VHS Review: Strike Commando

Strike Commando Avid Home Entertainment VHS Slip

Directed by: Bruno Mattei
Category: Italian Trash

Strike Commando is what you get when you combine an International cast, an Italian production, literally steal characters and scenes from First Blood: Rambo Part 2, cast Reb Brown in the lead, incorporate real Vietnam War footage as filler, and mix it all together. The result? Fucking glorious.

This film has been following me for years now. It's apparently on a lot of "Must See" lists of Bad Movies, and while I actually grabbed a VHS of this on eBay years ago, I never actually sat down to watch it. As we have started screening Bad Movie Night's at our place recently, I felt it was as good a time as any to finally check this out and see if it was Bad Movie Night worthy, because we're always on the lookout. You never know, I may have had a gem sitting on my shelf all along and never knew it.

Well, as it turns out, I did in fact possess a hidden gem among my collection of VHS tapes, and Strike Commando easily ranks as one of the best low-budget Italian ripoffs I've ever seen. Not only is it a great addition to any Bad Movie Night, It's also a really badass action flick in it's own right. So right there it can work as either an excellent piece of Badass Cinema, or as an awesome addition to your Bad Movie collection. Either way, you're going to have a helluva fun time with this one.

Legendary Italian Schlock writer/director Bruno Mattei made this film in 1987, the same year he made a total of 5 films, and a year before he re-teamed for the now legendary Predator/Robocop ripoff Robowar. This guy is prolific to say the least, averaging anywhere from 2 - 5 films a year in all different genre's. With that being said, let's just say each film varies significantly in quality and entertainment value. Yet, in his massive filmography, he has quite a few notable standouts, chief among them the excellent Robowar, as well as Strike Commando and the Terminator ripoff Shocking Dark.

If you know anything about Italian Trash Cinema, then you know essentially back in the 80's they would just steal whatever big Hollywood film is currently lighting up silver screens - sometimes combining 2-3 for a single film - and make a low-budget version of it, in some cases, stealing direct characters and scenes right out of the films that inspired their low-budget version. More times than not, it's quite hilarious, which makes them so great, and Strike Commando is no exception. You'll literally be shocked at how blatantly they steal Rambo II scene for scene, and the results are both hilarious and awesome.

Here's the thing, while writer/director Bruno Mattei - using the pseudonym Vincent Dawn - is not an original director by any stretch of the imagination, when it comes down to it, the guy can film action rather well.......for a low-budget movie. So when you go in expecting gawd-awful visuals to go along with the insanely unoriginal story and script, you're more than shocked to find a film that's pretty badass in it's own right. That's not an easy thing to do my friends, yet Mattei and company pull it off rather well. So much so in fact that while you could easily classify this as a Bad Movie of the highest degree, this would also make excellent viewing material for a Badass Cinema Night, because it is quite awesome. There is a ton of action, exploding huts, fights, Oscar worthy speeches (kidding), and endless scenes of Reb Brown screaming hysterically as he shoots his machine gun. It's all gold.

Do yourself a favor, and track this baby down as soon as you can. While the first 20-30 minutes don't really offer anything in the way of excitement, the film really begins to take shape shortly thereafter and well, let me just say the second half of this just plain fucking rules, down to the very last frame of film.

File this under: Badass Cinema

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