Drive-In Dust Offs: Jack’S Back (1988)

Throughout much of his career, James Spader has excelled at playing a type; and that type is specifically this: rich and arrogant, with a sense of condescension and an air of pretense. It’s not his fault; his wispy (or is that WASPy?) good looks and mellifluous voice initially offer little sympathy to the working class. But when he’s given an opportunity to play against this type, the results are exhilarating. Such is the case with Jack’s Back (1988), a clever thriller elevated by a terrific dual role performance from Spader. Come for Jack the Ripper; stay for James the Spaders.

Released by Palisades Entertainment Group in May, Jack’s Back only made back half of its million dollar budget at the box office and the critics were for the most part, unkind (with the exception of Siskel & Ebert, who liked it – go figure). But writer/director Rowdy Herrington
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