“There ain’t gonna be no rematch.”
— Apollo Creed, telling you there won’t be a “Philippine War Week III”
Thank god. The last and final, ever, Philippine war flick reviewed on this site (well, sans the idiotic Commando Invasion snafu that led us to review it, twice, this week). We started this nonsense four months back, with our first week of reviews during the first week of August. Our reviews of 40-plus film — with plenty of links and mentions of so many others — will get you were you need to be, that is if you must watch every single Sylvester Stallone-to-Arnold Schwarzenegger-to-Chuck Norris ’80s war rip ever made in the lands northwest of Down Under.
In one of Jun Gallardo earliest rips, he shanghais Richard Harrison (we explore his career by way of his Neapolitan-cum-North African passion project, Three Men on Fire) in a tale about ragtag group of not A-Team lads led by Richard Harrison into the Cambodian jungle.
The roles of the good guys and bad guys are divided up among the familiar names and faces of, well, everyone that’s on that VHS sleeve. Yes! Romano Kristoff (Raiders of the Magic Ivory) is here as well? Hey, Mike Monty, you’re back . . . oh, not for long? What flick did your scene get cut-in from, I wonder? If you’re keeping track: Anthony Alonzo was in W Is War and Mad Warrior. Vic Vargas? IMDb him: he’s got over 300 credits to pick at (Daughters of Satan is one of them). Remember the Robert Clouse (Golden Needles) mess that is Gymkata starring Kurt Thomas? Well, Tetchie Agbayani — who’s done a few of these Asian war romps and is a much more serious, accomplished actress, one with over 100 credits, as well as Asian television series — not only stars in Gymkata: she “invented” the martial art-gymnastics hybrid used in the film; something to that effect.
As you can see, I am going to rant and make this Namsploitation’er sound way better than it is.
Harrison — with a ‘stache that’ll scare the shite out of Tom Selleck (who got his start in Daughters of Satan) — is an ex-Special Forces ops who makes his scratch as a mercenary for hire who leads a ragtag group of U.S and Southeast Asian guerrilla freedom fighters into Cambodia. Harrison’s claim to fame: he’s the only one that comes back alive from his missions. Lovely. In steps Tetchie, our hot guide — the only one who knows the terrain — because you need a sex-love interest between the showers of blank n’ squibs. All the racist cliches are then thou unleashed: the Italians are oversexed nut bags (Romano Kristoff), the Asians are all yellow-troped to the extreme, and the African Americans (actor Jim Gaines, in this case) make Sgt. Lincoln Osiris positively subdued.
This is a movie that, before we get to the no-plot-and-just-explosions part of the picture, our newly formed force of no-Rambos hangs out at a disco-strip joint (lifted from another Harrison war opus, Fireback by fellow Sliver Star alum, Teddy Page; we did that on Friday; we are writing ahead, here) and bowling alleys to pad the running time until they find that “secret” document that started this mess.
Wow. Poor Richard Harrison. He made ONE ninja movie for Godfrey Ho, then, by way of splicing, ended up “starring” in a dozen more films — and had his career ruined because everyone thought he was down-and-out and on the drunken skids to a grave in Manila. He was anything but, as he was putting together his grand opus, Three Men on Fire.
Just damn you to Charlton Heston ape hell, K.Y Kim, you cheap bastard. Curse your Silver Star Studios for torturing me and Sam the Bossman these past five months in dealing with faux-Nam joints. But oh, my crazy celluloid uncles of Cirio Santiago, Teddy Page, and Jun Gallardo: your Z-grade rips of Clint Eastwood’s The Dirty Dozen to Sly Stallone’s Rambo: First Blood II made my VHS home video days of youth all the much sweeter.
And as we add another oxtail to the Kare-Kare: Anthony Alonzo previously appeared in another Pearl of the Orient warsploitationer, Wild Cats Attack. But you’ll notice Tony’s name isn’t on the video sleeve (seen below). So what’s the stewed mechado all about, my kaibigan? Well, in the grand tradition of all things Manila-doubling-as-Vietnam-and-Central America and actors starring-by-proxy: Wild Cats Attack clips all of its war footage from Task Force Alamid (1982), which aka’d as The Red Barrets — which should only have one “r” in the title, but it’s Philippines cinema, don’t cha know? But Wild Cats Attack, to keep that wheel of title confusion, spinning, also aka’d as Special Forces U.S.A. “Ahiiiiyaaaah! Make it stop!”
Now you, our fellow Philiploitation fetishist may disagree on that Wild Cats Attack titling snafu, but let’s not forget that Tony starred in Diegong Bayong (1984), which was recut into a post-Oliver Stone world as Platoon the Warriors (1987). Hey, if starring-by-proxy is okay for an expatriated Richard Harrison and Gordon Mitchell, then it’s good enough for our native son, Anthony Alonzo. Oh, did you know Alonzo won an award for “Best Actor” in the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts & Sciences for Willie Milan’s Bambang (1982)? True story. No, sorry, that’s a Death Wish–Lethal Weapon-styled story about Manila street gang wars and not a ‘Nam flick, so you’re on your own with that one.
Okay, let’s get back to Invasion Cambodia . . . er, uh . . . there’s nothing else to tell . . . except that there’s no trailer to share. But you can pick through the full film on You Tube and see if you want make a 90-minute go of it.
Well, that’s it! Thanks for playing along with our two “Philippine War Week” blow outs. See yahs for the next “theme week” at B&S About Movies. As for our “Philippine War Week” theme weeks: click the hyperlink to populate all 48 reviews in one easy-to-scroll list. You can learn about the genre with an in-depth interview with Godfrey Ho at Nanarland.com.