by Jason Elizondo (robotGEEK)
Max Shane (Asher Brauner) is a Vietnam vet who currently works as a soldier of fortune, much to the dismay of his wife Angela. When she decides to go visit her brother, and Max's former Vietnam brother-in-arms, in Cambodia for a break, she is kidnapped by a prostitution ring run by one of their former Vietnam brother-in-arms Johnny Burke (Vernon Wells), who has fallen off the deep end into a kidnapping pimp and psychopath. Max and Angela's brother soon set out on a rescue mission to Cambodia to save Angela.
I have to be honest, I loved this. It was a blast from start to finish and I loved every minute of it. Not because it's a great film, but because it was so damn entertaining for all the wrong reasons; first and foremost because of the fact that this is essentially just a Commando ripoff. It seriously is. Only Max is heading to Cambodia to rescue his wife, not his daughter. Hell, Vernon Wells literally just reprises his role of Bennett from Commando, playing him to a "T". He just looks different, this time sporting a blonde mullet and skeezy beard and going by the name of Burke. But he's literally playing the same exact role. If you closed your eyes, you'd swear you were listening to Commando. Burke (Wells), acting as the main muscle man (again), even works under the big boss, a local kingpin, just as Bennett did in Commando. And the similarities to Commando don't end there either. There's even a knife-fight between Max and Burke similar to the one in the end of Commando between Matrix and Bennett. And there's a moment where Max is running past a row of windows during the end battle as they are being shot at in succession, just the way Matrix did in Commando.
|Asher Brauner kicking ass and taking names|
|Vernon Wells unintentionally reprising his role of Bennett|
|Say hello to my little friend!|
You really can't go wrong with this one if you're looking for a good time in the Low-Budget 80's Action department. It's cheesy, full of action, nearly plays on the original Commando storyline beat for beat, and it's a blast watching Vernon Wells play a different character, but at the same time also playing the same character of Bennett. It's weird. Oh, and Asher Brauner is a hoot. Honestly, he's a fascinating character. His unusual "acting" style, his line delivery, his machismo script; it's all drenched in over-the-top 80's excess and it's glorious. I will say that the first half is a bit slow and sometimes confusing. He's trying to be clever by only hinting at things for a while before it all comes together in the second half. But it's fine, because we get to see unnecessary steamy showers with his wife and a trip to the zoo with his family, because deep down inside he's really a family man. Only we don't ever see his son again after that, which is bizarre. Though there's little action in the first half, the seriously corny melodrama is entertaining enough and holds you through until the second half kicks in, where all hell breaks loose, and it's a blast.
|Matrix and Bennett, eerr, I mean Max and Burke|