Plot: John Hamilton (Michael Dudikoff) is a first class adventurer, afraid of no terrain or dangerous locale. His latest assignment is to travel the Amazon, guiding a small group of people in search of a lost city. The rumors of a Nazi doctor exiled in the deep reaches of the jungle are of great interest, especially since some of the locals have been getting sick from an unknown disease. Hamilton has braved some crazy places before, but this trek might be his most dangerous one to date. The trip seems cursed from the start, with the group harassed by savage natives, but Hamilton engineers a clever escape and they’re right back on track. But that is just the first hurdle, as the river is also home to river pirates with impressive firepower and even cannibals who would gladly add Hamilton’s handsome face to their shrunken head collection. Does the lost city exist and if so, what dark secrets await our intrepid adventurers?
Entertainment Value: River of Death is such a fun, 80s drenched action/adventure movie, I’m not sure why it has such a low profile. Michael Dudikoff stars as a general bad ass who guides a group up the Amazon, searching for a lost city and some answers to a disease outbreak. I am a big fan of Dudikoff and he is great in this one, playing an abrasive prick instead of a noble, kind action hero. Watching him snap on people, call out people’s bullshit, and just be such an asshole is a lot of fun, since it is so far removed from his usual roles. He’s also like Indiana Jones meet MacGyver at times, but more hard core than both of them combined. The cast also has Donald Pleasance, Robert Vaughn, and L.Q. Jones, among others. This has all kinds of adventure fun, from explosions to savage natives to cannibals to river pirates to Nazis to action set pieces, just a fun ride all around. I had a lot of fun River of Death and I’d recommend it to fans of action movies and especially 80s action/adventure pictures.
One blink and you’ll miss it topless shot, but that’s all the nakedness. Not a lot of blood either, but there are some splashy gun shot wounds. Some of these shots produce some nice gushes of crimson, which is what we like to see. So a little more blood than usual for this kind of movie, but not a flood of the red stuff. The dialogue is pretty rich here, with Dudikoff’s smart ass comments earning the lion’s share of spotlight. As I talked about before, it is hilarious to watch him be such a bastard here and he really makes the most of the abrasive role. Just a blast to watch. Some of the others have some sharp barbs as well, but Dudikoff reigns supreme in this one. In terms of craziness, Dudikoff’s off the rails attitude scores some points, as well as a nice twist at the end and a general dose of 80s nostalgia. This is within the usual action movie boundaries for the most part, but it is just so mean spirited and I love that aspect of River of Death.
Overall Insanity: 3/10