Sunday 10 June 2012

Movie Review: Braddock: Missing In Action III (1988)

This time, it's about the kids. Braddock's third and mercifully final adventure takes him back into Vietnam to rescue a bunch of Amerasian kids, including his son. No matter; Braddock: Missing In Action III is as bad as can be expected.

During the chaotic final hours of the war, with Saigon in the throes of falling to the communists, Colonel James Braddock (Norris) tries to find and evacuate his Vietnamese wife Lin (Miki Kim). But in a case of mistaken identity, he is led to believe that she died in a mortar strike, while in reality she has survived and is left behind. Unbeknownst to him, she is also pregnant.

Many years later, Braddock is visited by Reverend Polanski (Yehuda Efroni), who insists that Lin and their son Van Tan Cang (Roland Harrah III) are alive but destitute, living near Polanski's mission in Ho Chi Minh City. Despite the usual warnings from the faceless CIA suits, Braddock travels to Thailand and prepares for yet another adventure to invade Vietnam, re-fight the war, and attempt to rescue his family along with a large number of Amerasian children who are being mistreated by the Vietnamese.

This is rudimentary movie making by the misguided made for the enjoyment of the feeble-minded. In a summary of the intellect behind the script assembled in crayons by no less than four people, the Vietnamese officials all hiss with evil intent and clearly enjoy torturing adults and kids alike. Braddock is the only person who knows wrong from right and is ready to kick butt throughout Southeast Asia to prove it. And when it comes to surviving an onslaught, Braddock can drive a bus full of children through the Vietnamese countryside while avoiding countless helicopter-launched missiles aimed straight at him.

To make sure that Braddock: Missing In Action III finds its worldwide target audience, Braddock's key weapon in his latest one-man battle against the Vietnamese army is a massive machine gun equipped with a multi-grenade launcher and a bayonet. Apparently custom-made for the movie, it is a perfect prop to get the testosterone of the easily impressed pumping hard enough to mask the horrid entertainment on display.

Creating this brain-dead celebration of explosions unfortunately cost the lives of four people in a helicopter crash in the Philippines, and a couple of years later director Aaron Norris would also be in charge of Delta Force 2, in which five more people were killed in another helicopter crash during filming. The era of Cannon Films' low-budget action movies thankfully drew to a close before any more lives were lost in pursuit of unleashing additional atrocities on the senses.

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