Saturday, 1 September 2018

BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY

Philippines/USA (1991)
Dir: Cirio H. Santiago
Cast: Jan-Michael Vincent, Eb Lottimer, Jillian McWhirter, Vic Trevino, Henry Strzalkowski, Nick Nicholson, Steve Rogers, Mike Monty, Vic Diaz
Version reviewed: Reg. 1 DVD (New Concorde) fullscreen, English audio, no subs. 
Extras: three trailers



It seems the pile of Cirio H. Santiago films is a treasure trove that just keeps giving. You close your eyes, reach out and grab something. You hope for a beer, a peach or a boob but most of the time what you get is yet another Santiago flick that you haven't seen, hahaha.

THE PLOT
Vietnam 1975. The war is coming to an end. When our film begins the Americans are pulling out. We get about 25 minutes of fighting, shooting, and then some more fighting. Scenes that have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Towards the end of the 25 minutes of people jumping, falling, shooting, etc. I kept thinking this was probably the most disjointed film I'd seen. But then ... the plot actually began! The first 25 minutes were just, kinda, the intro.

An American patrol boat and its crew has just left the shore. They are on their way home when they get a radio call to come back to pick up an ex military guy who happens to be a war hero. At the same time a female journalist is trying to find said war hero but is chased thru the streets by angry Vietnamese men. They're not Viet Cong or anything they're just angry (it's one of those things. It just does not make sense).


She comes across a church and decides to hide in there. Incidentally, a nun is holing up in there with a bunch of American bastards, haha. I'm not being derogatory here, they really are bastards as they're the outcome of American soldiers having had fun with Vietnamese women. And now the nun tries to hide these half-breeds cos the Vietnamese don't take kindly to these kids of half American origin. To cut to the chase; the journalist and the war hero both get on the patrol boat and from then on the film is one lone ride to get thru dangerous Viet Cong controlled waters. Lots of shootings. Lots of ducking. Lots of sailing, and more shootings and ducking. And at some point they get to a heavily guarded bridge. Oh, what to do now?


BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY is by no means a great film. If Cirio H. Santiago had cut out the first 25 minutes it could have become a decent film. Now it's an okay...ish film. The final 20 minutes are what saves the film but it's still no masterpiece by anybody's standards.

There's quite a few familiar faces throughout the film; Nick Nicholson  is there, he even has a bit of dialogue this time around, and so is Steve Rogers, Mike Monty and Vic Diaz. The latter two are in the movie for 1-2 minutes each. What a waste. Henry Strzalkowski has lots of scenes and dialogue. There's probably some more I didn't recognise.

One of the main characters is played by Jan-Michael Vincent. Unfortunately, he's not too well these days. The hero is played by Eb Lottimer and the female journo by Jillian McWhirter. She has the screen personality of a fruit basket I'm sorry to say. She was in (at least) three Santiago films; this one, DUNE WARRIOR and STRANGEHOLD. Later she was in the truly unpleasant American horror movie THE DENTIST 2 (1998) (I'm not saying that in a bad way. I quite like horror flicks but I hate going to the dentist's and I find the two THE DENTIST movies some of thee most unpleasant horror films out there to sit thru!). She's dropped completely off the radar by now.

I found a trailer for the film on YouTube (unfortunately in the wrong aspect ratio, someone had changed the correct fullscreen picture to 16:9 widescreen, so I'm not gonna bother linking to it here) and the uploader pointed out that many of the scenes in BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY are from another film (also by Santiago and from the same year) entitled FIELD OF FIRE (1991). I think I might have FIELD on VHS somewhere but I haven't actually watched it. It stars David Carradine and Eb Lottimer (check credits on Andrew Leavold's blog).


The DVD from New Concorde is serviceable - at least it looks slightly better than video. Part of the "American Valor" (sigh) DVD series.

The IMDb states the film is from 1992 but the print clearly says 1991.

PS: sorry about the glare from the window in my house. The DVD picture looks better than the pix in this post. 



 

The trailer uploaded by the official Roger Corman YouTube channel (not fake widescreen like the one I mentioned in the above!)


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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.