It's crud like this that caused its production company, New World Pictures, to go under.Truly one of the worst films ever made (not to mention one of the dullest), Jake Speed is a mind-numbing failure on so many levels that you hope those involved are still doing detox time at the Betty Ford Clinic. It's a thinly-veiled ripoff of the wonderful Romancing the Stone but without that small classic's fine characterizations, funny lines and inventive action sequences; and the chief offender among the numerous offenders here is the crushingly-untalented Wayne Crawford, who's the co-producer, co-writer and star with the acting ability and charisma of putrefied cauliflower. The who-cares plot has something to do with the abduction of two beautiful American twentysomethings by a high-class white-slave operation out of North Africa; one of the women's older sister reluctantly employs the services of Jake Speed, who charges no fee and makes his money off of trashy novels based on his own adventures (yet Crawford is such a solipsistic stiff from start to finish that you can't imagine his character having the brain cells to churn out even a half-page prologue). Lots of fistfights and gunplay ensue, all of which are rendered moot due to the atrocious staging by Andrew Lane, whose unfortunate feature-film debut this is; the wisecracks intended to tickle that funny bone are vomituous and delivered with the panache of a strep-throated aida; and the dull-as-dishwater cinematography is no more rich than that of a Pepto-Bismol commercial. If the film has a saving grace, it's the enjoyably hammy supporting performance by the always-welcome John Hurt, who, with a natty mustache and fancy double-breasted suits, plays the head villain with both relish and color while stopping just short of uncouthness. Of course, in a major miscalculation in a puerile production full of them, he doesn't appear until after the first hour, by which time the audience desperately needs this pick-me-up like a street bum a narcotics fix; miraculously, he's the only one in the cast or crew who manages to emerge from this titantic terror unscathed, which shouldn't be viewed as any less an accomplishment than someone winning a marathon in a wheelchair -- which reminds just how artistically handicapped the dreadful Jake Speed is.Sticking your dick in a knothole in a fence would be more tantalizing.