Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Braddock: Missing In Action III

Chuck Norris is back and killing more Viet Cong in the final chapter of Cannon’s MISSING IN ACTION trilogy. U.S. Army colonel and ex-POW James Braddock (Norris) is forced out of the American embassy during the fall of Saigon without his Vietnamese wife Lin (Miki Kim), whom he believes to be dead.

Thirteen years later, Braddock is approached in a Washington, D.C. bar by the Reverend Polanski (Yehuda Efroni), who runs an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City and claims that Lin and his 12-year-old son Van (Roland Harrah III) are alive there. Braddock, shell-shocked by the news, learns the CIA and the State Department will be of no help getting his family out of Vietnam, so, loading up with as many weapons and explosive devices as he can carry, he parachutes into ‘Nam to rescue them, running afoul of evil General Quoc (Aki Aleong) along the way.

The screenplay by Chuck and James Bruner, who penned several Cannon action movies, is more ambitious than the previous MIA entries, fleshing out Braddock’s character somewhat, while also directly addressing the poor living conditions still prevalent in Vietnam. Asking Chuck to stretch as an actor, though, is not a great idea, since he just isn’t up to the task. Firing a roundhouse kick into somebody’s face or blasting helicopters out of the sky with a rocket launcher, Norris is as good as anybody, but he doesn’t carry enough weight as an actor to make the domestic scenes worth caring about.

Don’t get the idea, however, that BRADDOCK is a Merchant/Ivory tearjerker. It’s a solid action movie containing plenty of explosions, car stunts, and bloody squibs, cleanly directed by Chuck’s brother Aaron Norris, a former stuntman making his debut behind the lens. Cannon’s handy production team, including cinematographer Joao Fernandez, composer Jay Chattaway, editor Michael J. Duthie, and executive producers Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, were able to crank these things out efficiently, probably easing Aaron’s workload quite a bit.


Brian Drake said...

The only problem with Missing in Action III is that it creates a continuity error with the other movies. Part One says he escaped "last year" so the escape in part two means he left the camp and flew home. So, Braddock was supposedly in the POW camp during the fall of Saigon, so how could he be there in part three? Other than that it was a decent show.

Cheesiest lines:
Braddock [super serious]: "If I don't get them out, they're going to die."
Slimey CIA guy [extra slimey]: "People die every day."

Grant said...

Aki Aleong is a name I recognize from only two things, a pair of OUTER LIMITS episodes. One is "Expanding Human," which is partly about a fictionalized version of those college LSD experiments, and in his one scene his character describes his trip to someone very poetically. So the idea of him as an action movie villain is kind of amusing.