VHS/Holland/fullcreen/English dubbing/Dutch subtitles
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By Fred Adelman
COMMANDO INVASION (1986) - Action-packed, but brainless, Indonesian [Jack: I'm sure Fred meant to say "Filipino"!] actioner set during the Vietnam War. The prologue shows a French army convoy being ambushed by the Vietcong in 1950. They kill all the French soldiers and steal millions of dollars in art, important documents and diamonds that the convoy was transporting. Flash-forward fifteen years and a group of American commandos are raiding a secret underground tunnel that is the headquarters for VC General Diap (Ken Watanabe). After killing all the VC in the tunnel and capturing General Diap, the leader of the commandos, Captain Brady (Michael James), calls for a pick-up but, for reasons unknown until much later, some of the squad members point their weapons at Captain Brady.
When back-up finally arrives, they find all of Brady's men shot dead and Brady lying unconscious with a fistful of diamonds in his hands. Brady is brought to court martial, but is given five days to bring General Diap back to prove his innocence. Brady joins a group of VC freedom fighters in his search for Diap and even recruits a VC nurse, Akina (Carol Roberts), to help get into Diap's compound (she's Diap's mistress). She manages to walk through the compound unnoticed and leads Brady right to Diap, where he takes him prisoner for a second time. As they are leaving the compound, a welcoming committee is waiting and they must fight their way out. When Brady asks Diap why he killed his men, Diap says, "Do I know you?", which makes Brady look like a liar in the eyes of Captain Terryl (Pat Vance), who was sent with Brady on his quest (and whose brother was killed in the first raid).
Brady and his men are ambushed as they turn every corner, as if someone doesn't want him to make it back. Could it be the mysterious General McMoreland (Gordon Mitchell), who may know more than he is letting on? A squad of French soldiers also want Diap because they think he knows the location of the treasure stolen fifteen years earlier. After saving each other's hides a couple of times, the French forge an uneasy alliance with Brady and agree to take possession of Diap only after he testifies at Brady's court martial. That's easier said than done, as making it to the trial will be no easy task. Diap keeps bribing the soldiers with diamonds to let him escape and Brady must then decide whether to kill Diap or bring him back for the trial. If you ask me, the only good gook is a dead gook. Though not as wild and insane as a lot of these Indonesian [i.e. Filipino] actioners, director Jun Gallardo (RESCUE TEAM - 1983; SFX RETALIATOR - 1987), using his "John Gale" pseudonym, injects enough action and crazy dialogue to make it worth at least one viewing.
There's enough double and triple crosses here for ten films and the violence, while not particularly bloody, comes fast and frequently. The dialogue consists of macho lines, like this exchange between Brady and Terryl: Brady: "You asshole!" Terryl: "Watch your mouth Brady!" Brady: "O.K. You stupid asshole!" It's not Shakespeare, that's for sure. But, if you like your war action down and dirty with plenty of firefights and explosions, you can do a whole lot worse than this. Also starring Jim Gaines, Billy Kipp, Gerald Todd, John Collins, Tony Lee and Jan Jeffrey. A Questar Productions Home Video Release. Not Rated.
[First posted on Fred's CritCon]
VHS/Germany/fullscreen/German dubbing/no subtitles
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VHS/Japan/fullscreen/dubbed in English/Japanese subs
VHS/Greece/fullscreen/dubbed in English/Greek subs