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Jack's Back [VHS] (1988)

James Spader , Cynthia Gibb , Rowdy Herrington  |  R |  VHS Tape
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: James Spader, Cynthia Gibb, Jim Haynie, Robert Picardo, Rod Loomis
  • Directors: Rowdy Herrington
  • Writers: Rowdy Herrington
  • Producers: Andre Blay, Cassian Elwes, Elliott Kastner, Tim Moore
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, HiFi Sound, NTSC
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: Paramount
  • VHS Release Date: January 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6301094409
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #273,794 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Jack's Back

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Twice The Spader...Twice The Suspense! December 20, 2003
Format:VHS Tape
This could've simply been one of those formulaic pieces of Eighties fluff spawned by the likes of THE LOST BOYS, where you have the ADD-style MTV editing, lots of slick cinematography and a cool-if-creepy soundtrack, anchored by a good theme song, (which "Red Harvest Comes" really is.) What makes JACK different from all the rest is that it's anchored by a really good performance from...JAMES SPADER???
Until "sex, lies and videotape," I had narrow-mindedly ghettoized Spader into a good looking, priggy jerk, identifying him mostly with the kind of roles he usually played in the John Hughes movies...the snotty, arrogant, broomstick-up-the-bum rich kid who got his kicks by crushing the identities of poorer, less popular mortals. His deeply affecting performance in "sex" completely caught me off guard, but once I saw JACK, I began to understand that as an actor, to say that Spader has been underestimated is hardly even describing the situation.
Playing twins with every bit as much skill as Jeremy Irons did in the overlooked DEAD RINGERS, Spader plays "naughty" and "nice" sides of the same coin. The "nice" side is apparently a saintly doctor who treats the rich and well-to-do by day, of course, but after work devotes his time and energies to a free clinic in Echo Park, where he seems to be at constant loggerheads with the clinic's unctious director, and catching the eye of a more-than-slightly-interested volunteer, (FAME'S Cynthia Gibb.)
Good Twin Spader and Gibb become involved in a murder mystery involving dead hookers. Well, not just dead, but butchered, and not just by any sick puppy.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly pretty good. September 3, 2002
By Eric
Format:VHS Tape
Despite having one of the worst titles I've ever heard, Jack's Back is actually a nifty little thriller, a true hidden gem if I ever saw one. I happened to come across the film at a used video store (like the title, the cover box is pretty awful, too) (makes you wonder if the trailers and TV promos were also just as [bad]), and being a James Spader fan, decided to give it a look. Nice to see this turned out to be one of the better impulse buys I've made in a while.
The title refers to Jack the Ripper, or more specifically, a copycat who's committing similar murders in Los Angeles on the same days on the hundredth anniversary of when the original killings occurred. Without giving anything away, I'll simply say that James Spader and Cynthia Gibbs are the protagonists who are searching for the killer, even though Spader himself might be the one.
Despite a plot that plays somewhat like a routine thriller, the story is still fairly enjoyable for what it is. There are a few plot twists and turns, some unpredictable, some rather obvious. Fans of whodunnits (and let's face it, I think everyone enjoys a good whodunnit every once in a while) will find just enough intriguing detail to make this at least an average viewing.
But what sets this apart from many thrillers, particularly those of the late 80's, is the emphasis on characters. Writer/director Rowdy Herrington probably spends even more time developing the lead protagonists than he does fueling the main plot (I can actually see how this might somewhat disappoint whodunnit fans hoping for a very convoluted plot, or slasher fans expecting more, well, slashing). Because of this, the suspense is ratcheted up a few notches, and we truly care about the outcome.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely overlooked 80's crime/thriller. July 12, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Someone is killing prostitutes in a very Jack The Ripper-esque fashion on the 100 year anniversaries of The Ripper's original murders. A med student (Spader) gets caught up in the last murder and winds up meeting a tragic fate. Now his twin brother (also played by Spader) is out to find the man responsible for his death. In turn, he gets caught up in the middle of the murder case in the process. Oh, and he has to clear his own name because he is a suspect in the before mentioned case AND also a suspect in his own brothers murder.
Jack's Back is an odd movie and kind of deceiving. You see, no one in their right mind is gonna market a movie this complicated. So what the box tells you is that Jack's Back is about a murderer mimicking the Jack The Ripper slayings of a century ago. Well, that's only half the movie. Really just 1/3. Jack's Back is a murder mystery turned revenge noir turned suspense thriller that manages to avoid drowning itself in murky plot, pointless subplot, or endless dialogue in an attempt to competently tell the story and wrap everything up in the end. From the title and basic premise of the film one may think it's just your basic slasher type/murder mystery exploitation stuff that was being recycled and rehashed endlessly during the period when this movie was released. If so, you're wrong...
Writer/director Rowdy Herrington gives us a strong, well developed script with great characters and memorable situations. His ability to shift from a murder mystery to revenge flick to thriller deserves major acclaim. Props to Herrington for creating such likeable and complex characters in the process. From a directing standpoint, Herrington gives the movie a moody and uneasy atmosphere, blanketing it in thick fog and laying on a soft, soporific score to boot.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth the watch...
It's an old movie but it is still a good watch compared to the newer horror films out there today.
Published 7 months ago by R M M
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed.
This is the movie that I wanted of James Spader and I couldn't play it. It wouldn't play in my Blu - Ray. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Sueg
5.0 out of 5 stars jack's back
very entertaining!well acted.james spader has always been one of my favorites.also the story was well written,such a well know subject.
Published 10 months ago by billiegervers
4.0 out of 5 stars what a twist!!!
I really enjoy James Spader' s acting. I did not expect to see what happened. Some characters were cheesy but I liked it none the less.
Published 11 months ago by Margie Stokes
3.0 out of 5 stars Jack's Back
Though this film sadly dates due to film technique and music. I enjoyed this movie. It was an interesting premise of the twin connection to solve a murder mystery; and using the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars A fooler
If you like the young James Spader this movie is a must. He is excellent. The movie is riveting, with so many surprises. It is a 4 star flick for sure.
Published 13 months ago by Delores Clark
4.0 out of 5 stars Good flick
We've been looking for Jack's Back on dvd for a long time. Please note that this movie is PAL format. If your dvd player does not support PAL format do not buy it.
Published 16 months ago by Wile E. Coyote
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product
This movie was a real sleeper and is still as good as I remember it. Thanks for a quality product.
Published 18 months ago by mtn2210
3.0 out of 5 stars Jack's Back
100 years after London's most notorious crime spree, a copycat killer has taken the city of Los Angeles by storm as he recreates each of Jack the Ripper's bloody murders. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Carl Manes
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable if a little dated.
This movie shows its age but it's still a competant little thriller of its time. Spader plays a pair of twins, Robert Picardo of Star Trek everything fame appears (with all his... Read more
Published 21 months ago by MarsTwain
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