Directed by Seth Porges
Simultaneously the greatest and worst theme park ever, Action Park operated with danger as a key element of the fun. It was home to some of the most dangerous (and lethal) rides ever, such as speed-controlling toboggans, looping water slides, intense wave pools, and cliff dives. Action Park was brought much further into the public consciousness with the release of the Johnny Knoxville starring comedy movie Action Park in 2018, though this documentary now introduces a sinister side to this theme park of joy.
Class Action Park begins with the park’s owner, Eugene Mulvihill, a wealthy businessman who seemed to pride himself in his irresponsibility. His idea for this theme park was that there was a real danger to most of the rides that made them all the more exciting, where there was a likelihood of being injured in some way, perhaps even killed.
This allure seemed to work for the 80s generation of kids, with this documentary musing on their lack of supervision or responsibility. Many kids would go to Action Park numerous times on their own, risking life and limb each time. A few of these kids are interviewed as adults, reminiscing on this particular age now gone and the varying ways they look back on how seriously they took the danger.
This documentary always has its focus on either the fun, entertainment, and wonder of the theme park or the horrors of the injuries, deceptions, and deaths. It takes the ultimate stance that the park’s existence, although bringing so much joy, was ultimately a hazard due to all the lives lost and the negligence of those that ran it.
Class Action Park works as a revealing exposé on a business that operated in the most shady and irresponsible ways, showing both the unsupervised joy of these times and the grief that came with its grave mishaps. There’s definitely infectious fun to be had in seeing the audacity of some of the more ridiculous rides, especially when it’s coming from a moment in time that will never be repeated.