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  Strike Commando The Jungle's JumpingBuy this film here.
Year: 1987
Director: Bruno Mattei
Stars: Reb Brown, Christopher Connelly, Louise Kamsteeg, Luciano Pigozzi, Alex Vitale, Karen Lopez, Philip Gordon, Edison Navarro, Ricardo Santos, Jim Gaines, Fred Gahudo, Juliet D. Lei, Rose De Guida, Rene Abadeza, Charley Patiro
Genre: Action, War, Trash, Adventure
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sergeant Michael Ransom (Reb Brown) is on a mission in the jungles of Vietnam where the war is raging. He and his team must set explosives at an enemy munitions store under cover of darkness and get out safely before things go boom, which turns out to be a lot more difficult than they anticipated. Call it bad timing, call it bad luck, but one of the men is discovered by a Viet Cong soldier and the alarm is raised - back in the jungle, Colonel Radek (Christopher Connelly) gives the orders to set off the charges in spite of the commandos not having returned yet, transforming this into a suicide mission...

Now, quite what interest the Italians had in the United States winning the Vietnam War has not been well recorded, but what has been was the way they pandered to the population across the Pond by emulating their hit movies, and so it was once the Spaghetti Westerns had dwindled to a trickle the film producers there sought other blockbusters to copy. One such success was Sylvester Stallone's Rambo: First Blood Part II, therefore as sure as night followed day there were a multitude of suspiciously similar entries in that very field, a field that was being blown up by rocket launchers and sprinted across by a machine gun-firing G.I.

Not that they had to be American, of course, but Reb Brown was, and being of huge, muscular physique the perfect embodiment of how the rest of the world liked to envisage such soldiers. His most celebrated role would have been as the unforgettable... er, whosisname? Oh yeah, Yor, The Hunter from the Future, a sword and sorcery epic made after Conan the Barbarian (quite some way after), but he continued plugging away in action adventures for a good twenty years or more, often directed by Bruno Mattei, who took the reins with Strike Commando. It might have had a title which tried to fool you into thinking you had a certain Arnold Schwarzenegger effort in store...

...but this was a tribute to Sly all the way as the double-crossed Ransom is the sole survivor of Kadek's itchy trigger finger and swears vengeance, though not before he is taken in by a Vietnamese village who happen to be on his side. Making friends with small child Lao, he decides he can bring them all back to The Land of the Free with him, so off they trek, only to hit a snag when they are attacked by the V.C.; again, Ransom gets away, but not without a price. Hailed a hero back at base and under media scrutiny, he cannot just bump off Kadek right there and then, so agrees to go on another mission, especially because it means he can return to that village of poor souls.

Alas, they are even more the worse for wear than when he left them, extremely so: they've all been shot dead. Only Dondi, sorry, Lao is left, burbling about Disneyland which Ransom assures him he will see one day - but then the child expires and he is left roaring in anguish. It should be heartwrenching, yet it's purely ridiculous as its barefaced cheek at trying to hit the emotional buttons would be transparent even in a slicker movie. Our man puts the blame squarely on Soviet man mountain Jakoda (Alex Vitale): you can tell this since Ransom yells his name at every opportunity as the film increases the ludicrous quotient to critical levels. It was all very well recreating key scenes from Rambo, but to do so with no apparent idea of what it was the original creators were aiming for guaranteed hilarity as one tone deaf action scene followed another (watch for the head to head combat), with the rival forces unable to shoot the hero from a foot away. In its fashion, it curiously approached a view of Americans that bordered on parody. Music by Luigi Ceccarelli.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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