Philippine War Week: Kill Zone (1993)

Roger Corman producing a Cirio H. Santiago Philippines-ripoff of Rambo starring David Carradine? No, back up that half-track, soldier! In addition to Rambo, we’re getting an inversion of Brian De Palma’s Causalities of War. See? Roger Corman is never one to allow a major studio theatrical hit go to waste.

The “Tony Dorsett” starring alongside David Carradine is, in fact, the Rochester, Pennsylvania-born Tony Dorsett, who served as a running back for the Dallas Cowboys from 1977 to 1987. And there’s Vic Trevino, who played Ricardo in HBO’s Pee Wee’s Playhouse (and also starred in Cirio’s Firehawk), and Ken Metcalf, who goes all the way back to the 1974 exploitation classic TNT Jackson (and also starred in Cirio’s apoc-slopper Stryker). Fans of the short-lived CBS-TV sci-fi series Space Precinct and Fox TV’s Melrose Place will also notice Rob Youngblood in the cast. If you’ve seen Black Mamba (1974), then you recognize Vivian Velez. And if you’ve seen any Philippines action flicks from the late ’80s — post-apoc or war — you know Jim Moss and Nick Nicholson.

Of course, while all of the actors look familiar . . . you also notice, as with most of Cirio’s flicks: stock recycling of war footage from Cirio’s other films is afoot.

Courtesy of darksidelouisville/eBay

Our man Carradine is, of course, the hellbent and perpetually cigar chompin’ Col. Horace Wiggins inflicting the war casualties as the commander of his own, unauthorized fighting force in Cambodia. And despite the orders of his superiors to not cross the border, he’ll burn the Viet Cong to the ground — no matter the cost. And Tony Dorsett is the just soldier who takes it upon himself to stop Wiggins.

And that’s pretty much it. Lots of huts blow up. Lots of bodies are mowed down by a never-ending stream of bullets. But there’s also a lot of philosophical war babbling. But when those last ten minutes of film roll . . . pure Cirio . . . stock footage be damned. The man knows how to put on a Corman-ploitation styled war drama.

You can watch a very clean upload of Kill Zone — along with a dozen other Cirio H. Santiago films — on Tubi TV. What’s great about this upload — unlike the numerous, washed-out VHS rips we usually get of Cirio’s work on You Tube — is that we can see how well his films were shot.

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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