That’s Russian for “American” – ish. And the soldiers, are Vietnamese – ish. (There’s a sprinkling of obviously Filipino extras.) But hey, it’s an Italian production with a Russian super-villain shot in the Philippines (truly our favorite country for B-movies). So we can’t exactly demand Vietnam War historical exactitude.
A Strike Commando team led by b-movie honcho Reb Brown as Mike Ransom (what, Mike Hostage was taken?) including a black guy with a Hendrix headband who jokes about watermelons, skulk around a Vietnamese base in a mission overseen by guys who might as well have stepped right out of Rambo: First Blood Part II.
They lay explosives, but one of their commando brethren is caught, the plan goes south and the whole place blows up real good, sending Mike Ransom ass over teakettle into a nearby river.
Ransom is rescued by a village boy and suddenly, villagers genuflect before him by the hundreds, chanting Amer-eee- can, Amer-eee-can!
They haul a captured enemy soldier before him and want Ransom to off the poor sap, but our hero is an ardent defender of the Third Geneva Convention and the treatment of POWs. Disgusted, most get up off their knees and march off into the jungle.
Ransom makes the acquaintance of a hard-drinking Frenchman Francois Le Due. He’s played by Luciano Pigozzi, an Italian billed as “Alan Collins” in the credits and sporting an extremely unconvincing Pepé Le Pew accent with no explanation as to why he’s wandering around the jungle. Ransom then befriends the village boy, leading to this touching vignette:
American, will you take me to America with you?
Ransom: This country’s at war now, I can’t leave ‘til it’s over.
Village Boy: Mr. Francois told me about a wonderful place where Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck live
Ransom: Disneyland! Popcorn, ice cream growing on trees. A kid can get all the ice cream and candy he wants…(?)
He eventually returns to the village where he was rescued and briefly treated like a deity, only to find his flock murdered. He holds the village boy in his arms and reiterates all the wonders that can be seen at Disneyland.
The murder mastermind? Well as we know…Russia lent logistical support to the North Vietnamese. In Strike Commando, this comes in the form of a psycho who neither looks Russian nor can speak it, who throttles Francois, commands an incredibly inept force of Vietcong, does a lot of push-ups and generally looks menacing.
Ransom vows to exact his revenge on the Russian and the VC and then all hell breaks loose!
Directed by the notorious ahem, recycler Bruno Mattei, this is a mind-bogglingly absurd, essentially Rambo knock-off and the protagonist (“One of our best!”) cannot be taken out even with shoulder-fired anti-tank weaponry and wave after wave of expendable infantrymen. As hilarious as the body count is high and as close as you can possibly get to Rainier Wolfcastle in McBain.
***1/2 (out of 5)
[CHECK OUR OUR DISCUSSION OF STRIKE COMMANDO ON THE REALLY AWFUL MOVIES PODCAST]