Written by: Carroll Jenkins on December 19th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 1987
Director: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo
Writer: Barry Wong
Cast: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Yuen Biao, Haing S. Ngor, Joyce Godenzi, Chi Chun Ha, Ching-Ying Lam, Melvin Wong, Charlie Chin, Kwok Keung Cheung, Billy Lau, Woo-ping Yuen, Corey Yuen
DVD released: December 30th, 2003
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Cantonese DTS, Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround), English DTS, English (Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround)
DVD Release: 20th Century Fox
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $9.98
Even for non-fans of Hong Kong martial arts movies, this is one of the best Dirty Dozen inspired ‘B’ war/adventure movies along with such classics as The Inglorious Bastards and The Losers. In fact, the martial arts mayhem is rather limited with the action consisting mostly of knives, handguns, machine guns, grenades, etc up until the spectacular conclusion.
The cast is outstanding, with Sammo Hung as the leader of the prisoners, Yuen Biao as a reluctant participant, and Joyce Godenzi (later Mrs. Sammo Hung) quite memorable as the leader in a trio of female underground resistance fighters. As usual, director Sammo shares the spotlight with his rather large cast who get turns at humor, heroics, and/or drama. The humor is amusing and unobtrusive and the dramatics aren’t overly maudlin. The action is varied, always exciting, sometimes shocking, and mostly within the bounds of physical possibility (if not probability).There are a few gentle jabs at the US military, but the Vietnamese are presented as purely evil.
This is one of the first Fox Fortune Star releases. Featuring a stellar anamorphic widescreen picture, the drawbacks are the remixed English and Cantonese soundtracks, the English dub titles, and the interlaced transfer.
Extras include the original release trailer. Fox conceded to fan demand and included original soundtrack options and translation subtitles on later releases just before they [regrettably] ceased production of future titles. This is still a quality presentation of a highly entertaining movie that is generally available at an attractive price.