What is Hostage Train Or What is CrackerJack 2?

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Of course the first question then should probably be what is CrackerJack but then we’d be here all day. So, Crackerjack was a 1994 movie that wanted to be Die Hard with a bit of Lethal Weapon, which to be fair Die Hard itself didn’t manage till 1995, so in a way it’s kind of original.

The idea that Jack Wild is a loose cannon cop at a ski resort played by Thomas Ian Griffith, Jack Wild not the ski resort though with his acting it’s kind of hard to tell. Figuring that Riggs was the more popular of the pair Griffith decides to opt for that one while William S Taylor got the part of Murtaugh, though he isn’t in it much enough to matter. Anyway given the nickname Crackerjack by the police force due to his PTS, because Wild was too on the nose perhaps, Griffith is dragged along to a ski resort by his sister and brother in law to cool off. Unfortunately a group of thieves have chosen this moment to come in as part of an elaborate heist which for some reason involves them passing themselves off as terrorists. It’s probably notable only for everyone in it being incompetent and I’m talking about the characters not the cast, this time.

So on with Crackerjack 2 and the first thing we need to talk about is that nobody but stock footage bothers to return. This means that we don’t get Thomas Ian Griffith this time as our loose cannon cop, no this time Jack Wild is played by the honourable Judge Reinhold, yes that Judge Reinhold. And we first see him not kicking butt and taking names but taking photos from the shadows like some weird pervert.

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He sits up on the high beams and watches as a heist crew break in and do their thing until he notices a face amongst the crowd and for anyone who is a hard fan of Crackerjack cannon and that is the the killer of his wife was not Christopher Plummer as the first movie out right said but was in fact Becker a pony tail wearing, clock checking man currently before him. Before we can go any further however the police force comes to join the party. Stealthily sneaking up with quick movements and all those complicated hand movements you see in the movies, this doesn’t really help however as the door is opened to  reveal them waiting with a rocket launcher at the ready.

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A bit of back of forth ensues before the good guys win and Becker skips out in order to give us a plot. So while the bad guys set their plot in motion Wild heads home, or at least to his girlfriend’s apartment, via the window. Yes breaking in he gets the drop on his new girlfriend Dena who probably because of behaviour like this decides to opt for a business trip on a train starting tomorrow. This leaves Wild alone in his underpants on the computer. Perhaps more disturbing that Reinhold in his underpants is the extreme zoom and enhance on display on an early nineties home computer.

Before he can do anything about it however he is attacked by an assassin who worries that he might have snapped a few unflattering shots of his boss. What ensues is a fist fight with Reinhold holding the guy off with a coffee cup and a chair all the while in his underpants. This does however give him his next lead which as you can probably guess leads him to the very train his girlfriend just boarded.

Now Jack needs to find a way aboared a speeding train and so he of course turns to Morey who we last saw as a police officer, still the name drop is appreciated to try and tie this over to the last film. The problem is that while the change to Reinhold was modified by his dyed hair and put on gruff voice that probably went on to inspire Christian Bale when he was approached for the role of Batman. Morey doesn’t survive the change so well however turning from a slightly large black guy to a slightly small white guy. Now I get that they couldn’t get the original actor back, heck they couldn’t get the original lead back but still, if you’re gonna cast someone in the role at least pay attention to that.

So the now white Morey air lifts Jack onto the train all the while doing the typical sidekick style complaining about why he goes along with this and the trouble Jack gets him into. Of course this doesn’t change and straight after dropping him off white Morey spins out of control and crashes not to far from the tunnel. He of course manages to survive with some scuff marks and bumps. From here the movie really starts, ish.

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The tunnel the train is in has collapsed not by accident, the terrorists make their move and white Morey has to dig his way inside. Please note that one of these plot lines goes absolutely nowhere, I bet you can’t guess which one.

Now the plan of the terrorists, if I may lay this out is actually quite clever. They collapse the tunnel behind the train to stop anyone from following them, get everyone off the train into a secret bunker and then send the train onward so that everything appears to be more or less normal on the fancy blinking light computer screen at train drivers HQ. There is now a timed bomb on the train set to explode later down the track so while the police and everyone think everything’s normal for a good while later they get the bank account information out of the prisoners, kill them all and escape before “everyone dies” miles away down the track. My own problem with this is that they send a tape to the police letting them know that he is up to something. They know he is in town but now they’re reminded of that fact and know he’s up to something connected to the railroad.

We find out that Hans Becker isn’t the big bad of the picture which kind of downplays the fact that he killed Jack’s wife after they try to build it up in the first half it also means that we get a repeat of the first movie where the lead villain asks his head henchman to kill off the rest of the henchfolk to make their cuts a bit bigger. Spoiler it goes almost as well as last time and I have a hard time figuring out it is once again lazy writing or an actual call back to the first movie.

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Hostage train is a loose squeal to the first CrackerJack and feels like all the references are ploughed into the first half just to let you know it is so if you are desperate for some Jack Wild stick to Crackerjack.

Still beats Crackerjack 3 though.

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