Philippine War Week II: Top Mission (1987)

So, before we get into this Godfrey Ho joint, let’s clear up the title confusion: Do not confuse this with the ex-The Dukes of Hazzard John Schneider bomb that was Cocaine Wars (1985), which became known as Top Mission in the overseas markets. And don’t confuse this Godfrey Ho joint with another of Ho’s chop shop joints, Top Team Force (1989), which is a film about the Hong Kong mafia that also aka’d the marketplace as Top Mission Exterminator.

So, before we get into this Godfrey Ho joint, let’s clear up the stock footage confusion: Most of the nifty action comes from William Mayo’s third feature film, Diablo Force (1986). Where the rest of the footage comes from . . . well, probably two to three more films that we can’t track down . . . forever lost in the vaults of Tomas Tang’s Filmark International Studios and K.Y Lim’s Silver Star Productions.

Oh, we should mention that Uncle G is deploying the name of Henry Lee for this run through the jungle. Okay, that’s all settled. Let’s load ‘er up!

Two covers. Twice the junk.

The leading lad here is Cameroon-born African actor Alphonse Beni, who made his mark in the international VHS marketplace with his vanity set piece, Cameroon Connection (1985; with Bruce Le), and Richard Harrison’s like-minded piece, Three Men on Fire (1986). Beni is one half of a biracial C.I.A duo (the other is the one-and-gone Kurt Eberhard) — both complete with ninja warrior skills — sent into the jungles to rescue a professor, who has developed a laser weapon. He’s been kidnapped by a fellow, rogue C.I.A agent who’s set up his own terrorist organization. Along the way there’s a plane hijacking, a couple of double crosses, bad dubbing, a jailbreak, bad editing, and a showdown inside a music club.

Adding to the Steenbeck reels of confusion: The same year Top Mission was released, Alphonse Beni also starred in Ho’s Fire Operation (1987) and Phillip Gordon (Strike Commando, The Siege of Firebase Gloria, Battle Rats, Kill Zone are a few of his 20-plus credits), who starred in Top Mission, co-stars, once again, with Beni.

Now, we can’t find any jungle Intel that states Fire Operation is an alternate title to Top Mission or if one is a recut-reimage of the other (see Ho’s analog chop socky of Devil’s Dynamite vs. Robo Vampire). But we’ll lay down our pesos on the green felts of a back-room Manila gambling joint that Beni never signed on for a film called Fire Operation and footage from Three Men on Fire and Ninja: Silent Assassin (1987), as well as Top Mission, is how Beni came to “star” in that Godfrey Ho production . . . where ninjas are so skilled, they, apparently, can be air-dropped into chopper blades!

Top Mission . . . incognito?

You can figure it all out with the full film of Top Mission and the trailer for Fire Operation 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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