Philippine War Week: Jungle Rats (1988)

Logline: The American army sets up a special force unit to free three American officers who were captured by the Vietcong in Vietnam in 1968.

Yeah, Lt. Colonel Kilgore may love the smell of napalm in the morning: Me? I love loglines that reek of Rambo: First Blood Part II.

General Douglas Corad (Chattanooga, Tennessee-born Mike Monty, who you see in a LOT of Philippine action and horror films) heads up a reconnaissance team through the jungle border. They’re ambushed. Corad and a few of his surviving men are taken captive and imprisoned by the Vietcong. The Americans assemble a “magnificent five” to rescue the General: Romano “Rom” Kristoff (of Teddy Page’s Ninja Warriors with Ron Marchini and Ten Zan: The Ultimate Mission with B&S About Movies all-star, Mark Gregory) is Lieutenant John Smith leading the unit. Rom’s second-in-command is Jim Gaines — also the screenwriter here; also the writer and star of Black Fire that we reviewed this week — is his sergeant-at-arms, Pete “Killer” Rayo.

Yeah, that looks like Sly on the right . . . but why does the dude on the left look like Reb Brown?

There’s not much more to be said about the plot as there really isn’t one: one solider gets captured, others go in for the rescue, they slop through the enemy’s tunnel system, they’ll blow themselves up with a grenade to kill as many ‘Gong as possible to save their buddies, and they mow down Vietgong with an endless rain of bullets with aplomb. Oh, and one solider has to be crazy (Jim Gaines) so you can work in a sympathetic angle with the other soldiers appalled at their freedom-fighting comrade raping an innocent Vietgong woman.

The whole point of these Filipino war flicks is action. And displaced martial artists like Spain’s champion Romano “Rom” Kristoff and director Teddy “Chiu” Page, who burned through 40-plus of these Pacific actioners as an Assistant Director and Director between 1983 and 2001, always made these mindless, VHS Namsploitationers a hell of a lot of fun as we waited between our Stallone flicks.

No teaser trailer, but you can watch the full movie on You Tube.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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