Bruno. Fucking. Mattei. That is literally all you need to know going into this movie. I happen to be a huge fan of the fucker, I mean, it takes real balls to blatantly rip off so many other films so poorly. (I beg of you to sit down with Cruel Jaws…”We’re going to need a bigger…helicopter!”)
The fact that he just dives in with both feet and squeezes this shit out is amazing to me. I suppose on some level those of us who are genuine LOVERS of trash, we have to be masochists, right? It’s not as though we don’t recognize quality when we see it but there’s just a really fucked up perverse pleasure we get from rolling around in the filth and slime, no?
Enter Strike Commando, Bruno Mattei’s (using one of his favorite aliases Vincent Dawn) 1987 Rambo rip-off that was shot in the Philippines and carried with it a higher production value than I had anticipated, to be sure. Reb Brown (Smoke Man-Muscle and Thick McRunfast to my fellow MSTies out there) stars as Sgt. Mike Ransom (when they say his full name in the movie it sounds like “my grandson” which afforded me several lonely chuckles because I’m an idiot) a beefy, yet sensitive and humane lug who gets betrayed, left for dead and then again trapped behind enemy lines trying to obtain proof of the Russian presence in Vietnam.
To say that this is just a shitty wop knock-off of Rambo is really misleading because it’s oh-so-much-more than that. Reb is a special kind of actor…the kind that puts it all on the line and acts his fucking heart out. Yes, folks, he IS fearless. That will be made abundantly clear once you’ve witnessed the rip-your-heart-out-of-your-chest tear-jerking moment between Sgt. Mike Ransom and his lil Vietnamese buddy. (You’ll know it when you see it…it’s one of the *many* highlights of the movie)
“…with mountains made of cotton candy..and chocolate milk..and a genie…”
Ransom is the kind of soldier who feeds off of his emotions and he proves it when he reaches down into the depths of his fucking soul for some serious screaming. He cries out in pain, in anger, in frustration, in desperation…you will lose count of how many times words just cannot do justice to pure, unfiltered emotion.
Genre fans may recognize some of the supporting cast (HotDog from Bronx Warriors plays the “good/bad guy” aka “Murdock” and who can ignore the pursed lips of poor ol’ Mike Monty…THE character actor to call on when you need a General or Detective..he plays the “Trautman” role with the stiffness of any of your finer woods. Luciano Pigozzi has been in damn near everything..he played the Warden in Escape From Hell but was in just about every giallo you can name off the top of your head. Even the infamous Jakoda while not having much of an acting career, an observant viewer will recognize him from yet another Italian shit-fest of awesomeness; Sergio Martino’s Hands of Steel!) I know I certainly did.
I just totally fucking dorked out, didn’t I? Ok. Strike Commando. Ahhhhhh yes.
I can’t spell out all of the reasons why you should viddy this little-engine-that-half-ass-tried-to-rise-to-the-occasion-and-succeeds-for-all-the-wrong-reasons, mostly because words do not exist to do this thing justice. There’s enough shitty acting, uncomfortable dialogue, senselessness and explosions to satiate even the hardcoriest of b-action lovers.
If you’re looking for a good time and don’t mind being kinda confused and bored for like the first 20 minutes or so….just pop this bitch in and sit back and relax. It will come. Trust me.
Mattei will do what he was born to do, make movies that entertain although most often at his own expense.
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Jocelyn lives on 35 acres of woodland in an undisclosed Appalachian location. When not boozing it up or fighting the power she's tending her organic garden or collecting punk/soundtrack albums. Her best friends walk on 4 legs. She does not own a cell phone.