Jungle Raiders (1985)

JungleRaidersCoverI like a main character in a movie that needs as much action as I do! Too many times we’re saddled with reluctant heroes and guys who only grudgingly go about the business of serious ass kicking.

Where are the dudes who want to take it right to the dirty scum that’s threatening to take over everything that matters to them? Isn’t there anyone willing to risk everything for the simple pleasure of killing Borneo pirates? Aren’t there any two-fisted guys in red neck kerchiefs and sea captain’s hats that don’t mind invading the island stronghold of the evil Tiger single-handedly while time bombs are going off everywhere around him?

Sure there is! Imagine a guy with balls the size of the big boulder that tried to roll over Indiana Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark! That’s Captain Yankee!

To the uninitiated Jungle Raiders and its star, Captain Yankee, may appear to be just another faux Indy flick from Italy. There’s an adventurer in 1930s Malaysia who ends up helping a babe (museum curator Yanez) search for the legendary Ruby Of Gloom while everyone around them tries to steal it and kill them!

You’ve got your close escapes, swinging over lakes of fire on ropes, and even a golden statue that Captain Yankee helps steal for a rich guy while outwitting vicious death traps! And remember how Indy was a pussy about snakes? This movie has snakes, too!

Saying that Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Jungle Raiders are pretty much the same type of movie is like saying the 1927 New York Yankees and the 1962 New York Mets are both baseball teams. Yes, it’s technically accurate, but it doesn’t tell you the whole story.

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You know the golden idol Cap helps steal at the beginning of Jungle Raiders? Just part of a fantasy camp he runs for dimwitted dilettantes! It’s almost like Captain Yankee saw Indiana’s first movie and said, “sure, that’s an adventure – for movie stars who like to play dress up in between Star Wars movies!”

Captain Yankee doesn’t have time to nursemaid wimpy guys with bullwhips and a studiously applied sheen of sweat and stubble though! He’s just been blackmailed into heading off into a cave beneath a volcano by none other than spaghetti western legend Lee Van Cleef!

But not before he gets in a car chase with some pirates while helping out Yanez! Cap’s life is so action-packed he gets started on the secret mission before he’s even on the secret mission! And it’s the sort of action that can be handled only one way! With cuts to fairly convincing miniatures crashing and blowing up!

Italian adventure? Miniature stuff exploding? That can only mean one thing! The Indiana Jones of schlocky Italian action movies is back! Antonio Margheriti, the man behind the camera for the reels of awesome called Yor, the Hunter from the Future and The Ark of the Sun God, puts it all together here, balancing shots of Christopher Connelly (1990: The Bronx Warriors, Cobra Mission) shooting and beating people up with Godzilla-style model destruction!

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If you didn’t get giddy when you saw that the pirates were trying to get a giant oil refinery operational and were holding Cap’s tribal pals hostage there, your brain is probably the sort of bottomless pit of fire that would rather have Sean Connery as some guy’s mouthy dad in a movie rather than Luciano “Alan Collins” Pigozzi as a sidekick named Gin Fizz!

Jungle Raiders features solid tomb-raiding action with Cap squaring off against the mysterious and murderous Guardians as well as avoiding the severed head that the pirates throw his way! He even risks burning his hand trying to snatch the Ruby of Gloom which is protected by fire!

What I liked about Captain Yankee is that he tried about three times to snatch the ruby before he finally decided to just use his gunbelt! Most sissy adventurers would’ve gone to the gunbelt after suffering third degree burns the first time!

What’s particularly awesome about Captain Yankee is that after the Ruby is stolen from him by pirates and the search for lost treasure is finished, he turns it up about thirty notches and hijacks a front end loader, proceeding to demolish the oil refinery with the help of his friends!

At one point during all this, Captain Yankee shouts to Gin Fizz what amounts to Yankee’s personal motto, “don’t just sit there! Blow something up!” Has there even been a hero better than this?

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Yeah, the guy who stomped the leader of the pirates even as the slime pointed a machine gun at him from point blank range, beat him with a chain, and tried to cut him up with a sword while everything exploded around him was also pretty awesome!

Wait! That was Captain Yankee, too? Who else wants some? Bring on the Nazis, the Joker, Ghidorah, and the Borg! All at once!

And remember the snakes? They even help Captain Yankee! There’s a native boy and he can talk to his pet cobra! When the boy is taken hostage, the snake escapes, kills a guard and leads the boy to where the hand grenades are hidden!

Later, a female cobra is spotted and the boy sets his buddy loose so that he can get to work with that forked tongue! And that’s when the Jungle Raiders love theme plays!

Your love theme for Jungle Raiders though will be playing the whole time Captain Yankee is on screen letting everyone know his name was no accident and that other guy ought be named Indiana Mets!

© 2013 MonsterHunter

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