Search and Destroy isn’t just a ripping Stooges song, it’s also a Canuxploitation that really pops.
Director William Fruet is responsible for two stellar Canadian tax shelter horrors, the revenge flick The House by the Lake and the hick horror Baker County USA. In Search and Destroy, we get a Vietnamese guide, Nguyen, leading a platoon of US soldiers through dense jungles with explosives going off in every direction.
Shoot ahead a decade to post-war Los Angeles and the black guy gets it, just like you’d expect in a horror film.
We’re then suddenly in Niagara Falls, where the honeymoon is over for another platoon member, slumped over his steering wheel, his car nose-first in a river. Two kids going fishing, notify the authorities who then fish the vehicle out.
The assailant: a mysterious stalker with fore and middle finger fused together like he’s going to go all Django Reinhardt on his vics. He’s stealthy and sports a black glove. Very giallo.
With ‘Nam guys dropping dead on both coasts…maybe there’s a pattern?
The deceased, RJ, was good buddies with Kip, who was his colonel in Vietnam. (Kip is played by the always compelling Perry King, please see our Class of 1984 podcast) Cops lean on him and then press Kip for details about who’d want his friend dead.
He’s at a loss for words, so he grabs friend and tough-guy Buddy (Don Stroud, Death Weekend/The Amityville Horror). Together, they burst into the auto repair business owned by the resident Niagara Falls underworld figure to see if he’s had anything to do with it (see image). He’s cleared.
Meanwhile, the assassin stalks the men to the famous Maid of the Mist boat ride at the foot of The Falls, where the hit-man shoots at them, before taking Buddy to the top of the hydro-electric plant, and walloping him within an inch of his life before the law arrive.
It’s all up to Kip to find out what in hell is going on, while we get to see a slew of notable Canadian filming locations including Toronto’s Junction neighborhood, the aforementioned Falls, and also a compelling shootout on that tacky promenade, Clifton Hill Niagara Falls, known for its gaudy bars and museums.
Great Canadian exploitation fun.
*** (out of 5)