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Cobra Mission (1986)
Brainless film trying to be serious?
Well, here we have a typical "exploding huts" film, which starts off with a bunch of 'Nam veterans living casual lives. When in a bar, they see a POW returning from Vietnam camp through diplomatic efforts, 10 years after the war has ended. The bunch then proceeds to team up and return to Vietnam to rescue all the the American prisoners of war. Mind, all of this happens within a day or two (!). They then arrive somewhere in Indochina, near Vietnam (although the street scenes feature the "Jeepney", traditional Philippine public transport vehicle). According to their "well-thought out plan" they acquire weapons provided by a priest, and head out into the jungle, where, like someone else pointed out, Vietnamese army continues to patrol the woodlands despite war ending years ago. Dozens of killed extras later, the team manages to infiltrate deep into enemy territory, where they finally find a POW camp. While examining the place in order to make a plan on how to seize the place, one of the "commandos" just starts blasting away, and others follow. scores of Vietnamese soldiers burst out of the huts through one door, only to be mowed down by one guy.
The camp is free. POWs in blue uniforms "visibly distrustful and worried" try to get a grasp of the situation while one of the heroic bunch yells at them that they're free, and that they need to get aboard the truck - something very odd happens at this moment - 8 POWs jump on the truck, while 3 are still standing near the prison building, staring quietly. They don't move, nobody persuades them to come, nobody mentions them. The truck drives away, and they are left there without a second thought (!). A couple of shootings here and there, including a Vietnamese woman, victim of Napalm bombings killing one of the heroic bunch out of vengeance, we come to the second mystery - When two Vietnamese helicopters (which are in fact American Huey choppers) begin assault on the empty village that Americans sought refuge in, POWs and the heroic bunch escape before all the huts explode - but, without a reason or explanation, two of the POWs are never to be seen again. It all goes downhill from here. The remaining 6 POWs are being killed at an alarming rate, up until only one, which has an injured knee, remains.
The finale is ridiculous, not because of silly shoot-outs, but I'll leave you to see that for yourselves;)
Advanced views in a conservative society
At first glance this Turkish telenovela may seem just another love story routine, but it is later on much more than that. As some reviewer before me already nicely explained, the main plot actually shows how liberal-oriented Sila is fighting the old conservative dogmatic traditions, which are still often used to suppress the unguilty by those in charge. The plot condemns unwillingness to send children to schools, honour killings, meaningless patriarchy, discrimination of women, and so on. While it seemed to me that acting was somehow stiff, it still doesn't deserve such a low rating, especially considering how daring the whole crew who made this piece was. This is an important and advanced work of art for the Turkish culture.
La Venere dei pirati (1960)
The lesser "Tiger of the Seven Seas"
This film is strikingly similar to Luigi Capoano's "Tiger of the Seven Seas" in some aspects, the most obvious one's being the fact that both film use the same leading actress and to some degree even same action scenes. The Queen of the Pirates is a classic budget peplum film set on the sea, with classic budget (many times hilarious especially if its English version) dubbing and story plot. Sandra (Gianna Maria Canale) is a daughter of a ship-owning merchant Mirko (slavic pirate?). He, together with his previously mentioned daughter and the crew already rebels against the "injustice" by the local authorities by the beginning of the film, and together on their ship Isabella, they head out to sea defeating many more authority-owned ships across the Adriatic Sea. Soon a "deeper story" involving a lover, castles and evil leaders evolves. No use writing any more details. Just watch the film if you like Italian/European 60's budget peplums with some hilarious moments in-between. Take note that the film "Tiger of the Seven Seas" released two years later is actually somewhat better paced (except the battle sequence) as well as more coherent regarding the plot, but do not let that turn you away from this little but daring "gem".
Lucky, el intrépido (1967)
And I expected ''I Fantastici 3 Supermen''
By the first looks of the film, you may be deceived that this is a film in the same range as ''I Fantastici 3 Supermen'', an amusing Italian film, from the sixties, set in Yugoslavia.
Well, the poster, and the first few minutes of the film promise something similar, but you begin to loose hope at the moment when the protagonist goes to Albania, and you see - what just might be the one of the worst sceneries chosen and recorded for a theatrical release. By the time when the main character is chasing around with Albanian police on a very small steam engine, you loose all hope of recovery, as the scenery is awful (set on a generic abandoned industrial site), and gamma and brightness messed up to make it look like night? The tricks the two protagonists use look made up right on the spot of the shooting, and for people who recognise Albanian and Serbo-croatian language - you're in for a nasty surprise - Albanians (in Albania) speak Serbo-Croatian, and occasionally German. This is rather inconsistent, as only Kosovar Albanian minority (in Yugoslavia) could speak some Serbo-croatian. This is "hilariously" probably noted as Lucky el interpido says in one moment that he also speaks Albanian, with "Yugoslavian accent".
Anyway, the film is filled with gags and tricks, most of them not really funny, and when Lucky travels to the Caribbeans the scenery doesn't even change much, mainly because of bad camera positions, over-saturation and other lightning issues, and the ending is practically a reflection of the whole film in terms of quality.
But it definitely was worth watching. 5 Stars.
It looks like a feature film, it acts like a telenovela
After the rather spectacular ending (considering the telenovela standards set by the Mexicans) in previous season of Larin Izbor, the production team pushed the limits of the forward momentum too far, and crossed the line into the area of bad cheese in a full fledged feature film. Why bad Cheese? Well, this is somewhere between the ridicule-cheese of the Latin telenovelas that we all know and are used too, and a boring attempt at creating a suspenseful crime(?) drama. If I sum the story up in short, it's about a couple, Lara and Jakov who after a long period of terrorism and multiple murder attempts by the male protagonist's half-brother Dinko, allegedly lost their child in a plane crash which was piloted by Dinko, as he kidnapped the boy. Now, after 5 years or so after the events, the heroine is living in a monastery, hiding from reality, and Jakov, her spouse, living as a small-time fisherman, down at the docks in some other town. As the story develops, we learn that Dinko, the protagonist's half-brother somehow survived the Plane crash in the middle of stormy seas, saved the kidnapped child, got away from the search area somehow, renamed himself as Viktor and became the leader (Mayor?) of the very same town Jakov is staying, and became super rich. huh. The story develops rather too expected, with Jakov joining forces with his boring friends he didn't see in five years, and persuading Lara to come with him to find their son and punish Dinko for all the tragedies he's caused. I may note that the actors feel forced into speech, which in turn itself was written dumb, and the child is oblivious to surroundings, which is pretty annoying, considering the child has a pretty important role. Well, the story from this point on is pretty bald, so there's nothing worth mentioning, apart from the ending. Dear Lord. Could it possibly be more dead? All the main characters are gathered on a yacht owned by Dinko, with the boy still kidnapped, together with Lara. As the yacht sails off into the open stormy sea yet again, Jakov manages to get on it, and after some casual fighting between the characters, manages to hit Dinko so hard that he is instantly blown into the stormy sea. And what does the boy do? The very same boy that lived with Dinko practically since he remembers, and was his only family he ever knew? Nothing. He has absolutely no expressions, neither before the fight, during the fight, or after the fight when Dinko was assumed dead. Nothing. He just hugs, or should I say is being forced into hugging complete two strangers, which are his biological long lost parents, as they are yet again cheesingly kissing. How charming.