Philippine War Week: Jungle Wolf (1986)

Editor’s Note: This review previous ran on June 21, 2021, as part of our “Ron Marchini Week.” We’ve brought it back for our first “Philippines War Week” of films. Yes. We said, “first” week. As usual, we go overboard, so we’ll have a second week of films come December 5 to the 10th.

For all the magical reasons that we love the old days of the video store, there was one drawback. Often, the movie that you wanted to rent just might be out of stock. So if you wanted to rent Rambo: First Blood Part II or Commando, there’s a chance that every copy of that movie may be out. Yes, in the days of streaming, this may seem crazy to you, but you couldn’t always get what you wanted.

But if you try sometimes, you just may find you get Ron Marchini.

A former U.S. Army drill sergeant, a survivor of a drive-by shooting, a martial arts tournament fighter said to be the best in the country in 1969 and the toughest opponent Chuck Norris ever faced — or so Black Belt Magazine would have us believe — Marchini appeared in a Murder in the Orient and New Gladiators before getting noticed in 1976’s Death Machines, a film in which he played White Death Machine.

It would be nearly a decade before Ron became a VHS industry all to himself, working with directors like Charlie Ordoñez and Alan Roberts to hit the rental audience with movies like Forgotten Warrior, Omega Cop and Return Fire. They aren’t good movies, but they’re great for what they are. And it’s always pretty amazing that in the midst of the jungle, Marchini chooses to always wear yellow t-shirts.

This film finds our hero — Steve Parrish is his name —in Central American but we all know it’s the Philippines. Some rebels have kidnapped American Ambassador Porter Worthington and only our man Ron — or Steve — can come in and set things right. This was probably shot at the same time as Forgotten Warrior and even goes all Boogeyman 2 on us by recycling plenty of footage and using it as flashbacks.

The best part of a military 80s movie is when the hero gears up, covering himself in weapons before killing everything and everyone. This movie has that happen twice and it has the theme song play so many times that you’ll swear it’s the only audio in the entire movie. Also, the bad guy wears a pirate hat and our hero has a samurai sword and man, this movie is so ridiculous I kind of want to watch it again. Oh, and is there a part two? You bet! And Jungle Wolf II is also known as Return Fire — and III, depending on the foreign repack.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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