BRUNO MATTEI WEEK: Double Target (1987)

You know, if John Rambo hadn’t gone back to Vietnam and gotten the chance to win that time, we wouldn’t be blessed with an entire video store section of films from around the world. Rambosploitation?

My mother told me that after he came home from working late in the mill, my grandfather would watch war movies at ear-shattering volumes, loudly laughing and enjoying himself while the entire family would be awakened by the cinematic combat echoing through the paper-thin walls.

Forty or so years later, I realize that I have inherited his vice.

After several American and British military personnel are killed in suicide attacks throughout southeast Asia, the U.S. government starts thinking that perhaps — just perhaps — the Vietnamese government isn’t the ally they thought they were.

There’s only one man to call when you need the truth.

Bob Ross.

No, not that Bob Ross. I’m talking Miles O’Keefe, the very same man who was Ator, now transplanted to the ninth circle of Southeast Asia, seeking the son he has never known, going up against the most sinister of all Russians and backed up by exactly no one.

Seeing as how this is a Bruno Mattei film, you just know that all manner of absolute celluloid cutting and pasting is going to happen. Well, it goes both ways, because Mr. Mattei was an early adopter of recycling, doing his part to keep his scummy cinema carbon footprint small. That shark that shows up? Yep, it’s taken directly from The Last Shark. And since he went to the trouble to lens all this jungle footage, it also shows up in Cop GameRobowar and Shocking Dark, while the musical score ends up coming back in Interzone.

This movie unites so many of my film favorites, like Donald Pleasence as the incredibly named Senator Blaster, a man who is either coughing or screaming at everyone around him. And look! There’s Bo Svenson as the nasty Russian Colonel Galckin, a man so evil that he puts a gun into Ross’ son’s hands and explains to him exactly how to blow his dad’s brains out.

Kristine Erlandson kind of made a name for herself — well, with video store weirdos — by being in movies like this, Trident ForceSaigon CommandosVengeance SquadWarriors of the Apocalypse and American Commando. She’s joined by Ottaviano Dell’Acqua*, the rotting zombie from the infamous “We are going to eat you!” Zombi poster, Massimo Vanni** from Zombi 3 and Luciano Pigozzi*** (Pag from Yor Hunter from the Future).

Man, this movie tugs at the heartstrings. Ross had a kid over in ‘Nam and never knew his wife, who was taken into a re-education camp, where she died and his kid ended up hating him. Or course, this was filmed in the Philippines, but let’s not argue.

Mattei used his Vincent Dawn name on this one and co-conspirator and potential co-director Claudio Fragasso went as Clyde Anderson in the credits. Speaking of American names for Italians, let’s answer those little footnotes:

*Richard Raymond

** Alex McBride

***Alan Collins

You know, this movie entertained me beyond belief, but I’m beyond a Mattei apologist. If he was still alive and needed a place to live, I would move him into my basement and cook every meal for him.

You can watch this on YouTube.

 

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