Note: Throughout the month of May I will be watching Mockbusters, those low-budget movies which are made purely to cash in on a recent successful blockbuster. I call this May-de to be Mocked!
Strike Commando (1987)
Director: Bruno Mattei (as Vincent Dawn)
Starring: Reb Brown, Christopher Connelly, Alex Vitale
Format: Streaming (Youtube)
Plot: Michael Ransom (Reb Brown) and his crack Strike team are double-crossed while attacking a Viet Cong camp during the Vietnam War. He survives and while recovering in a Vietnamese village discovers that Russian soldiers have made their way into North Vietnam. With the help of the villagers he returns to the American forces, but is told to get proof of his claims. Heading back into the jungle he finds the villagers slaughtered by Russian henchman Jakoda, and becomes a one man killing machine in search of revenge, against Jakoda, as well as his double-crossing superior officer.
After watching (and thoroughly enjoying) Robowar, I was excited to find out that Bruno Mattei and Reb Brown had teamed up a year earlier for this, another b-grade mockbuster masterpiece!
Bruno had a lot of fun ripping off Predator in Robowar, and here he does the same for another 80s action classic, Rambo. So naturally we get a lot of kills using an over-sized hunting knife, and plenty of shots stolen straight from Stallone's big budget blockbuster, such as when Reb rises out of a river and blows away the bad guys with his massive machine gun.
The action is once again top notch, with a lot of cool explosions, machine gun fire, electrocutions, flamethrowers, martial arts fighting and the like. There are some WTF moments, like Vietnamese villagers who wear white face paint and chant "A-mer-i-can" over and over like some weird cult, and an attempt at giving Ransom a human side, as he bonds with a young Vietnamese villager. Also adding to the appeal of Strike Commando is the fact that Chris Connelly (RAIDERS OF ATLANTIS) plays the traitorous Col Radek.
Most of the cheese factor comes from Jakoda (Alex Vitale) who is one jacked up skinhead Commie. Is it acceptable to call someone a Commie? Or is that un-PC? It doesn't matter, because this movie doesn't care, as evidenced by a black American soldier telling a story about stealing watermelons in Alabama, or Reb calling a Vietnamese soldier "rice ball". But back to Jakoda, this guy is so damn hammy. He keeps calling Ransom "American-ski", which starts off sounding ridiculous but becomes hilarious through overuse, and by the time Jakoda screams it during not one but two final showdowns with Ransom, I was laughing my ass off.
Okay, what you really want to know is: Does Reb yell a lot? And the answer is: He most certainly does! Ol' yeller is in fine form here. You'll marvel as he yells "Ja-ko-da" over and over while furiously shooting up empty village huts. One of my favourite lines is when Ransom is surprised by a VC soldier jumping out of long grass. Ransom knocks him out while yelling "Jesus! Scared the shit out of me!" Hell, even the lines where he doesn't completely yell, Reb still sounds like he's in need of a laxative, stat.
I think I enjoyed Strike Commando a bit more than Robowar. The plot is definitely more interesting, the support cast is better and Jakoda makes for a better villain that whatever the hell that cyborg thing was in Robowar. They're both awesome movies, search them out!