Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Missing In Action (The Series)

Missing In Action (1984) * *

Cast: Chuck Norris, M. Emmett Walsh, James Hong, Lenore Kasdorf

Directed by Joseph Zito

Chuck Norris stars as killing machine Braddock who goes back to Vietnam to save the American P.O.Ws still held behind enemy lines, with the help of his Nam buddy Tucker (Walsh, in a bored performance) , a gang of mercenaries and a silent boat armed with a chain gun, Braddock does so without breaking a sweat. Missing In Action was the popular though largely plotless and mindless (not to mention pointless) attempt to combine the superior films First Blood with Uncommon Valor. In doing so it was a hit, though ultimately a ridiculous and forgettable effort. The action is adequate though infrequent; the Asian locales are admittedly picturesque but poorly photographed and the film does have some campy moments, but not enough. For Norris fans only, though this isn’t one of his best.

Missing In Action 2:The Beginning (1985) * * 1/2
Cast: Chuck Norris, Soon-Tek Oh, Steven Williams

Directed by Lance Hool

Chuck Norris returns as Braddock this time we see his inhospitable imprisonment at the hands of openly psychotic Colonel Yin (Soon-Tek Oh in a great performance), who likes to torture Norris and the other American P.O.Ws. There’s also a subplot about Yin wanting Norris to sign a bogus confession but the film, is about the torture, escape and carnage and on that level Missing In Action 2 is at least sporadically effective. The film benefits solely from the well staged action, Asian locale (this time well photographed) and the villain played with brutal swagger by genre vet Soon-Tek Oh. Despite all of those positives, Missing In Action 2 is merely second rate Rambo, but at least it’s somewhat enjoyable on a schlock level.

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