Story: An elite squad of commandos was dispatched to an enemy compound with a mission to sabotage the base’s depot, no matter what the cost. Colonel Radek (Christopher Connelly) tires of watching the clock tick down without results and decides to detonate the explosives, despite the commandos being still on the move. After a disastrous turn of events, only Sargent Ransom (Reb Brown) remains alive and he ends up taken in by a remote village, where he is accepted and tended to. Ransom befriends many of the villagers, including a young man he promises to take back to the U.S., but the good times soon come to an end. The enemy forces descend upon the village, with brute Jakoda (Alex Vitale) leading the invasion. Once again, Ransom escapes with his life, but the villagers weren’t as lucky. When Ransom learns about Radek’s betrayal, he sets his sights on vengeance against all those who have wronged him. But as he returns to the dangerous jungles to settle the score, can even a lunatic like Ransom somehow take on an entire enemy force and the backstabbers from his own side?
Entertainment Value: Who needs Rambo when you have Reb Brown? Strike Commando is a shameless knockoff and with Bruno Mattei at the helm, that is no surprise. And rest assured that while Mattei shoplifts some threads, before long Strike Commando is its own beast, an over the top, balls to the wall action b movie. I think it stands on its own as an action spectacle and the last half of the movie is pure bananas, including a couple scenes that had me rewind to make sure I had just witnessed what I thought. The narrative narrows to a revenge angle and Brown is immense fun to watch in that respect. He shouts “JAKODA!” with the kind of action hero passion that melts hearts, while his overall performance shifts from wooden to over the top in a flash. I think he handles the action scenes well and while not a master thespian, he covers the material well here and if nothing else, is always fun to watch in Strike Commando, for one reason or another. Aside from one brief, slower stretch after a wild opening sequence, the pace remains brisk and the action is dense throughout. So while the budget wasn’t massive, no expense was spared on the set pieces, which are frequent and effective. I have to mention the scene where Reb charges in a straight line toward a horde of enemies with weapons, a sequence that sums up Strike Commando’s approach well. I think this movie is pure 80s action bliss and I’d recommend it to both action fans and cult cinema lovers.
No nakedness. There isn’t a romance angle at work in Strike Commando, so no surprise that the sleaze quotient is non existent. In truth, there isn’t much time to devote to side threads and in this case, sticking with action over action was probably the right approach. The blood scale is low, just some light splashes of blood in some of the shootouts, though there is a bombastic exploding person scene that rocks. While blood is minimal, action is nearly non stop and the second half is just packed with wild stunts & set pieces. A wealth of shootouts unfold and can be quite hilarious, with some of the least believable deaths you’ll see. The enemy soldiers fall down in unison as if part of a synched dance routine, a true bullet ballet, if you will. You can also watch a slow motion mortar party, a wild prison escape, an opening sequence that sets up the action pace to follow, and just an overload of various action elements that never seem to end here. The dialogue holds some true gems, including a scene where Reb Brown comforts a dying child with an awkward, ham handed speech about Disneyland. Brown does a lot of yelling, often at JAKODA! and his performance ensures that even normal lines can be humorous to watch. So expect tough guy talk and some surreal, offbeat lines mixed in for good measure. As for the insanity scale, Brown’s performance, the barrage of action scenes, the weird characters, extreme sweating, waterfall hijinks, stroking of a microphone, the fact that someone named Ransom gets kidnapped, and two scenes toward the finale that absolutely boggle the mind all combine to move the needle more than a little here.
Overall Insanity: 6/10
The Disc: Severin Films’ release of Strike Commando offers both the theatrical cut and the extended version, with about ten minutes of additional footage returned to the picture. The transfer here is a new 2k scan sourced from the original negative and as usual for Severin, the movie looks excellent. This might be a low rent action knockoff, but it looks polished and crystal clear in this treatment. I knew the movie would be given a terrific new transfer for this edition, but those expectations were surpassed. All the lush greens of the jungles come to life and detail is much more crisp than I expected. The extras includes interviews with genre favorites Claudio Fragasso and Rossella Drudi, an in production promo reel, and the film’s trailer.