A Movie A Day #136: Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985, directed by Lance Hool)

Goddamn, dude.  Chuck Fucking Norris.  Even when the movie is terrible, Chuck is cool.

That is especially relevant when it comes to a movie like Missing In Action 2: The Beginning.  Produced by Cannon Films and shot back-to-back with the first Missing in Action, The Beginning was supposed to come out first.  However, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus took a look at the two movies and realized that The Beginning would work better as the 2nd film in the series.  They were right though some post-production tinkering did lead to some serious errors in continuity.

(Not that anyone watching a Golan/Globus production would be worrying about continuity.)

Did you ever wonder how James Braddock (Chuck Norris) became a POW in the first place?  No?  Missing In Action 2 is going to show you how it happened anyway.  It turns out that he and his men were captured, in 1972, by the Viet Cong when their helicopter crashed into a lake.  At the start of the movie, Chuck only has a mustache.  If Chuck had been fully bearded, there is no way the VC could have captured him.  After Chuck and his men have spent ten years in a jungle prison, where they are forced to pick poppies for a French heroin drug lord, Chuck has grown a full beard and is finally strong enough to escape from the prison, rescue his men, and defeat the sadistic camp commandant (Soon-Tek Oh) in hand-to-hand combat.  None of it is surprising but there’s enough weird stuff, like the prostitutes that the French drug dealer flies into the camp and the Australian journalist who shows up out of nowhere and is executed ten minutes later, to keep it interesting.  Chuck is as stiff as always but he’s good in the action scenes and gets to show off some sweet karate moves towards the end of the movie.  Supposedly, Chuck viewed the Missing in Action films as a tribute to his brother, Wieland, who was killed in Vietnam.

The continuity error has to do with the amount of time that Braddock and his men spend in the camp.  After Chuck is captured in 1972, the film inserts some footage of Ronald Reagan giving a speech about the men who never returned from Vietnam.  A narrator says that the Americans are still wondering what happened to the thousands of soldiers who were reported as being MIA in Vietnam.  The implication is that Chuck and company spent ten years in the POW Camp, which means that they escaped in 1982.  Since it is said, in Missing in Action, that it has been ten years since Chuck escaped, that means that Missing in Action actually took place in 1992.  But if Chuck and the boys escaped and returned to America in 1982 then why, in 1992, was everyone so convinced that all the POWs were released immediately after the Vietnam War?

Fortunately, Chuck Norris is so cool that it doesn’t matter what year it is.

Chuck Norris, man.

Chuck Fucking Norris.

Let’s Go to the Drive-In with Charles Bronson in BREAKOUT (Columbia 1975)

cracked rear viewer

Charles Bronson  finally achieved superstar status in the 1970’s after years of toiling in supporting parts thanks to drive-in fare like THE MECHANIC, MR. MAJESTYK, and the DEATH WISH films. 1975’s BREAKOUT had a bigger budget, a better than average cast, and major studio support, but at it’s heart it’s still a drive-in movie, albeit a cut above the usual action flick.

Bronson casts aside his normal stoic, stone-faced screen persona as Nick Colton, a somewhat shady pilot/mercenary who’ll do anything for a buck. Charlie’s quite a charmer here, displaying a sense a humor and talking a lot more than usual. He’s in rare form, getting to display his acting chops, honed through over two decades in the business, and is obviously having a good time in the role.

Nick is hired by Ann Wagner to rescue  her husband Jay, framed by his own grandfather and sentenced to a ruthless Mexican pennitentary…

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Music Video of the Day: A View To A Kill by Duran Duran (1985, dir. Godley & Creme)

That turned out to be longer and more of a rollercoaster for my mind and body than I expected. After all the side effects of the meds and the subsequent withdrawals, it didn’t help the chronic cough. On the plus side, I now own a second dog named Elke. Whether she’s named after Elke Sommer or not, we don’t know. Regardless, since Lisa was kind enough to cover for me, it means I need to watch Lisa And The Devil (1973) with Elke Sommer. On the downside, I watched 70 films since my last post, which means I will have more stuff to sift through at the end of the year. Oh, well.

Rest in peace, Roger Moore.

To my knowledge this is the only music video that has Roger Moore in it–even if it is only in footage from the film. Speaking of which, you will notice two things immediately when you start up this music video:

  1. It is silent for a little over a minute.
  2. The video quality isn’t very good.

At first I thought my iPhone was glitching on me. It’s not like the iOS YouTube app is perfect or anything. I scrubbed forward, and the song kicked in. I didn’t notice the video quality was low until now. I have a theory about why it is silent during the opening film footage and is of low quality throughout.

This isn’t like Romancing The Stone by Eddy Grant. Yes, they tried to integrate him into the footage from the movie, but it’s easy to edit that out, and they did just that for a separate version of it. This video heavily integrates the film footage into the music video. You really can’t separate them, and expect to be able to put this up. My best guess, is that behind-the-scenes, a deal was struck that so long as they muted the opening part and reduced the quality, then whoever currently holds the license to the film would let them post it. Also, seeing as directors Godley & Creme integrated Duran Duran into the movie footage, you also couldn’t treat them differently. Thus, the whole thing is the way it is. That’s my theory.

If you pay attention to the music video, then you might notice a little Easter Egg in it. That of course being the female model having pictures taken of her. You guessed it. Godley & Creme directed the music video for Girls On Film.

In addition, you can say that the use of iris shots is a nod to Rio, and visually makes Duran Duran perfect to have made a Bond theme song. Finally, the name Simon Le Bon not only lends itself to being a stand-in for the famous “Bond, James Bond” line, but Roger Moore played Simon Templar on The Saint before becoming James Bond.

Wikipedia has an interesting backstory on how the band and John Barry worked together to write the song. I suggest going over there and reading it.

Lexi Godfrey produced the video.

I’m sorry it took till your death, Roger. But I need to go see how you managed to be in a movie called Gold (1974), the same year as you were in The Man With The Golden Gun (1974)–if for no other reason, than it being my favorite Bond film

Wait a second, you also played both Sherlock Holmes in 1976 and Inspector Clouseau in 1983. You sneaky devil. I’ll miss you.