Our beloved Cirio H. Santiago is back in the Vietnam-doubling Philippine jungles — along with the ubiquitous stock footage — in another Roger Corman-backed Rambo romp. And Cirio’s — always welcomed — stock company is back: Jim Moss, James Gregory Paolleli, and Vic Trevino. And yes . . . that is T.C Carson from Fox-TV’s Living Single starting out his acting career.
And if we have to explain the greatness of Martin Kove to you, well, then you’re no longer allowed to surf the pages of B&S About Movies, for Sam and I can no longer be your retro-VHS senseis. But we’ll mention that Kove’s co-star, Matt Salinger, made his film debut in Revenge of the Nerds and had high hopes in his first marquee role as Steve Rogers in Cannon Pictures’ Captain America. That film — and Matt’s performance — we so poorly reviewed, it was three years before he reappeared in Firehawk. And he’s actually very good here, owning his role as a racist who loves his copter-mounted machine gun to mow down the Viet Cong — and you’ll notice how he creatively repurposes a Confederate Flag bandana into a “star” that homages his best-known role.
Kove is the cigar chompin’ Stewart, a helicopter rescue pilot. During a Ramboesque rescue mission in Vietnam, Stewart and his five-man crew are shot down and they must fight their way back to the Cambodian border. They soon come to discover that their ‘copter was sabotaged — and one of them is a traitor assigned to assure the mission failed.
If you’ve hung out with us all this week during our “Philippines War Week,” you know how it all goes: Lots of huts obliterated. Lots of explosions. Lots of stock footage recycling. Lots of bodies fall to the ground in hails of bullets. But you also get pretty solid acting from everyone — Kove’s really good — and all of the expected, solid action we expect from Cirio’s Corman-backed war coffers.
You can watch Firehawk on You Tube.