A group of Vietnam veterans, fiercely loyal to their lieutenant (horribly disfigured as a result of a land mine explosion) agree to perform a series of audacious hits on mob-controlled gambling operations to ostensibly rid the town of their influence and protect society's youth from the spectre of drugs. But their raids also net hundreds of thousands of dollars in tainted cash, leading Mafia Don (Caruso) to enlist the aid of his Mr Fix-it Carmine Longo (Lane) to rectify the problem.
You've probably read that the vets disguise themselves and while it's certainly a novelty, the "transformations" are unintentionally comedic (watch for the interrogation scene near the end of the movie). Puerile dialogue and atrocious cinematography (or perhaps the editing) don't do any favours, but I enjoyed the characterisations, and the cast has some talent. Lanky Mike Lane from "The Harder They Fall" is imposing, Stafford Morgan as the crooked cop, and Rockne Tarkington as the tough-talking downtown pusher, all make an impression in spite of the script they deliver.
A jazzy soul soundtrack, slow-motion stunts, car chases and a twist ending keep things entertaining and overall, while it's routinely panned by the armchair critics, you could do a lot worse than this gangster flick dressed in a blaxploitation wardrobe. Often confused with its sequel "Codename Zebra" starring James Mitchum made in 1987, while the latter is more technically proficient, the sheer quirkiness and 70's infused texture of "Zebra Force" is superior in entertainment value.
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