Thursday, 30 May 2013

Death Raiders



DEATH RAIDERS (1984)

Directed by: Segundo Ramos
Written by: Segundo Ramos & Daddy Gomez
Starring: Joel Alano, June Ariston, Renato Del Prado, George Estregan, Rodolfo ‘Boy’ Garcia, Robert Lee

A low budget and trashy Philippine action movie that is so low budget and trashy that other low budget and trashy Philippine action movies say “damn that is one low budget and trashy action movie.” Probably. After five to ten minutes of ample stock footage (complete with the “stars” of the film throwing hand grenades at the camera and then vehicles/bridges/huts exploding in footage obviously taken from some other film!) Death Raiders gets down to business fast as a bunch of jungle based despots (led by their rather unintentionally hilarious leader who loves to coordinate his shirts and hats: nothing says crazy bad guy like a matching red shirt and hat combo!) kidnap some important officials/random people and hold them hostage in a cave somewhere in the deep dark jungle. Some other important officials/random people are upset by this, won’t stand for it and decide to get together and send in their roughest, toughest, disco loving crack team of commandos: the Death Raiders. Running, shooting and a fair amount of tedium follows.

Neither living up to its awesome video cover, title and the above synopsis Death Raiders feels like it’s been made by a bunch of dudes who have seen many (many) movies (or at least many other low budget and trashy Philippine action movies) and decided to make their own. Coherency is a no go but absurdity certainly is! Death Raiders is all over the place with loads of random characters, a team who are supposed to be badasses but seem to be more inept than the actual bad guys and a ridiculous amount of somewhat overweight guys you all insist on wearing their shirts open in order to expose their impressive beer guts. This is perhaps the only movie where if you are a skinny and in shape guy you have to wear your shirt done up but if you have a large gut, are pushing 50 and look like you are on the verge of a heart attack then, hey, you get to wear your shirt open!

Fortunately there is mucho running and shooting action and even a bit of martial arts. It’s not particularly good with such well “choreographed” scenes including dozens of extras continually running into the path of our heroes firing guns and dying in a hilariously unconvincing manner, the best-worst rescue of a hostage (this scene features the raiders in the wide open running in a line firing their guns and not one of the bad guys can hit them: awesome!) and a hilarious kung fu fight in a disco! At least come the finale there is plenty of machine gun action and exploding huts which is the main reason to be watching a low budget and trashy Philippine jungle based action movie.

You usually can’t go wrong with a Philippine jungle based action movie (all you need is lots of running, shooting and exploding huts!) but Death Raiders is not a prime example of this genre. There is just enough silly action to make it worth a watch but sadly (and as mentioned many, many times during the course of this review) it is just too low budget and trashy (and amateur!) to really be much fun.

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