ATTACK FORCE ‘NAM (aka P.O.W. THE ESCAPE) (1986)
Directed by: Gideon Amir
Screenplay: Malcolm Barbour, James Bruner, Avi Klienberger, John Langley & Jeremy Lipp
Starring: David Carradine, Steve James, Charles R. Floyd & Mako
Within 30 seconds of this action opus, you know what’s going down: David Carradine is a bad ass, he doesn’t leave any POWs behind (and we know this as he says it about 600 times during the 80 minute runtime!) and he’s been given a mission to go rescue a bunch of soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. Cue credits and then we are into the first big action scene, which must last for a good ten minutes or so (cool!), as Carradine and Co blow the shit out of huts, vehicles and evil Vietcong. However, despite Carradine’s coolness and steely-eyed determination, things don’t go according to plan as the rescue team are obliterated and Carradine is captured. Taken to a POW camp run by the incredibly evil Mako, Carradine now has to plan his own escape, get a whole new set of POW’s back to freedom, contend with quite possibly the most douchebag American soldier ever (Charles R. Floyd) and blow up every hut, vehicle and Vietcong soldier going. Oh, and leave no one behind as everyone goes home. EVERYONE!
Attack Force ‘Nam is cheesy 80s jungle based, exploding hut, military action awesomeness. While perhaps not as fondly remembered as the like of Rambo First Blood Part II, Missing in Action 1 -3 or any of the Italian made military action films of the era (such as Double Target or Strike Commando), Attack Force ‘Nam is still some great M16 firing jungle action brilliance. Produced by 80s military action specialists Golan and Globus (of Cannon fame), the film makes good use of its Philippine locations, plentiful military vehicles (with an impressive amount of helicopters) and endless supply of extras waiting to be gunned down as unfortunate (and mainly useless) soldiers. The action, while somewhat scrappy and rough around the edges, is impressively mounted with several big battle scenes as Carradine and his crew decimate the opposing Vietcong with pretty much every vehicle, hut and the surrounding area blown up at some point. Carradine even rolls the back of a tanker down at hill in order to blow more stuff up in one outrageous scene and once the action starts the M16 machine gun fire rarely lets up.
While there is no doubt this is cheesy 80s action fare (with some painfully outdated patriotic overtones) , there is a tough and often grimy feel to proceedings with the squalid camp the prisoners finding themselves in giving off a sense of hopelessness. Carradine is his usual tough and ever-so-cool self (and even gets to kick some ass kung-fu style), Charles R. Floyd makes for a thoroughly rotten egg amongst the gun-ho group (whatever happened to him and how come he was never in more films? He would have made a great bad guy in more action films) and Mako is an absolute repellent hoot as the evil camp leader. American Ninja star and all round bad ass Steve James is also on hand (though could have been given a bit more to do!) filling out an awesome B-movie cast which just adds to the over-the-top gung-ho heroics and jungle destroying action.
Also known as P.O.W. The Escape and Behind Enemy Lines but whatever title you pick it up under you’re guaranteed a gun blazing good time from a bygone era of action cinema.