( 1989 / Hong Kong )
Review by Paul CookeDirector: Charles Lee ( aka Godfrey Ho ) Starring: Paul John Stanners , Anders Hallerg , Frank Juhasz , Patrick Hedman & Earling Hoh Source : HMV Movies / NTSC VHS Japan / Full Screen Presentation / Hi-Fi Mono Sound / Trailers / English Language With Small Japanese Subtitles
‘‘Whether he’s injured or not he’s better than ten men put together’’
A phantom freedom force fight against oppression in the South Pacific. An army of secretly trained mercenaries indoctrinated into a cause that is itself an elitist organisation. Their objective , to take back control , but ultimately described with the poignant line delivery ‘‘You never know about these groups , they can be against something today , then when they get some power they become like the enemy they fought !’’. Time then to send in Alexander Sampson , an under cover special forces soldier , given the guise of a one time revolutionary fighting for a similar cause. His mission , to establish himself amongst the freedom force and to report back to his superior officer. What follows is pure incredulous IFD Film silliness of the most entertaining kind , backed of course by the legend of the incomprehensibly engaging hack talent Joseph Lai.
Somewhere in Sandakan Sabah , Malaysia Sampson is picked up with a bunch of other likeminded fighting men. They are blindfolded and transported by power boat to a remote island where the Freedom Force soldiers are based. The fit are trained to become a part of the militant force , The New People’s Freedom Army !. It’s no holiday camp under the training regime and leadership of Abdul , no not her from American Idol but another judge of character who expects his men to hit the right high notes screaming for victory !. Sampson soon climbs up through the ranks , due to his exemplary standards , and is then given a detail of men who combined are sent out to fight the cause under the banner of The Freedom Army. The reward for their obedience and for successfully completing the fit to fight summer school is the right to wear the uniform , as well as getting to keep a nice automatic machine gun. Abdul sure knows how to suit and boot the troop and his stated ethos screams out ‘‘We have suppliers from places you wouldn’t even have heard of !’’. Yes indeed , if The Village People ever reform Abdul is the man to see !.
The stilted dubbed voice track is particularly funny to listen to and along with the cheesy acting , and with as many dodgy moustaches as a Seventies pop band reunion , you can only take the movie as un-seriously as is intended to fully enjoy. There’s plenty of rapid fire gun play , slow - mo interplay that includes some snazzy hand grenade throwing , as well as a nice smattering of explosive trail blazing Action. Throw it all together and the outcome is clear , we’ve got ourselves a drive in jungle G.I gung ho down Asian style.
There are some bloody moments to look out for such as the poor unfortunate in an ambush scene as the guy has both his arms blown off at the elbows. The sight of him being carried off by colleagues viscerally displaying what remains of his bloody stumps flapping away in the after draft is certainly well done. Filmed in true I.F.D production style it is clear that the movie as a whole is in fact a relatively short main feature that has been padded out with other scenes from an unrelated film unit. The extra stock gives a whole new meaning to the storyline as Alexander Sampson is portrayed as being in contact with the American Force , when in reality it is clear none of the scenes actually has them together. Edited together by a team likely wearing three fingered rubber gloves this actually adds to the silliness and is recommended late night , three beers with a side order of hollerin’ and a whooping to best enjoy.
All the fun Action takes place in the main feature as Sampson rises up with iconic status amongst his men , who still remain oblivious to his infiltration , soon taking the rank of commander. His meteoric climb meets with disapproval from dissenters within the Freedom Force however , and as the jungle battles heat up so does the interest in bringing Sampson down. The man becomes a seemingly unstoppable force though and even when he has his knee shot out , resulting in him having his leg amputated , still he stands tall. His role overwhelms him and his true objective becomes blurred. Inevitably the fighting factions close in around him , so the time comes for Sampson to take his final stand !. The scene is set for a mighty convergence of military might as the foot soldiers of the masses align for a testosterone take down. The mighty moustache brigade charge on in against Sampson , showing their combined upper lip hair might , in a defiant stance that may just be the way to take Sampson’s power from him !?. With just the one good leg Sampson defiantly shows that he has not forgotten that he truly stands for justice , aided by the wonder of a specially commissioned prosthetic leg for a level playing field. A deluge of bodies are downed on all sides as Sampson and his loyal men charge forward in defiance , Sampson reinvigorated in the cause of the American Force.
The evil militia get their comeuppance in a balls to the wall finale and of course reborn hero Commander Alexander Sampson gets to go on a gun totting gauntlet. He squares off face to face with the main militia madman , and with big guns a blazing fearlessly goes all out on a limb !.
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