Explosion Jones Brings ‘80s Style Animated Action To Its Natural Conclusion
Action’s got a new name! Or possibly an old name. Either way, Explosion Jones is here, and he’s the post-Sterling Archer action parody that we didn’t know we were waiting for. Look, we all love Archer here at Wizard. But that show and its title character are fully aware that they’re funny. Explosion Jones has no self-awareness and no hidden depths that we can see after the first two episodes. Instead, he’s kind of refreshingly devoid of anything resembling a real personality. Explosion Jones lives to fight, and he literally can’t go more than a minute without someone making an attempt on his life.
The first two episodes of Explosion Jones are up on go90, but the only way that you’re gonna be able to watch them is if you’ve got the app. Is it worth a free download? Oh yeah. For starters, Explosion Jones is voiced by none other than Michael Madsen, a man who knows more than a few things about cheesy action films. Explosion Jones could be pretty much any action hero from the ‘80s, and he doesn’t exactly have a full range of emotions. The only times that he gets vulnerable are when he constantly brings up his tragically dead wife. Instead of playing that for pity, Explosion’s over-the-top grief kind of becomes darkly funny after the first few times that it happens. That’s about as human as he gets.
We could say that Explosion Jones is relatively dedicated to his daughter, Jenny, as voiced by Jaylen Barron. But it’s telling that Explosion seems genuinely relieved when mercenaries try to kill them, because it means that he doesn’t have to show Jenny any excess amount of emotion. In Explosion’s hands, anything becomes a weapon. That includes hydrogen peroxide, forks, egg beaters, severed heads, and pancakes. Yes, pancakes.
Believe it or not, there are actually some subtle touches to this series. There’s a sight gag early in episode 2 that obviously means it took place shortly after the first episode. And we get an outstanding throwaway gag about Explosion’s dog, Boss, driving his car...which is apparently a thing that does happen in his world. Jenny’s relatively well-adjusted compared to her dad, but even she happily takes part in the battles against their enemies. She’s not quite as bloodthirsty as her old man, but she can deal out her share of death.
There are at least ten more Explosion Jones shorts in the first season, but it’s not clear if the show can handle a story longer than three minutes. There’s definitely some appeal to the way that the series jumps into an out of its action scenes at a moment’s notice. And the stories wrap up long before they wear out their welcome. Explosion Jones may not be the next American Dad, yet it feels like there’s a whole world beyond this series that’s ripe for exploration. Carl Weathers, James Hong, Danny Trejo, and Vivica A. Fox are lending their voices to the show later this season, so we may soon get more than two characters who won’t die horribly. From there, who knows? It’s already a show that’s captured our attention, and it should be interesting to see just how far Explosion Jones can go.