Saturday, 25 November 2017

AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS (Italy 1989)

Ex-rental VHS / Norway / English dub / Norwegian subs / cut status?
Hi res scan courtesy of VHS Wasteland

aka WARBUS 2 / WARBUS II / THE LAST WARBUS / WAR BUS COMMANDO / AFGHANISTAN CONNECTION 

Directed by: Pierluigi Ciriaci (as Frank Valenti)
Note: the Danish VHS cover clearly lists "Ted Kaplan" (aka Ferdinando Baldi) as the director on the front of the cover but this is clearly not right.

Cast (from the print): Mark Gregory, John Vernon, Svina Gersak, Antony Freeman, Bobby Rhodes, Branko Djuric


Sell-thru VHS / Denmark / fullscreen / English dub / Danish subs / uncut



Yesterday, Don Gordon Bell commented on my post about the original film WAR BUS that Ferdinando Baldi directed (as "Ted Kaplan") in the Philippines in '85 and that Don starred in. WAR BUS is good fun and very entertaining. I knew I'd had a Danish sell-thru VHS tape of a film that the cover calls "Warbus 2" sitting on my shelf for a really long time. And since I'm going to update my 9 year old post about the original film anyway, I figured it was as good a time as any to watch this sequel. Or rather the film that my Danish video tape sold off as a sequel to Baldi's original film anyway. Hell, the blogs I checked out before watching the film also refer to it as somewhat of a sequel, either in retitle or as an unofficial follow-up. After having watched the film I think I can tell you with 100% ... no, change that to 300% ... certainty that this is a sequel in distribution retitle only! Haha.


The good people over at Blood Brothers Reviews blog state in their review that the film was released in Italy as "Warbus 2". But I've checked various Italian web sites and it seems the film was actually released in Italy under the English language title of AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS. The onscreen title on my VHS also carries this title (notice it does spell Afganistan without a H). However, the Italian sites also include "L'ultimo bus di guerra" in brackets after the title. I reckon this is just a translation by the Italian sites (and maybe even provided the film studio) to explain to non English speaking Italians what the title means. The fact that the IMDb also includes this Italian translated title as though it's part of the title doesn't mean much to me. It's just a translation of the title, not actually part of the title. I think most of you have figured out by now that the bloody IMDb is as reliable as a wet piece of spaghetti for bungee jumping. They also call it an Italian/American coproduction for crying out loud, simply because there's an American (John Vernon) in the film.

Mark Gregory plays Johnny Hondo, a Green Beret who's sent to outskirt places to rescue American prisoners of what ever local conflict they've gotten themselves into. He's just returned to the US after one such mission (that kicked off the film so we had something to look at while the intro credits ran). Upon his arrival home he's told his dad is in hospital. On his death bed Johnny's father, a high ranking US soldier, tells his son that soon he'll be asked to go on a mission and that it's an impossible mission. In other words, Papa Hondo tells his son to commit suicide just in order to save Hondo Senior's reputation. Great dad, huh!

Anyhoo, Johnny hooks up with the army guy who's played by John Vernon and he informs Johnny that 9 years earlier his father was in Afghanistan when the Russians invaded the country and things began to heat up. Hondo Sr. got hold of some mucho importanto papers that the American government would like to get their hands on. But he had to leave them behind, hidden in ... a school bus. Now it's Hondo Jnr.'s job to go in, get the papers, and get out again.

The rest of the film is said trip to downtown war torn Afghanistan. Somewhere along the line Johnny Hondo befriends a local teenager and saves two American POW's. They find the school bus and although it's a slow moving motherfucker they decide to use it to transport them back to civilisation. And nothing can stop this old heap of junk; not Russian army helicopters, tanks, machine guns, bazookas, fire, hand-grenades, foul language, nothing!!! One of the two POW's is played by Bobby Rhodes who you'll recognised if you're into horror films; he was the black pimp in Lamberto Bava's DEMONS!


AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS is written off by most blogs as pretty shitty. The three reviews on IMDb all write it off as drek as well. And no, it's not great by anybody's standards but I must admit I was entertained (but then again I'm entertained by poking sleeping dogs with a stick). Most of the problem is basically ... Mark Gregory. He's got as much personality as the tin of chopped tomatoes that I'm going to use for my dinner tonight. He would have been perfect as cyborg in Italian post-apocalypse movies. Mark Gregory makes Steven Seagal look like Robert de Niro. But even so, he's actually been in quite a few cool Italian genre flicks; 1990: THE BRONX WARRIORS, ESCAPE FROM THE BRONX, THUNDER 1-3 (aka Thunder Warrior 1-3), JUST A DAMNED SOLDIER, DELTA FORCE COMMANDO, TEN ZAN - ULTIMATE MISSION.

Also, another problem is they dubbed John Vernon. Vernon has that there special voice of his - and they fucking dubbed him. What were they thinking! The best actor in the film is actually Bobby Rhodes. In addition to DEMONS and DEMONS 2 he has been in heaps of Italian genre movies and he's still working in the business.

The plot was most likely written on the back of a matchstick box and they couldn't read half of it cos the box caught fire. This film isn't gonna be on anybody's favourite film list anywhere in the world. Even some kid who's only got this one tape in his collection and who lives on a deserted island isn't gonna hold it as his fave film. I'm not exaggerating. Earlier I talked about how it's not a sequel but if you must count it as a sequel to WAR BUS it actually becomes even worse because the first film is a masterpiece in comparison. The reviewer on Blood Brothers Review blog pointed out that AFGANISTAN - THE LAST WAR BUS was one of the very last Italian "Macaroni Combat" films and yeah you can sorta see how this RAMBO rip-off genre had run its course by the end of the 80s. It had a good run though. Unfortunately, the only place Warbus 2 is going to be remembered as a classic is in Bizarro World.



Wednesday, 27 September 2017

DEADRINGER (Philippines, 1985)

aka LASER FORCE / KOMMANDO DOBBELGĂ„NGER

Directed by Teddy Page


Guest reviewer: Kurt Nyfors
 
I decided to dig out this old tape and have a look at some Filipino action. It stars a Max Thayer, that hasn't been to the gym for a while, and whole lot of Filipino action regulars like Mike Monty, Nick Nicholson, Mike Cohen etc. My absolute favourite character is the karate hotel clerk played by Willy Schober.

Right from the start it's evident that Max Thayer isn't liked in the Philippines, they try to shoot him, they try to knife him, they try to beat him, run him over - you name it.
This movie feels a bit like Teddy Page made it during lunch breaks and weekends. We get a lot of fights that imo looks quite goofy, almost like the guys are tired. Don't get me wrong, the movie is a hoot and highly entertaining.

The gangsters and henchmen also seem to be quite dumb. Just hide behind a bush and you're safe. Though our heroine underestimates them a little and gets caught. She stops her boat and crouches down behind the seats and hope they won't see her. Ok, they might be dumb but not t-h-a-t dumb.
The boat chase leading up to all this is a classic. It looks quite slow for starters. Then the gangsters take another route in order to cut her off, which doesn't work but after that they seem to be able to catch her anyway. So then they naturally start shooting at her with a grenade launcher. But now she's able to shake them off...

There's plenty of awkward moments. Like when Max Thayer walks in and wakes up Max Thayer. No, that's not a typo.
And when Max Thayer's laser (?) weapon suddenly appears. I also have to mention the waitress (owner?) that says she likes to see customers in her restaurant. And that she used to have a burger stand (or something like that), but her husband was so jealous that she started to work in a restaurant. Thanks for letting us know...

I occasionally got the feeling they weren't always using the same script, if there was one. Perhaps it was suppose to be about a super weapon. But then changed their minds, but decided to keep the laser(?) in the movie. Page has often super weapons in his movies, Harrison had a awesome weapon in Blood Debts, Robert Marius had one in War Without End etc.

Did they dub at least some of the guys? It sounds like Mike Monty has a sore throat. And did he dub some of Thayer's dialogue?

I can't help but wonder why this movie isn't better known. How could you not love it, it's just so entertaining.

------------------------------------


Jack's comment: I'm not aware of any DVD or blu-ray release of this film but there's a laserdisc form Hong Kong! (English lingo, Chinese subs). Also on VHS in Japan (pictured) and there are versions dubbed into French and German and possibly other funny languages. My own VHS (in English) comes courtesy of Holland.

ALSO, check this highly entertaining interview with NICK NICHOLSON about the shooting of DEADRINGER on ANDREW LEAVOLD's blog. It's amazing that half of the actors didn't die on the set!!! 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

THE LAST HUNTER - trailer

aka L'ultimo Cacciatore
Director: Antonio Margheriti (Italy/Philippines 1980)


Letterboxed Danish trailer off an old Danish ex-rental VHS. Thanks to Diabolik for the original upload (this is a reupload).

Saturday, 25 February 2017

THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA (Ph, 1985) [REVIEW]

Original Filipino English title: The Sangley Point Robbery
aka American High Commando


VHS / Greece / fullscreen / English dub / Greek subs / uncut afaik 
300 dpi hi-res scan

Directed by: Manuel 'Fyke' Cinco
Philippines 1985

I'm not even sure if I should post this review on my When the Vietnam War Raged... in the Philippines blog or on my Backyard Asia blog! Hell, maybe I'll do both!

The thing is, the latter is a blog about wild and crazy Asian films and the first is dedicated to Vietnam War flicks made in the Philippines. And Manuel "Fyke" Cinco's THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA is part Vietnam War flick - kinda without actually being a Vietnam War flick - and part wild and crazy Asian movie!

Most of these Filipino Vietnam War films are filmed in the Philippines but they're set in the Vietnam War which took place in, well, Vietnam, obviously. But this film, while it does take place during the Vietnam War, and while it does star an soldier who's just been fighting in the Viet Cong, the film is actually set in the Philippines! And lots of wild and crazy stuff take place! But, hey, it's been a long while since I wrote my last review of a Filipino Vietnam War movie and I'm stalling. Grab your beer and let's get going with the plot.

1971. An American soldier in Vietnam is captured and tortured by the Viet Cong. The soldier is played by a gwilo called James Acheson that I've never seen in any other film but who, according to the bloody IMDb, was also in the Vietnam War movie P.O.W. THE ESCAPE from 1986. The Viet Cong's got his girlfriend and they're going, "If you don't tell us what we want to know we're gonna off yer girlfriend". The soldier knows bloody well he's out of luck so he goes, "Fuck you and fuck the horse you rode in on". Fortunately, his mates arrive just in time to save him and kill the Viet Cong. Unfortunately, they've already off'ed his gf. After this he's a mental wreck and the army send him to a US base in the Philippines.


In the Philippines Rudy Fernandez plays a cop who kills a bad dude in the line of duty and decides to the force as a result. The bad dude's brother is obviously pissed off and asks one of his henchmen to off the cop but the henchman dude misses his mark and shoots the cop's dad instead. The cop, who's really a good law-abiding feller, then decides to participate in a bank robbery in order to pay for his dad's operation. He's got a wife and a girlfriend and neither of them are happy about the situation (!).

The ex cop and his posse of misfits plan to hit the American bank at the army base (!!) and needless to say it all goes terribly wrong. In the middle of the robbery a ton of American soldiers start shooting at them (what did they expect!), and the American solder who returned from Nam, his gf works at the bank and the ex cop and his gang kidnap her to use as a shield. They let her go soon enough but it still leaves her completely traumatised (quite funny actually, earlier on in the film she said to the soldier, who had experienced heinous things in Vietnam and had seen his ex girlfriend get killed in front of him, "you gotta leave all this behind and move on". Well, obviously she didn't handle being kidnapped for half an hour too well as she ends up traumatised in a wheelchair!). The ex Nam soldier decides to go on a revenge spree and starts to hunt down the cop and his mates one by one.


This is a quick run down of the plot and there's a lot that I'm omitting. THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA is a wild and obscure film - but also slow in places and talkative. Obscure because the film doesn't stay in just one genre. It's part Vietnam War movie, part cop flick, part vigilante film, and it's part ... crazy Asian. It's not least obscure because we've actually got two main characters, the ex Vietnam soldier turned vigilante - and the ex cop turned bank robber. Neither of them are bad and as a viewer we feel for both of them. It's a dilemma and makes for a different and captivating storytelling in a genre that, despite being entertaining, is often more straight forward than straight forward.

In addition to  Rudy Fernandez I also noticed a few other well known faces, Nick Nicholson, David Light, and a few more. You can check the complete credits list on Andrew Leavold's blog.

Highly recommended.


VERSION REVIEWED: Greek ex-rental VHS. Fullscreen, English dub, Greek subtitles, good picture quality.



Alright, pack up yer gear, let's get back into the jungle!

Hey there! 

It's been a while. Everything goes in circles - I'm not talking 'bout riding your bike. I'm being philosophical here. Yeah, philosophical on a site about trashy Nam war B-movies. Can you imagine. Everything in life goes in circles and that includes hobbies. Sometimes your hobby lasts for a year or two, or ten years, but at some point it goes into a standstill of sorts. When that happens to some people, usually when they're younger, they sell off their collection or simply chuck it in the bin. I realised long ago that often you'll regain your interest in whatever hobby you got bored with, and when that happens you'll be pissed off, kicking yourself in the head, and calling yourself a cunt and a motherfucker for having let your collection go. I've seen it happen to comic book collectors, film collectors and record collectors. They usually go, "Arr man, why did I get rid of all my shit - and I didn't even get any money out of it!" Haha. Well, enough babble, I've just watched my first Filipino Vietnam War flick for a really long time and here's a review. Hope you'll enjoy it. Welcome back! 

/Jack


Sunday, 12 April 2015

KILL ZONE (USA/Philippines, 1991) [capsule review]

Directed by Cirio H. Santiago

reg. 1 DVD
I watched Cirio H. Santiago's KILL ZONE last night. Now, I love Santiago's movies and that's just how it is. LOL. Good thing too at least in regards to this film cos, well, to tell you the truth it's an alright film but not a masterpiece by anybody's standards. The first 70 minutes were alright...ish, nothing too exciting, but the last 10 minutes. Man, those last ten minutes!!

Anyhoo, a quick plot description: The war in Vietnam is raging. Heaps and heaps of US soldiers are being killed all the time. Too, too many according to colonel whatshisface played by David Carradine. The problem: the Vietcong are on the other side of the border, in Cambodia and needless to say colonel Carradine's superiors won't let him send troops into Cambodia. Well, Carradine is a renegade colonel so he does it anyway. For the longest time we the viewers think he's cool for doing so but then... we get to the last ten minutes. And those ten minutes are totally bonkers. If the first 70 minutes were so-so the last ten minutes are worth the entry fee alone!

There's a bunch of well known faces in the film apart from Carradine; Nick Nicholson, Ken Metcalfe, Jim Moss, etc. And someone called Vivian Velez is in it as well and I've just discovered she was in a Filipino-US horror film called BLACK MAMBA from 1974, a film that also has John Ashley and Rosemari Gil in it. Why didn't I know about this film!!!

KILL ZONE is one of the few Filipino Vietnam war flicks that has actually been given a fairly decent release on DVD. It's out form Roger Corman's New Concorde. The film is presented fullscreen and there's no subs. The extras consist of a trailer for the film and trailers for EYE OF THE EAGLE 1 & 2 and one other film (I forget which one).

Entertaining enough for its 81 minute duration but not ranking at the top of the genre.
(Jack J)

TRAILER:



VHS (Japan)


Credits:

Cast (copied from IMDb):
David Carradine ... Col. Horace Wiggins
Tony Dorsett ... Sheriff
Rob Youngblood ... Capt. Jeff Holland
Vic Trevino ... Lt. Lazaro
James Gregory Paolleli ... Ropes
Geno Bolda ... Bloomquist
Jim Moss ... Lewandowski
Francis Evaristo ... ASP
Richard White ... Medic
Vivian Velez ... Waranya
Cesar Villanueva ... Lam
Ronald Asinas ... Sgt. Park
Ken Metcalfe ... Gen. Walter O'Neal
Ned Hourani ... Adjutant
Archie Adamos ... ARVN Capt. Tan Sau Thuy
Eddie Gaerlan ... Soldier
Roxanne Silverio ... Dien Loc
Bob Larson ... Intelligence Manager
Steve Rogers ... Officer #1
Nick Nicholson ... Corporal / Radio Squawk
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robert Ginnivan ... Helicopter Gunner (uncredited)
Philip Gordon ... VC Commander (uncredited)


Sunday, 20 July 2014

THE VIOLENT BREED - trailer


Portuguese dubbed trailer (not sure if it's a Portuguese or Brazilian trailer)

Original title: Razza Violenta
Directed by Fernando Di Leo (Italy, 1982)

Thanks for the heads-up on the trailer to Vittorio Marcelli.


UPDATE:  the mighty powers at YouTube deleted the video at their site because of "third-party notifications of copyright infringement". It's bollocks!! Whoever notified YT most likely DOESN'T have the copyrights to this OLD Portuguese dubbed trailer. Besides, a trailer is an advert for a film, why the fuck do they even spend so much time on having trailers deleted. Full films I can understand but deleting trailers is just plain daft. Anyhoo, here it is again, uploaded via Blogger (which, ironically enough, is also now YouTube, haha).

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Lost in action somewhere in a long forgotten jungle hell...

Alright, maybe not actually lost in action but I'm sure you've noticed the absence of my presence anyhow. I've been doing blogs for the past 6 years and before that print fanzines for much longer - and I feel a bit tired. So it's time to take a break. No need to worry, mate, this isn't the end but as I said a break. I've already shut down my other blogs and this here is the last one to go on stand-by. Do people even read blogs any more? There was certainly more interaction in the early days. But then again I never did When the Vietnam War Raged... in the Philippines for the sake of interaction but simply to cover a category of films that hardly nobody covered. Anyhoo, thanks to everyone who's helped me along the way. Be seeing you.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Shopping tip #2: DESTROYERS + FIREBIRD CONSPIRACY

And yet another spiffy tip for ya: Jun Gallardo's FIREBIRD CONSPIRACY and Cirio H. Santiago's THE DESTROYERS (aka The Devastator) are up for auction from Kurt Nyfors in Finland. Both are on VHS in the PAL system and both carry the original English audio with local subtitles. The auctions run for another 17 hrs.



NB: I'm not the seller nor do I profit from the auctions.

Shopping tip: CANNIBAL MERCENARY REDUX VHS

Some months back I talked about the then new bootleg NTSC VHS release of a fan edit of the old gore cult classic CANNIBAL MERCENARY. Only 40 copies were made for purchase (plus a number of copies made for whoever helped with the release). One of the tapes has now made it to eBay so here's your chance to get this fan edit - if you live in the United States that is!!! The seller very clearly points out that he does NOT want to ship outside the US except for Canada. A pity really as I would have liked to make a bid for the tape myself (I never received a copy. I'm told it got lost in the mail, and a second copy never arrived either. What happened to them I have no idea. Maybe there's some happy thieving postal workers out there. Oh well). If you wanna make a go for it you have four days. Go here. Current bid is 15 dollars.

EDIT: final bid was $34.


NB: I'm not the seller nor do I profit from the auction.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

ROLF - THE LAST MERCENARY - trailer





Thanks to Cristian S from raroVHS for uploading this Argentine trailer for ROLF.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Bruce Baron dies

Sad news: Bruce Baron passed away on April 14, 2013.

The news was confirmed to RĂ©gis Autran of Nanarland by Baron's widow. Bruce Baron had cancer. According to his wife, Bruce Baron prepared his own obituary that has been posted on his facebook profile. However, it's only for friends so I'm not even able to refer to the contents as I'm not on that list. Baron was in some of the Filipino films that this site deal with but also other well known cult films. He was in Tsui Hark's amazing DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE. Nanarland did a good interview with him (it's on their site in both French and English). For more info on Bruce Baron check Wiki here and the Nanarland interview here.

Here's Bruce Baron on the cover of the Danish (i.e. from Denmark) vhs for DON'T PLAY WITH FIRE (courtesy of DEVAG fb page).



Introduction to Nanarland's piece on Bruce Baron:
Bruce Baron was a riddle for us during a long time : this Caucasian actor appeared during the eighties in a great number of Asian B-movies, managing to act in some of the most utterly insane flicks ever. Lead actor of Philippines-made Ramboid actioners, mustachioed ninja in Godfrey Ho's bottom-of-the-barrel films, barbarian from beyond in Ruggero Deodato's "Atlantis interceptors", slimy drug smuggler in "Overdose" made by French schlockmeister Jean-Marie Pallardy, Bruce had the most bizarre career before disappearing from the screens in 1989. The most contradictory legends ran amok on the internet : one site described him as a British-born martial artist, another mentioned his death in Sweden from an overdose of diet products... We knew nothing about him, except that he was still alive, judging from the angry e-mails he sent to websites relaying the legend of his death.

We were of course flabbergasted and overjoyed when a French-speaking Bruce Porter Baron wrote us to fill the gaps the bio we had written about him! With biting humour, Bruce gave us some truly fascinating and unheard-of infos about his career as a Caucasian actor in Asia and the world of Oriental B-movies. And there it is, ladies and gentlemen, the ultimate Bruce Baron interview, exclusive full and uncut!

[read the rest via this link]


Monday, 22 April 2013

Rare CANNIBAL MERCENARY sequel on eBay

If you've followed this blog a while you'll know I've been on the hunt for the RARE (as in totally uber rare!!) sequel to CANNIBAL MERCENARY (aka Mercenary / Employ For Die) for a couple of years now (if not, check here). The sequel has ONLY been released on a very rare video-cd in Thailand (in Thai language without subtitles).

A while back I was so fortunate as to find the the POSTER for the film by total chance at an eBay auction from a seller in Canada. The seller didn't know which film the poster was for and had listed it without the film's title!

However, the film itself has evaded me completely so far. Well, until a few days ago when my red eBay auto search lights started blinking like crazy! A seller in the UK had the VCD up for auction. "Unfortunately", he was fully aware of the rarity of the film/disc and starting price was £30 ($46).

There weren't all that many bids in the days that followed but sadly they quickly got out of my range. I knew of another collector who was interested and sent him a PM about the auction but needless to say he already knew about it. Winning bid came to £56 ($86) and I'm happy to say it was my fellow collector friend who won this rare release. Big congrats, mate.

To see the CANNIBAL MERCENARY 2 poster go here.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

You don't need to be located in a Vietnam jungle hell to be covered in yukky dead flies

Issue #2

When you live in the SOUTH there's always dead flies everywhere. Like, I've only just today received the new issue of Nigel Maskell's fanzine Aenigma! and already one of them nasty creatures has decided to go belly-up on it. So yukky. Better wipe it off onto the floor so I can git inta this new spiffy zine!! Haha.


PS: If you're interested in this wee rag you can find more info on Nigel's facebook page and order from his website. It's cheap. It's old-skool. It's fun. Tell him who sent ya!

NB: The zine covers old horror and sleaze but I should point out there's NO Filipino war flicks in them pages.



Issue #1

Thursday, 14 March 2013

THE SIEGE OF FIREBASE GLORIA - dvd





A little while ago someone left a message here on the blog saying I ought to get hold of a Filippino movie called THE SIEGE OF FIREBASE GLORIA (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1989) and that it was...

"It is the most insane, over the top, gory, kick ass, highest body count, sizable budget, made in the Phillipines Vietnam movie you will ever see."

The film is out on a dvd (dvd-r actually) from MGM in the US; I received my copy today and watched it right away and what can I say but HOLY FUCK!! The anon poster was definitely right! This is such an over-the-top wild, gory and insane film if I ever saw any!!! It's actually an Australian-Filipino co-production filmed in the Philippines. Big-ass American actors are in the lead but we also meet some well known faces from the regular Filipino war flicks; Nick Nicholson has a cool role as a war photographer, and Henry Strzalkowski is in there as well as a helicopter pilot. The two lead roles are played by Wings Hauser and R. Lee Ermey. The film is basically about this almost forgotten American outpost in the Viet Cong backland. They haven't got enough men and there's 2000 Viet Cong ready to run them over. This isn't a review but let me just say this: there isn't one boring moment in THE SIEGE OF FIREBASE GLORIA. You should watch it!




Fan made trailer (actually better than the original trailer, imo):



The original trailer:



TV trailer:




Bikini girls with machine guns

Yep, this video is from the one they're watching in Tarantino's JACKIE BROWN. It's an awesome video; I mean all it is is a bunch of scantly clad sexy babes with automatic guns going: "This is an AK47" pow pow pow pow - Haha. Absolutely fantastic! xD.