Slow Bullet (1988)

Directed by Allen Wright and written by Kenneth Ward and Jim Baskin, who plays lead Sgt. Buddy Douglas, Slow Bullet is a wild ride because at first, you may think it’s a simple Rambosploitation movie but instead, it seems like it’s a rumination of a life destroyed by Vietnam, but then it’s also a showcase for some Florida metal bands and yes, then it goes back to the jungle.

For most of that first half, Buddy remembers his old L.R.R.P. (Long Range Recon Patrol) team in Vietnam and how they started to become animals, even assaulting a dead woman at one point while being taken apart by a Viet Cong sniper. This plays out while we watch Buddy fall to pieces inside the storage shed that he lives in, often spray painting the walls in an enclosed area. 

Buddy also has a girlfriend that he spends a lot of time having sex with — more on that in a few moments — and having montages with that — spoiler warning — he eventually shoots thinking he’s killing that sniper back in Nam.

Speaking of that phrase, the song “Back In Nam” by Vendetta plays numerous times in the movie. They also contributed the song “Nightmares” while Convicted did the songs “Slow Bullet,” “Still Waitin'” and “Bang, Bang.” It’s amazing how much thrash is in this, but then again, it was made in Florida in 1988.

A few years back, Rogue Riffers posted about this film. Brian Coghill, who did some of the effects for the film, discussed some of the reasons why it’s so strange: “There’s an entire reason why the flashback scenes were done in this acid-trippy look to them. A lot of the stuff they did was mistakes. The hooch we blew up, the shack, that there’s an explosion scene in, that was five gallons of diesel and gasoline and a mortar with black powder in it, and they forgot to filter the camera on that one and completely over exposed it. So what they did was posterize all the video that had to do with those flashbacks so they could use the explosions, but the napalm run was too strong — they couldn’t do it. They had set about 200 gallons of gasoline — they had the fire department on standby — and created this beautiful tornado of fire in the woods, absolutely gorgeous explosion, and it never saw the film.”

It’s also insinuated that the sex scenes between Buddy and Kate (Lisa Leonard) are real and, well, they don’t look fake.

But even better, Jim Baskin responded to their post and he shined all kinds of light on the production, saying ” I never had full sex with that actress altho she wanted it.” and “The movie sucked, the acting sucked even tho Kenny (25th Infantry Div. 1966-67 Vietnam and myself (173d Airborne Brigade Vietnam 1966-1968 and 196th LIB Vietnam 1971-1972) and I tried our best to make it accurate the best we could.”

The guys from that site seemed to reach out to Jim and hope to speak with him. It doesn’t look like they ever connected. I’ve been trying to hunt the team that made this to learn more and it looks like Kenneth Ward died last year. If anyone has any info, man, I’m dying to know more about how this was made.

It was shot in Knoxville and Seymour, Tennessee and Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s astounding because it’s one actor who obviously has PTSD — Baskin confirmed that in the above linked message — flipping out while remembering the past, but also a series of music videos to promote bands. All shot on video! That’s what makes this stand out from the world of Namsploitation, which is usually confined to the Philippines and huts getting blown up without much introspection.

You can watch this on YouTube.

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