Looney Tunes: Back in Action Review

Hello folks, it’s me The Blog Complainer coming at you with an review for something old. Excluding the roulette and the Disneyathon, the last time I think I actually sat down and chose to focus on one particular set of movies was Spy Kids and Robert Rodriguez’s other kids movies about 8 months ago. So during this pandemic period I thought I’d check out more 2000’s/my childhood media. I have a few ideas at the moment and if you have any suggestions please let me know. Anyway, the first thing I thought I would look at is the not so popular sequel to Space Jam – Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

I did a review of Space Jam in my early days of critiquing things, but that review no longer exists. I have always held Back in Action in higher regard than Space Jam because it isn’t a commercial and I liked that each Looney Tune had their own stake in the plot. Lastly I liked this movie more because it felt more like a Looney Tunes movie than Space Jam did. Another factor might be that I watched Back in Action alot in my youth, so we’ll see how well my old stances hold up.

The Young vs the Od

 

The plot to Looney Tunes: Back in Action appears simple at first, but when you add in the self-referential and nonsensical humour it can become puzzling. We’ll come back to that. Firstly we follow Daffy Duck getting annoyed at the Warner Bros executives because he’s tired of being the butt of Bugs Bunny’s jokes. This takes place in a Who Framed Roger Rabbit type world where the Looney Tunes live alongside regular humans. One of the executives, Kate played Jenna Elfman, promptly fires Daffy because she’s tired of his quacking. She hands him over to DJ, played by Brendan Fraser, a security guard/wannabe stunt man/actual stunt man for Brendan Fraser in the Mummy movies. (I warned you this can get a bit confusing.)

DJ is the son of a famous spy actor, who we find out is an actual spy and at the end of the movie DJ punches the actual Brendan Fraser in the face. Spy dad was out to destroy a dangerous diamond called the Blue Monkey before the Chairman of the Acme Corporation, played by Steve Martin, is able to use it for world domination. From there it’s just a series of wacky scenes, all the way until the credits roll.

The story is not really worth mentioning as it’s just Daffy wanting to prove he’s better than Bugs and it doesn’t really go anywhere until the end. DJ and Kate get as much screen time as Bugs and Daffy but their storyline goes nowhere, mainly because at the end we find out they’re just actors in the new Looney Tunes movie. It’s very weird that they’re trying to stop this dangerous monkey diamond but then we find out we’re watching a movie within a movie. Argh! Writing that sentence did my head in! Let’s move on!

The thing we should be focusing on is the comedy. Since this is Looney Tunes there is plenty of slapstick and cartoon violence. As I said earlier, every Looney Tune character gets a moment in the spotlight, from the well known to the obscure. The other gags consist of pop culture references, characters being outrageous or cartoonish and fourth wall breaks.

Beaky is back!
Does anyone remember this guy?

I guess it depends on the type of humour your like as most of the humour in this movie didn’t work for me. I guess I just prefer smaller moments like Porky Pig and Speedy Gonzales being cast out by Warner Bros for not being politically correct instead of more obvious stuff like when the gang are lost in the desert and they just happen to see a Walmart in the distance. They buy fresh clothes from there while calling it out as an obvious product placement. A bit too on the nose for me.

It doesn’t hold up as well as I remembered but it’s still fun. Sure there were some weak parts but the movie never really stopped moving so I was rarely bored thanks to Joe Dante’s great directing. The chase scenes with Yosemite Sam in Vegas and Elmer Fudd in the different art pieces in the Louvre were amongst my favourites. Joan Cusack’s appearance in this movie was probably my favourite as the lab genius at Area 52, the actual secret lab full of aliens. Jerry Goldsmith’s score I feel is underrated as there are a fair number of memorable tracks.

Speaking of underrated, it was nice to see Timothy Dalton, the most underrated James Bond, come back as a spy agent. That was cool. Lastly I guess the closest thing to being outright bad is Steve Martin’s character because he’s so cartoonishly evil, way moreso than any other character, including the Looney Tunes. Despite that I still kind of like him because of how ridiculous Steve Martin’s performance can be.

looney-tunes-back-in-action-jenna-elfman-steve-martin
“My God, man, what am I going to do with you? You’ve done nothing but screw up. You’ve walked off of mesas, been smashed by boulders, and run over by diesel trucks. And don’t blame the equipment. The equipment is good. It’s Acme equipment. You’re a coyote. Be wily!”

Well done young me, you liked something that wasn’t complete trash and because of that here’s a 7 out of 10. Another moment I kind of liked was when animated Shaggy criticises Matthew Lillard who played the live action version of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo movie for making his character too much of a space cadet. Why did I mention that random joke for no reason? I don’t know, just felt like mentioning it. Expect more reviews in the coming days and I have been The Blog Complainer and yeah, That’s all Folks!

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