Richard Young. Only 50 credits to his resume, but what a bunch of films: Night Call Nurses (1972), Inferno in Paradise (1974), Cocaine Cowboys (1979), High Risk (1981), The Ice Pirates (1984), Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) — and don’t forget Saigon Commandos (1988), which, you guess it, pinches footage off the earlier Final Mission, courtesy of its acting common denominator, like any good Phillipines-backed namsploitation movie should. And if you know your Philippines warsploitation ’80s like we know you do: you know that Final Mission pinched from another war flick, somewhere in the Laos backwaters of it’s-not-Vietnam-it’s-the-Philippines. For it’s the Cirio way, baby!
And guess who’s the director behind Saigon Commandos? Surprise! Not Cirio H. Santaigo. Or Godfrey Ho. Or Jun Gallardo. Or Teddy Page. Nope. It’s Clark Henderson, who made his bones with the Corman House of Waste-Not-Want-Not in the production cues for Forbidden World, Android, and Wheels of Fire.
Oops. Getting excited over Philippine war flicks and digressing, again.
So, Uncle Cirio is a back with another Deacon-named character (not forgetting we had a Deacon Porter in The Devastator* and that later film is actually a script retread of Final Mission). This “Deacon” is Vince Deacon (Richard Young). This time, our ex-vet is not a wayward vet of the John Rambo variety. This Deacon has got his shit together and turned his Vietnam War decorations into a gig as a Los Angeles P.D. SWAT commander. But instead of countryside pot farmers with blood on their hands, with lots of blowin’ up and bullets in the woods, we’re in the big city.
So, when a gang attacks his family and Deacon kills one of the thugs in self-defense, the law coddles the criminal, natch, and our Deacon is suspended by the force. So his family heads out to the woods for a get-away-from-it-all camping trip . . . shite, we are back in the woods, after all. Oh, well.
Well, you guessed it: that attack was a hit — that failed — and now the thugs are back to finish the job. And who’s the chief thug? Deacon’s old, slighted ex-war buddy, Slater. Will the town sheriff help? Nope, he’d be Slater’s brother, you neophyte Philippine warmonger, get with the plot twists of these flicks, will ya? So, think of a happier, gentler, socially well-adjusted Rambo with a wife and kids and a job and having to protect them. So goes this “final mission” where the ultimate mission is projecting your family.
Oh, shit. Plot twist. His wife and son are dead. Uh, oh.
Anyway, in the spirit of keepin’ the “Rambo” a-go-go’in the woods: we have a Col. Trautman — only his name is Col. Cain — called in to talk some sense into his ex-soldier.
Right, Col. Cain. Just bring in the body bags. And don’t forget the “Aiahhh-yeeee” rail kills, but since we aren’t on a ship or inside an old factory and are in the woods: tree, cliff, and mountain kills. Oh, and flashbacks to ‘Nam . . . because Cirio’s heroes must always have a flashback because, well, how else can we reuse all of that old ‘Nam-shot-Philippines war footage. Of course, since we are in the California woods, again, don’t be surprised when that wooded battle footage returns in The Devastator two years later.
Dude, I don’t care. Xerox, copy, soldier, spy. I love this movie. One of Cirio’s ripped-off best as he tinkers with the Rambo Steenbecks, once again.
As you can see from the ’80s VHS sleeve, this had great direct-to-video distribution in the States and spun on HBO back in the day, so it’s not hard to find on disc. Ah, but we got you covered with the freebie on You Tube. Sample the trailer . . . if one minute of it doesn’t grab you, nothing will.
* Yeah, we reviewed it . . . and we are writing ahead, here. You gotta work it for, aking kaibigan. Right click that mouse and use the search box.
About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.