This month I'm gonna
talk about one of the films that I really liked when it came out.
It is a film that practically disappeared after its release. It disappeared
so bad that the video went out of print. It vanished so bad that
you couldn't even find it on TV . . . even on TBS. I'm talking about
This 1982 film is essentially an action film. There is no foul language, and no blood, but it is 99 minutes of good clean fun. Stupid assed Leonard Maltin gives it One star, while Corel All Movie Guide gives it 1 and 1/2. Another reason that this film is special is due to the fact that it is so hard to find. We here at GDI spent a lot of time trying to get a copy and I have to thank the fricking overrated Internet for this. I was surfing at e-bay and found a guy selling it. So I bid, and let me tell you, money was no concern. I ended up paying over $40, but it was worth it.
Here is the vital information. In the lead is Barry Bostwick, who hasn't acted in many films of merit but was in Rocky Horror Picture Show, a film I just don't like. The lead villain is played by Henry Silva, one of our favorite bad guys. He was in the good Sinatra flick Oceans Eleven. He also starred in Alligator, still the only giant gator film worth mentioning. He's been in several Burt Reynolds flicks including Sharkey's Machine and Cannonball Run II. Finally he was in Escape From The Bronx, the sequel to 1990: The Bronx Warriors (which has been reviewed here). The male cast is rounded up by Edward Mulhare (you know, the gut from Knight Rider), and Robert Fuller, who played Doctor Kelly Brackett M.D., F.A.C.S on There is only one chick in the film, and that is Persis Khambatta. She played the bald chick in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but more importantly, she was in Warrior of the Lost World (a classic MST3K episode), and Nighthawks with Sylvester Stallone and Billy Dee Williams.
The director of this film was Hal Needham. This guy really learned the film craft. Much of his credits were as Second Unit Director on a lot of Burt Reynolds Films including the fabulous Longest Yard. He also directed the first Smokey & The Bandit and well as Cannonball Run. Granted, this film is not the greatest, and I don't know how much it cost to make, but it grossed 5.7 Million dollars domestically.
Let's get to the story.
The beginning has this guy telling us what Megaforce essentially does, then they cut to these reverse negative back shots that are actually from the action filled climax at the end. We see Henry Silva playing a character called Guerera sitting on a tank, reading the riot act to some Hispanic speaking people. On the plus side, he blows the shit out of a bunch of model buildings. Then we get a fairly decent tank battle in some foreign country, Yuma, Arizona I think. All-in-all not a bad start, but we do find out that there are some Vietnam style rules of engagement going on.
Jump cut to Persis Khambatta who is pretty hot in an 80's kind of way and the Knight Rider dude landing in America and taking a drive into the desert and then getting dumped there. Then we get a near rattlesnake attack, but come redneck guy named Dallas shoots the snake and informs them that he is from Megaforce and is there to pick them up to take them to Hunter, the leader. This meet and greet session is topped off with them showing off their hologram technology. Remember this, because it is a plot point.
More desert driving and then a jump cut to a super high tech control center that watches over the people driving for HQ. Then the pseudo-disco music kicks in and we get a little show of the capabilities of the, multinational Megaforce. This little show includes shooting at a bunch of flying balls with their machine guns and a gratuitous jump over the visitors car. Oh and we meet Ace Hunter, who is wearing a fucking blue silk scarf wrapped around his head like he just came from an aerobics class. What we also discover that there is a weak little "good natured goofiness" that surrounds the team.
And there are some blatantly obvious matte paintings used to simulate a cavernous base.
It is also apparent that they were grooming themselves for a sequel.
Commander Hunter tells the visitors that the force is a super secret organization supported by all nations of the world called Supreme Commander United Free Forces (SCUFF) and that the troops have been written off of their books. Ace immediately begins trying to seduce Persis with his witty repartee (including some sad sexual innuendoes). Turns out she is a military commander herself. We get some more explanations of their toys, including some sort of stealth mode and special photosensitive paint.
Now we get down to it. It seems that Hunter knows Guerera, the reason the visitors are there, and that he is no opponent to mess with. It is definitely clear that they are still friends, sort of. The next day, Hunter outlines his plan to stop Guerera from attacking Persis' country, and I mean we have to hear it. Apparently they were trying to show us that Hunter really is a leader. Essentially he plans to hit a base in an attack that will only last 4 minutes.
Of course, the chick has to throw a fricking monkey wrench in the works like trying to say she is going on the mission. Naturally, we have to see her got through the "training" like the team to see if she can make it. PLEASE!! So they skydive. It's a really sad sequence. They play romantic music and the close-ups of Ace and Persis are so not real. Hell, the wind isn't even whipping their jumpsuits. However, in the end, just being able to do it isn't enough, and the chick comes to her senses and doesn't go. To top it off, She doesn't even get Hunter out of his silver jumpsuit.
The team and their gear board these C-130's and head out to this fake country, with a sendoff from Persis signified by kissing their thumbs, and setting up a date after the battle. In the air, Hunter is thinking about the girl and Dallas makes some stupid statement, which Ace responds to. We also get to hear the soothing voice of Robert Fuller, who is one of the pilots. Man he kicks ass. During the flight we get some "empathize with the character" plot development. Dallas, who couldn't be over 20 talks about jumping into Da Nang. Suki, the Japanese guy gets his ass kicked by a Rubicks Cube. Two guys throw a knife back and forth at each other. Zac solves the cube in two minutes. Plus there is Anton, this Italian dude. The pilot makes a joke about his girl.
Then they jump. Now this the part of the flick that would have been better if it wasn't shot in such low light. They hit the base with a four minute clock running, and there are missiles and machine-guns and lasers firing, but you can barely see anything. On the plus side, I have to say that the motorcycle stunts are really well done. In fact it's much like the scene in Delta Force which was made later in 1986. In fact I think some of the props were reused. True to form, they are in and out in four minutes.
Oh and Henry Silva cheats at chess.
The team hauls ass towards their resupply base, while some bad guy who is there for comic relief is following them in a motorcycle with a side car. They are seen observing the team, and they use that damn hologram generator to display a beach with a chick to make the observer seem insane to Guerera, whose tanks are inbound. To top it off Guerera actually lands at the refueling depot. They spend some time catching up and are still rambling on about that damn lighter. Then Persis and the Knight Rider guy land to inform the team that the word has come down by their government that if Hunter's group crosses the good guys borders, they'll be at war.
But Hunter won't give
up, that's why he is the leader. He and the girl have some final
words, then Ace reminds her of their date. Guerera leaves after trying
to cut a deal with Hunter, and they both know they will fight again.
It's fun being pals with your enemy!
He has a plan. Not a good plan, but a plan none the less. They head for the dry lake bed, the only place where their planes can land. They know that Guerera's forces are there waiting for them, but miraculously, there is a back way in so that they can come from behind the forces using their stealth motors and blast through the armored forces. Like I said, it's not a great plan.
So as they creep up, we get these slow motion shots. Man do I fucking hate slow motion shots! Anyway, there are a series of tight camera shots of the various pieces of equipment and they prepare to attack. At the same time the planes are coming in to act as decoys. When the order goes down to attack, one of the planes is hit which means they will have to leave their machines behind, just like they did in Delta Force. Those bastards at Golan Globus sure stole a lot from this film.
The battle starts and Guerera's tanks are getting shot to hell. Lots of good explosions here. Ace jumps over one tank and throws a grenade into it. Then they break through and make a run for the remaining plane that has landed. Only after the pilot bitches about the fire does the force light off their multi-colored smoke to hide them. Then Hunter dumps his bike, but we all know he is not out of it. At the same time, the team gets on the plane and the enemy tanks are colliding into each other. To top it off, Hunter climbs onto Guerera's tanks and makes some witty remarks to him before he gets back on his bike, hauling ass for the plane, which has just started to take off. But just when you think he is hosed, his bike deploys wings and a rocket (something the scientist was babbling about earlier in the flick), and the dam thing flies! It fucking flies! Would you believe it! Again I made the Delta Force comparison, though Chuck Norris' bike did not fly, but close enough.
Needless to say, Hunter lands in the plane.
And he and Guerera are still friends.
Cut to a press conference being held by the dude from Knight Rider where he is denying everything. Hunters plane does a fly over, the chick waves at the plane and Hunter blows up the dude from Knight Riders personal helicopter. Hunter and Persis do the kissing of the thumbs thing and the plane flies off into the sunset with Hunter screaming about his date. The 80's hair band rock music comes up and we get a bunch of shots of the stunts.
So why do we like this obviously lame film? Well, it is partly due to the grail-like nature of it. But it is a fun flick, and very 80's. Maybe that's why you don't see it any more. By today's standards, the whole thing is cheesy looking. But sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy the ride . . . Deeds Not Words.