20 July 2009

Missing In Action II: The Beginning

Another awesome Missing In Action oversize VHS box scan from The Scandy Factory.

United States - 1985
Director – Lance Hool
MGM/UA, 1996, VHS
Run time – 1hour,

This is the epic tale of Colonel Braddock's harrowing years in a North Vietnamese prison camp. Only alluded to in Missing In Action, these are the soul-trying times that turned Braddock from a soldier into a soul-less flesh golem, deadened-moving, protein mass. If there was ever a predictable Chuck Norris movie, this would be it - even though I haven't seen them all yet(since writing this I have), I'll go out on a limb. And with an almost eerie, unwavering hunger, it plods wearily down the formulaic path.

Braddock (Norris) hops on an outgoing chopper to rescue a surrounded recon squad and the helicopter gets shot down. Quickly captured, Braddock and the other GI's become the victims of the worst possible camp warden ever, Colonel Yin (Soon-Tek Oh.) To get Braddock to confess to war crimes, Yin tortures the other POW's. Why Braddock is important is not explained, or for that matter important. Braddock beats the crap out of a fellow prisoner because he has turned traitor. Inner rivalry it would seem, is good and patriotic. Tortured to sign a confession, Braddock is hung upside down and has a burlap sack with a huge rat in it, taped over his neck. Sack is soaked with blood, (we fear the worst) but the sack is pulled away, and Braddock clutches the dead rat in his teeth.

A French asshole shows up at camp with some prostitutes and a brief discussion with Yin about a big opium deal, a discussion which is quickly forgotten, later repeated, forgotten again, and never resolved. An Aussie shows up "investigating", and, probably due to his stomach turning idocy, is executed almost immediately, in slow motion.

What happens next is epic. A string of ridiculously, laughably and increasingly painful, cruel tortures are performed, one after the other, on Braddock and his boys. Then suddenly, surprise, Braddock escapes!

Silently creeping, Braddock frees the others and then, having already wired the entire camp, blows it up building-by-building with plastic explosive. Supporting characters not blown up must be dispatched with the fully-auto-bullet-hose-pose.

Norris vs. Yin (Soon-Tek Oh)
Because I don't have many of my old screencaps I got this and the large picture above from Moviegoods.

Having just escaped the worst place in the world, and a hail of bullets, Braddock fights his way back to the compound. Breezily pummeling his way through more secondary actors who still aren't dead, he arrives at Yin, whom Braddock is clearly not too starved, beaten and over-worked to defeat handily. Except that after all of that, the struggle, the pain, the escaping, he doesn't want to do it with his hands. He'll walk to the waiting helicopter use his remote control to blow up the freshly crippled Yin, and then, not even watch.

UK VHS cover from Cannon Films Archive

Trailer from the Cannon Films Archive YouTube channel.

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