Tuesday, 5 January 2010

MISSING IN ACTION (USA/Philippines, 1984)

aka To Døgn i Helvede

I watched Joseph Zito's MISSING IN ACTION for the first time last night. The funny thing is I've always avoided these movies as I had the impression they were too "big", too polished. It was a notion that all came from the splatter movie days when everything less gory than, say, RE-ANIMATOR was considered "weak". Well, you live and learn. MISSING IN ACTION (MIA) turned out to be very entertaining and I had multo fun watching it!

I always thought these films were fully American but actually (altho produced with US money) it was filmed in the Philippines and so were the two sequels. I never knew this till I began reading Andrew Leavold's and Bert Spoor's blogs! Hell, Bert Spoor was in this movie! Read his account of it here.

Compared to the "normal" low budget trashy Vietnam War flicks I usually watch it was kind of the same but the budget was clearly quite a bit bigger. And, hell, there's a woman in it. I mean, a woman who actually has quite a bit of dialogue and isn't kidnapped or killed off right away, LOL. She doesn't quite become a love interest tho.

Oh, and one more difference: This is actually out on a good DVD!! Imagine that! Fully letterboxed and nice sharp picture. There are various DVDs actually but I just bought the cheap local Danish release from On-Air Video (it's also out from MGM). Apart from some useless filmographies the only extra material is the trailer for the film but that's alright (actually it's rather good as some of the versions from other countries, including the UK, don't even have the trailer!). The DVD has one slightly irritating defect; in the left corner just above the picture you can see where the top of the film roll is running. As I said; annoying for a bit but you soon forget about it.

I'm definitely gonna get the two sequels (surprisingly entitled MIA 2 and MIA 3, haha). Check out the trailer below.



  1. I bought a box with all three movies - a swedish release. Though I still claim that Chuck Norris is worthless as action hero, there's still some good action in the first one. I once added the car chase to youtube:


    I haven't had the energy to check part 2 and 3 yet though.

  2. I remember Bert Spoor saying somewhere that Norris is actually a good actor. I don't know which way or the other, I've seen too many crappy movies to recognise good acting. LOL.

    I've always had a problem with his beard tho. :/
    Just... don't... like... it!!! xD

  3. I agree, the beard is a distraction! Bert is of course wrong when he says that Norris is a good actor, but I'll guess we have to accept his opinion ;)

    If an actor touches your heart with his or hers acting, that's a good actor... hahahaha! Sorry. Just kidding. I have no idea. But Norris is bad :)

  4. Hahaha,I'll rephrase that: He's a better actor than I am..! ( I know Fred, that makes Me very bad, LOL) . He isn't strong in his dialogs, but his action is full of suspense. His fighting scenes with Bruce Lee are legendary, and his action-acting in MIA-1 isn't too bad.

    In his series 'Walker', I have to agree, his acting and action are below zero, and the beard...yeah, better not.

    I probably look with the eyes of a martial artist and I recognize his fabulous technic and speed. He's a 6x world champ,( I have seen him practice his routines on the set, luvit). And besides that, he's just a nice guy....

  5. Hello everyone...greetings from Dumaguete city in the Philippines. I am a Spanish expat living here & I have been always liked this kind of movies as well as HK flcks...
    Besides Bert, also Ronnie Paterson can be seen in MIA as a journalist in the scene were Norris faces the Vietnam autorities. This place is located in Manila, the building is the National Museum & if you walk around there it hasnt change a bit.

    MIA 2 was shot in Mexico not the Philippines. MIA 3 was again shot in the Philippines.

    by the way, I knew you by references, I am a friend of Nils & Pedro Lopez from Copenhagen, I met them in Spain in 2004 when we attended the ALMERIA SW Reunion. My nick with them was Cuchillo!
    Best wishes

  6. Hi Cuchillo (or whatever your name really is),
    So good to hear from you! And thanks for your info.

    So the second MIA was done in Mexico. I guess I should have checked it out a bit better, haha. I just knew the first and last ones where done in the Philippines so I figured the second one was probably made there too. LOL.

    So you're an expat living in the 'Pines who wasn't in Filipino movies! Gee, I was under the impression that all gwilos there would have made it into the film business (just kiding). Also thanks for the info on Ronnie Paterson and the location. Very useful.

    Yeah, I remember Nils "the sleazy cowboy" talking fondly about his trip to Spain. I'll mention this to him.

    All the best and thanks again for your comments.

  7. Hello there...My name is Jesus Manuel, Yes I am Expat here since the economic situation in Spain was so becoming so weird & since my wife is filipina, we wanted to try a living here...Sorry I am not in the movies since I am just 34 & only 1 year & a half living here. BUUUUUUT, I got some nice VCDs containing filipino movies that were used by Joseph Lai for his ninja movies...In fact, I am preparing a site ( well, a blog...my knowledge about computers is very limited) about IFD/ Filmark. I have been recently with Mike Abbott in HK & I have shot a kind of documentary about IFD filming locations that is waiting to be edited. I will let you know when it starts.

    The info about the filming location of MIA 2, I got from a rare making of the movie itself that was broadcasted in the Spanish TV in 1990. It was a serie of making of from Cannon Films...I also recorded the one of Death wish 3, House And some more.

    Very best

  8. Hi Jesus,

    Thanks for your post. So you've actually moved to live there. Cool! So how do you find it, is it alright?

    Very interesting to hear about your upcoming blog! I'll definitely look forward to that.

    Your documentary about IFD sounds awesome. And yes please do let us know more about it when you get it finished.

    You met up with Mike Abbott in HK. Cool! So does he still live there and what's he doing these days?

    I would certainly be interested in knowing the titles of the films you got on VCD that Joseph Lai used for those crummy ninja movies.

    Do you still have those "Making of" movies from Spanish TV?

    Oh, and I mentioned you to Nils and like I said earlier he has fond memories of his trips to the old spaghetti western locations. :D

    Best regards

  9. Hi Jack..I pass you my email address jesunma@yahoo.es . I will send you a list of the filipino/ taiwanese films Lai used for his ninja experiment.

    The blog will be activated at the end of Feb. ( I don't have internet at home yet) It will be in Spanish & English language.

    Mike Abbott is still living in HK, he didn't know how popular he was in Europe among trashy movies collectors, he passed me a bunch of pics taken during his IFD shootings...I recorded him a video interview of 25 mins & then I added around 90 minutes of several shooting locations in HK used by Tomas Tang & Joseph Lai.

    do you use facebook??? Find me there...as Jesus Manuel, I am also as a friend of Nick Nicholson in facebook. There you can see some pics I took with Mike, some of the rare VCDS from Ocean shores, filipinos..etc I have got

    Sure I have all stuff I mentioned to you. Before I moved to the Philippines I passed all my videotapes to DVD-R & I brought them with me ( well I sent them by courier)

    Nils & I passed most of time in Almeria talking about weird & obscure movies, he sent to me the double disc edition of that masterpiece titled The sinful dwarf...jejejeje I remember everything started comparing it with THriller a cruel picture...
    Have you seen the movies we shot there???

  10. Hola Jesus,

    Mike Abbott didn't know about his popularity in Europe!?!? How weird is that. It sounds like a real cool documentary you're making!

    Yes, I'm on Facebook and I'll send you an invite. You might not have noticed but Nick Nicholson isn't actually on Facebook anymore but I'm sure you're aware of his two blogs (one is self-titled and the other is "Kiss my ass"). Otherwise check my link in the bar on the right.

    Nils showed me a movie that was shot there, I didn't know you did more than one. Oh well, I'll bug him about it at some stage. He's recently got a kid so he's kinda busy at the moment, LOL.

    Oh, he sent you The Sinful Dwarf aka DVÆRGEN! Love that bizarre film! xD



Yes, we have a comment filter now! It seems most comments these days come from shit spammers in India so there you go.

Bikini girls with machine guns

Yep, this video is from the one they're watching in Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN. It's an awesome video; I mean all it is is a bunch of scantly clad sexy babes with automatic guns going: "This is an AK47" pow pow pow pow - Haha. Absolutely fantastic! xD.