Jack Walker (2021) Review
At one time Jack Walker (Stefan Morawietz, Sky Sharks, Ip Man 2) was the biggest action star in the world. Well, the biggest action star in Germany. But those days are long gone, and even the DTV film offers have dried up. With the bills piling up he has no choice but to take a role in an uber low-budget film he feels is beneath him.
His feelings seem to be confirmed when Steve (Ben Plunkett-Reynolds, Jack and Ralph Plan a Murder), the director, and his assistant Piet (Bartholomäus Kowalski, Ultimate Justice) keep having issues and the stunts keep going wrong. The presence of co-star Sylvia Meadows (Kathrin Höhne, The Hitman Agency) keeps Jack in a good mood though.
But when the abandoned hotel they’re using for a location turns out to be the hiding place of a shipment of drugs that Alexej (Denis Lyons, Flesh City, Absolution) and his gang are looking for, Jack Walker is going to have to become a real hero.
Director Tanay Genco Ulgen is making his feature debut with Jack Walker, but he has worked as a stuntman and fight coordinator on films such as Skylines, Attrition and Female Fight Squad. And while Andreas Urra and Mathias Urra are first-time writers, Andreas has worked as an editor and effects man. So they should be up to the task of making a low-budget film set on a low-budget film set.
Actors and stuntpeople having to fight real villains is hardly a new idea. It’s been used in everything from TV’s The Fall Guy to Nightshooters and We Will Not Die Tonight. Which means it’s due to be spoofed. And, to a degree, Jack Walker does have a few laughs at it and action films in general. But it isn’t a full-out comedy, the film’s action scenes are played straight. There’s no turning them into slapstick brawls, although a fight in a kitchen with improvised weapons does have a neat sight gag. Most of the fight scenes are fairly simple one-on-one affairs, with Chris (Ron Holzschuh, Verbotene Liebe) doing most of the fighting. Until the film’s climax that is.
That’s when they finally let Mike Möller loose to do his thing. As an actor and stuntman, Möller has been in everything from Atomic Eden and Resident Evil to Plan B, another excellent film in the fighting stuntmen genre. Here as Daniel, one of the film’s stunt crew, he gets to show off some incredible moves as well as basic brawling. I just wish he’d had more time on screen.
Jack Walker is an enjoyable film that doesn’t try to overreach its limited budget. Making the most of a talented if not well-known cast Ulgen delivers some unexpectedly serious moments such as when the initially arrogant Jack is forced to admit age is getting the better of him. What could have been a moment of horrible self-pitying comes off as one of strength instead.