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Antonio Margheriti's second entry in his Vietnam Trilogy is surprisingly the weakest of the three films (the first being "The Last Hunter" and the third being "Tornado"). However, despite some lackluster and uninspired direction, several quick action sequences and great cast chemistry hold this flick together over the course of 90 minutes.
Sometime during the mid-1970s, three Vietnam vets, Tiger Joe (David Warbeck, "A Fistful of Dynamite"), Midnight (Tony King, "The Last Hunter") and Lenny (Luciano Pigozzi, "Tornado") run weapons to Cambodian refugees who are fighting against the Khmer Rouge forces. When Joe is shot down behind enemy lines, he meets a beautiful guerrilla fighter (Annie Belle) and the two basically run around blowing up enemy bases while Lenny and Midnight search for their missing buddy.
That's about all there is to this quickie actioner. It's obvious that this was shot right on the heels of the classic "The Last Hunter", in order to make use of leftover money and sets, and fill out the contracts of several of the actors the cast and crew of both films are virtually identical. The production values are awfully low, and it shows. The film is almost completely void of Margheriti's signature slow-motion photography, and there are only a few big explosions. Margheriti and crew obviously produced this film in haste, and it shows. There's no variety of camera angles: no cool zoom-ins, no low angle photography, nothing to manipulate light and dark sets. Even the miniature work is below par: we do get to see one bridge and a toy train comes crashing down, but that's about it.
Most of the story revolves around a ragtag bunch of guerrillas and Cambodian peasants wandering the Cambodian jungle (actually the Philippines) and constantly running into enemy patrols, which they dispatch with machine-guns and knives rather quickly and without much effort. This is yet another film where a handful of un-trained civilians with AK-47s can suddenly mow down tons of trained enemy soldiers, who don't seem to understand how to take cover or aim their weapons. A good deal of the action footage particularly that of helicopters and the burned-out village is lifted directly from "The Last Hunter".
This only thing holding this plot less, mindless piece together is the great chemistry of the leads. Everyone involved in this film seems to be having a good time, even if they're not delivering incredibly thoughtful dialogue with gusto. David Warbeck, another British actor who failed to make it in Hollywood like Sean Connery and Roger Moore did for the James Bond series, went to Italy where he made a ton of decent action pictures (often for Margheriti). Here, he's enjoying himself as a witty Brit who simply gets to take an M-16 and grenades and kill half of the Khmer Rouge without effort. Tony King over-states every one of his scenes as Midnight (well, when he does he not overact?) but is great fun. Pigozzi seems right at home as Lenny, the type of part he was born to play, and despite his age and build, gets to be involved in some very physically demanding sequences. His final scenes are a bit corny and forced, but great fun for that exact reason.
This is a very entertaining and attention-holding film, but Margheriti doesn't offer us anything new to think about and doesn't seem to be experimenting with either the script or technical side of the production. If not for the presence of a great cast, this flick would have been a total waste of time. As it exists now, you'll probably watch it once, enjoy it but forget it almost immediately. Check out Margheriti's "The Last Hunter" instead; the series should have been left where it was.
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