20 July 2009

Missing In Action

All the Missing In Action VHS cover scans on Lost Video Archive were borrowed from The Scandy Factory.

United States - 1984
Director – Joseph Zito
MGM/UA, 1996, VHS
Run time - 1 hour 52 min.

While I'm going through a 'Nam binge it seemed like a good time to bring out the classic series that started the trend (I ignore Rambo). This is the real jungle. The real Vietnam, the real war and the real men who fought it. This jungle, although pleasantly sunny and cleared of brush, holds the mystery and deadly menace of “Sir Charles”, the Viet Cong. A platoon of brazen and bold American Special Forces men crashes through that savage well-trimmed wilderness lead by super-troop Col. James Braddock, played with grace and pious perfection by Chuck Norris. Leading his team, as befits a soldier of his rigor and caliber, from the front, Braddock’s rifle fires ceaselessly and with deadly accuracy into the ranks of his enemy. Alas, though made of high carbon steel, Braddock is only a man, and despite his best efforts is overtaken by sheer numbers and his entire team is either captured or killed just as their rescue choppers arrive. Seeing some of his surviving buddies cruelly bayoneted by their captors, he leaps onto them armed with handfuls of (WWII vintage) grenades and suddenly wakes with the explosion, years later, safe but soaked with a cold sweat in his dark barren apartment somewhere in the US.

This agonizingly tense scene left me uncomfortable and sweaty just like Chuck Norris as he quietly started awake from his nightmare like a reanimated golem, sweating and wired tight as an automatic rifle’s recoil mechanism. So damn wired in fact that he goes back to Vietnam, ostensibly as a member of an MIA negotiations committee, but really just an eerily emotionless killing machine, the physical embodiment of aloof infantile American sore-loserism. Every move, every facial gesture is tuned to its perfect xenophobic pitch and Norris’s impeccable harmony unleashes a withering orchestral performance of a man on fire. A gruff and deadpan staccato of one- (and occasionally two-) liners are delivered with such magical precision and unity as to nearly rival Braddock’s impeccable marksmanship.

I never got any screencaps when I first watched this movie, so I stole these. They're probably not even from the right movie in the series.If you have some good ones send 'em my way.

Deported for doing his gook-stabbing American duty, Braddock recruits an old buddy, earmarked for senseless martyrdom the moment he lumbers onscreen all fat and chuckles, and together they stock up on fancy high tech military gear. O ye of little words. Braddock himself is so scary that he hardly needs a rifle. Looking into his dead, hollow eyes is like staring down the muzzle of his M-60. And like the finely oiled mechanisms of that weapon, Braddock crashes forward, kills, and resets to kill again, with about as much emotion. At long last America can win this war with all the sloppy excessiveness we’ve come to expect. Grease everyone, mercilessly shoot up and explode everything, and turn, cabled muscles rippling beneath camo grease paint, tear poised to fall, emotion and unfathomable concern written like a primitive cave painting all over the stony wall of his face, and commiserate deeply with the pitiful suffering victims of cruel injustice. I think I smell the acrid tang of invincibility.

Director Joseph Zito had his finger on the pulse of the main vein of America and within a year would direct the epic Invasion USA.

You can now get all three MIA flicks on one of these DVD sets. I got rid of my VHS tapes of the series a couple years ago but I'm still tempted to replace them with this American Hero Collection.

After watching this trailer from Cannon Films Archive YouTube channel and you really don't need to watch the movie.

1 comment:

Trekkie313 said...

Is your copy a big box, or standard case?