By Günter Müller
This is dull and formulaic Filipino B-action without any surprises. A gouvernor and his daughters are kidnapped by a bunch of rebellions, and so a commando team tries to free them and shoot all the villains. Guess what, they succeed. The German tape runs 80 min. and still seems to be too long. The action is okay, with some cool martial arts fights, but the shoot-outs are hardly worth speaking about. Nice opening though, with lots of explosions. Directed by Segundo Ramos with a cast of nobodies, with the notable exception of George Estregan, the only one who I recognized. He was in THE KILLING OF SATAN.
[first printed on Dvdmaniacs forum]
By Fred Adelman
DEATH RAIDERS (1984) - A provincial Governor and his two daughters are kidnapped by the evil Karamat and his trigger-happy men. After a treacherous trek through the jungle, Karamat and his prisoners finally arrive at his fortress, which is heavily fortified with men with guns and a series of maze-like caves. The government deems an air attack or a full-on ground assault too dangerous, so they reform the Death Raiders, a small group of Black Ops. soldiers headed by Captain Barone, to penetrate Karamat's fortress and rescue the Governor and his daughters. So begins this enjoyable (sometimes for the wrong reasons) action film from the Philippines, as Captain Barone rounds-up all the ex-members of his squad; from a disco (with the prerequisite bar fight), a police hostage situation (with the prerequisite attempted rape scene) and helping an alcoholic member free his girlfriend from a mafia whorehouse. Meanwhile, Karamat's son, who disagrees with his father's political views, unsuccessfully tries to lead the prisoners to freedom. When Karamat catches him, he ties him up in the middle of town and beats the stuffing oput of him with his bare hands in front of all the citizens. This does not sit too well with Karamat's wife, who secretly plans a revolution with a sympathetic rebel in town. After Captain Barone and his men train to get into shape, they set out on their mission to Karamat's stronghold. They make it to the cave where the Governor and his daughters are being held and they get an unexpected hand from Karamat's wife and son. From then on, the group try to make it through the jungle to safety, before the Army does a full air and ground attack on the compound. Members will be lost on the way as Captain Barone and his men must fight an inexhaustable supply of Karamat's soldiers, even as some of Barone's men return to Karamat's compound to rescue innocent women and children. Directed and co-written with a lot of intentional humor (check out the disco and whorehouse scenes) by Segundo Ramos (SUICIDE FORCE - 1982), this film has a lot going for it (especially the early martial arts fights, including an inventive, almost comic book-like, use of a spinning bar stool), but stops dead in it's tracks every time it goes back to the Karamat father-son conflict. This film works best when it concentrates on the Death Raiders themselves and their comradarie, which seems natural and unforced (it's apparent these actors, including Johnny Wilson [DEVIL'S THREE - 1979] and George Estregan [CLASSIFIED OPERATION - 1985], here using the name "George Regan", have worked together many times before this film). As with most Filippino action films, this one contains more than a few scenes of attempted rape (but, surprisingly, no nudity), including a comical scene where a bunch of Karamat's soldiers fight each other in the middle of a lake as they try to rape one of the Governor's daughters. While most of the action in the latter-half of the film is basically gunfights and explosions, the film has a kinetic energy that's infectious and fun to watch. I was taken aback by the abrupt ending, but that's a small complaint to an otherwise highly watchable film and, at 80 minutes, it doesn't overstay it's welcome. Also starring George Pallance, Ramon Zamora, Rudolfo Boy Garcia, Renato Del Prado, Robert Lee, June Ariston, Raquel Montesa and Joel Alano. A Les Productions et Distributions Videodrome Inc. (PDV) Home Video Release. Not Rated.
[first printed in Fred's CritCon eMag]
VHS/Japan/fullscreen/English dub/Japanese subs