely into the bargain. Elsewhere, the presence of L.Q. Jones (Ride the High Country/Major Dundee) and Pat Hingle (Nevada Smith/Hang 'Em High) gives some Western solidification, and interesting cameo appearances by Roger Daltrey and Roger Clemens remind us that it’s just a bit of amusement after all.
Not up to the standard of the criminally under valued Almost An Angel, and of course the first two Dundee movies are on a different plane to this. But it has its moments and is a decent time waster for genre fans in need of a gentle perk me up. 6/10