Master of the motherf***er and lord of the rant, prolific Hollywood star Samuel L Jackson is one of the best-loved guys in the movie business – happy to tackle both high-brow character drama and daft B-Movie trash.
It’s the latter end of the cinematic spectrum we’re looking at here. With Jackson playing a US President who teams up with a 13-year-old Finnish hunter to fight terrorists in next week’s Big Game, we salute the most eccentric, ridiculous and downright bizarre entries on the actor’s CV.
The 51st State (2001)
Jackson stars as a golf-loving, kilt-wearing drug genius who clashes with gangsters, football hooligans and sassy hitwomen while enjoying an eventful trip to the UK. If you’ve ever wanted to see a movie that stars both The Royle Family’s Ricky Tomlinson and rock icon Meat Loaf, you’ve come to the right place.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
It’s a hammy horror thriller about genetically enhanced super-sharks that also stars rapper LL Cool J. Utterly stupid yet winningly self-aware, this movie is most famous for that inspirational speech, and surprise pay-off.
Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
A silly but fun spoof of Lethal Weapon, along with other hit early ’90s films such as Silence Of The Lambs, here our man teams up with Emilio Estevez’s mulleted bad boy to take down William Shatner’s pompous villain – despite his chronic fear of mimes. Tim Curry is great value as a camp Germanic henchman in a chaotic gag-filled caper that’s way funnier than you’d think.
The Spirit (2008)
Frank Miller’s doomed directorial venture is one of the most widely forgotten comic book movies of recent years. Hard to believe really, as you’d think Jackson’s turn as a psychopathic pathologist called ‘The Octopus’ – complete with some of the most garish, OTT costumes in history – would stick in the mind.
Amos and Andrew (1993)
Seemingly lost in the midst of Hollywood obscurity, Jackson’s early team-up with fellow scenery chewer Nicolas Cage is an oddball buddy comedy crime caper. His successful writer teams-up with a low-life crook when they’re both hung out to dry by a corrupt local cop – with predictably farcical results. Warning: this film contains disturbing images of hostages tied-up with fetish gear.
One of the oddest family films of the 90s – no doubt aiming to piggy-back off the success of Beethoven and Homeward Bound – this is the story of a dog who realizes he is the reincarnation of a man who died in a car crash, and sets off to find his old family. Jackson voices a cool, confident St Bernard that the titular character befriends on his journey of terrifying existensial angst.
The Great White Hype (1996)
In this wacky satire, Jackson plays a sleazy, flamboyant and morally-bankrupt boxing promoter who decides that audiences are sick of watching black guys fight each other in the ring. So he enlists the Buddhist, charity-loving frontman of a heavy metal band and convinces him to get involved in the sport. Yeah.
The Search For One-Eye Jimmy (1994)
Sporting some of the downright weirdest head-gear ever committed to film, here our guy steals the show as an eccentric homeless war veteran obsessed with fishing, in a cult low-budget comedy about a student filmmaker’s return to the town where he grew up.
Black Snake Moan (2007)
Controversial and eye-brow raising on its release to say the least, behold the story of one resolute man’s efforts to ‘cure’ a nymphomaniac when he finds her unconscious in the middle of nowhere. Christina Ricci gets chained to the radiator as the religious protagonist tries to change her ways.
Farce Of The Penguins (2007)
Remember that inspiring hit documentary about penguins defying incredible odds to breed and raise their young in Antarctica? Well this is the spoof version, with Jackson taking over narrator duties from Morgan Freeman over the exact same footage – while the likes of Jamie Kennedy and Jason Biggs crack crude sex jokes.
Quantum Quest (2010)
NASA’s educational sci-fi epic is probably one of the most ambitious films you’ve never heard of, assembling an eclectic ensemble cast of voice actors – including space-related stars William Shatner and Mark Hamill – to tell a convoluted parable story taking in lessons on the sun, sub-atomic particles and the laws of physics. It didn’t work out so well.
Before Bond got rebooted and Bourne made his mark, this was Hollywood’s attempt to put big-budget spy movies back on the mainstream agenda. Vin Diesel is an extreme sports star forced to turn secret agent and take on a bunch of Russian anarchists, with Jackson the man holding the reins. Featuring such hilarious delights as Diesel outrunning an avalanche on a snowboard and harpooning himself onto a drug-dispensing ship, it’s a glorious load of old tosh.
Snakes On A Plane (2006)
This is the big one. Jackson reportedly signed up based on the name alone – with the ‘does what it says on the tin’ title also generating a frenzy of tongue-in-cheek internet hype ahead of the movie’s release. Two FBI agents battle to save themselves, their key witness, and the passengers of a commercial airliner when some very nasty criminals unleash a plethora of slithering poisonous creatures at 40,000 ft. Crap in every possible sense.
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