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  Nightforce Grab them guns and go get 'em
Year: 1987
Director: Lawrence David Foldes
Stars: Linda Blair, James Van Patten, Richard Lynch, Chad McQueen, Dean R. Miller, James Marcel, Claudia Udy, Bruce Fisher, Cameron Mitchell, Jeanne Baird, Casey King, Mitchell Edmonds, Cork Hubbert, Bob McKracken, T.J. Acosta
Genre: Action, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Yet another trashy item in the garbage can that is the back catalogue of the amiable Linda Blair. Nightforce casts the erstwhile Pazuzu-possessee as Carla, best friend of ambassador's daughter Christie (Claudia Udy), a young woman with a lot going on in her life. For one thing her father (Cameron Mitchell, in a take-the-money-and-run cameo) has been targeted by murderous terrorists from South America. On top of that although Christie is set to marry obnoxious millionaire Bob Worthington she spends afternoons getting hot and heavy in the hayloft with his nicer younger brother, Steve (James Van Patten). On the way home from aerobics one day Christie gets kidnapped by terrorists who rape her in the back of their van as they make their getaway! In lieu of the government's no negotiating with terrorists policy, Bob is all set to wait it out but Steve has other ideas. He and his college buddies, Henry (Chad McQueen, son of the iconic Steve McQueen proving cool is not genetic), Mack (James Marcel), Eddie (Dean R. Miller) and Carla grab a bunch of guns and rocket launchers and head south of the border to kick some Commie ass.

Let's start with that title: Nightforce doesn't make a lick of sense given ninety percent of the action unfolds in broad daylight. Prior to this grade-Z actioner there was the similarly plotted Let's Get Harry (1986) starring Mark Harmon, Jake Busey and Robert Duvall wherein the abduction of an American construction worker in Latin American spurs his buddies to grab some guns and go save their friend. America was in the midst of a right wing resurgence spearheaded by actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan. Gung-ho values were the order of the day and Nightforce espouses the same kill-them-commie-bastards spirit found in Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (1985) and The Delta Force (1986). Only, where those films were glossy, big budget efforts, this ranks among the ropiest straight-to-video actioners of the Eighties armed with a soap opera sub-plot that leaves it looking like someone spliced a low rent shoot-em-up into an episode of Falcon Crest.

Although Lawrence David Foldes is listed as director the credits name-check Joe Tornatore for “his invaluable assistance in the production of this motion picture.” A veteran of cheap-jack action fare since the Seventies, Tornatore went on to direct Linda Blair in the bizarre horror film Grotesque (1988) which should be warning enough for trash film fans. As for Foldes, his first film was the equally infamous and strange low-budget horror opus Don't Go Near the Park (1979) after which he segued into ropey action movies like The Great Skycopter Rescue (1980) and Young Warriors (1983), a vigilante thriller that also stars Timothy Van Patten. His last film to date was Finding Home (2003), a surprisingly accomplished romantic drama with Geneviève Bujold, which goes to show you anything is possible.

Godawful mullets and bubble perms are the order of the day among our clean cut college aged heroes even though the actors (with the exception of Linda Blair) look around a decade too old for their roles. Frankly, it is a wonder how these yuppie dimwits thought they would go about saving Christie given none of them speak Spanish, are barely credible action heroes and can't seem to take anything seriously even though their friend is getting raped stupid in the jungle practically all the time. Luckily, grizzled, monkey-fondling flautist-cum-Vietnam veteran Richard Lynch steps in to haul their sorry asses out of the firing line. The veteran exploitation favourite brings a welcome layer of gravitas to a stock role and sparks well off Linda Blair. The film might have been better off focusing on their characters but instead exhibits little faith in Blair's credibility as an action heroine and gives her less to do than fans would hope – although she does perform the theme song. There is a shallow attempt at psychological complexity as Henry gets off on playing commando but by and large this is comic book nonsense with intentional humour that grates (count how many times Eddie says “I've got a bad feeling about this') and unintentional humour that is simply embarrassing. The action is efficient if uninspired as Foldes breaks out the cod-Sam Peckinpah slow-motion every so often. Actress Claudia Udy shoulders the task of providing gratuitous nudity. At one point the film intercuts flashbacks to a gratuitous sex scene in the midst of an equally gratuitous shower sequence. However, judging by the sheer volume of abuse Christie endures it is hard to see how she can emerge from this ordeal as anything but a basket case. Which leaves this exploitation film more depressing than titillating.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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