Strike Commando 2 (1988)

Strike Commando Two Japanese VHS CoverThe first time was for his country! And for his crew of blown up strike commandos! And for that little kid named Lao that he promised he would take to Disneyland where the popcorn grows on trees! This time though…it’s personal! Strike Commando returns with his most vengeance-filled mission ever as he beats the Philippine jungles (standing in for the Nam) looking for his mentor, the man who saved his life back when they were both fighting the Man’s dirty little war!

Major Vic Jenkins has been reported killed, but Strike Commando is told by an old buddy that Vic is really alive and that his death had been faked and he is being held prisoner by the CIA or the KGB or the PTA or someone. Both Strike Commando and my reactions were immediate! Strike Commando immediately went down to the local CIA office to bust some heads while I wondered just who the hell Major Vic Jenkins was.

The director and writer one-two nut punch that was Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso are back from Strike Commando and have a little something extra up their sleeve this time. Not content to let Strike Commando Rebbo rest on his laurels, they invent a whole new slew of traitorous dogs and evil Russians for him to contend with. And there’s also something different about Rebbo this go around. Let me see if I can put my finger on it. Oh, Rebbo isn’t Rebbo anymore! That’s it!

For those of us who were raised on Rebbo, the blonde, affably violent Reb Brown will always be our Strike Commando. For this mission though, Rebbo gets made over into a dark haired, surly brute played by Brent Huff.

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Huffbo had already proven his metal in running around a low budget jungle when he and Tawny Kitaen humiliated themselves for our enjoyment in The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak.

Bruno and Claudio knew that asking Huffbo to carry this picture by himself just wouldn’t be fair to him so they signed up two-time Oscar nominated Richard Harris for the part of Major Vic!

Yes, years before he ran Harry Potter’s school, Albus Dumbledore was running a heroin operation deep in the steamy jungle! Despite Richard looking thoroughly confused as to just what he’s doing in this, inexplicably, this role was not one of the two the Academy would nominate him for!

Normally, any other Italian director would put it on auto-pilot once he secured the services of an actor that normal moviegoers had actually heard of. Not Bruno Mattei!

He dares to ask what if the evil Russian guy in the white ice cream suit employed a bunch of ninjas! And what if Huffbo had to make his escape in a hooker bus that he commandeered! Well, shoot, you’d have me forgetting just who the heck Rebbo ever was!

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All of these antics are precipitated because of Huffbo’s misguided attempt to bust Major Vic out of a CIA safehouse. The next thing we know, we’re getting one of those hostage videotapes where Major Vic is saying that his captors need $10 million in diamonds or they’ll hand him over to the KGB, who will extract all the secrets he knows!

Since Huffbo is the only guy in the room that owes Major Vic his life, he finds himself in the jungle with $10 million worth of diamonds in his fannypack and a mission to bring Major Vic back dead or alive!

The first stop on any search and rescue mission in the jungle is the local watering hole where a fellow can pick up a drink or six and an annoying female companion whom he can bicker with constantly while they get into and out of jams of varying degree. Huffbo meets up with Rosanna, the proprietress of the Moulin Rouge while she’s engaged in a drinking game with one of the natives. First one to belch loses!

Once that’s mercifully over, the white Russian and the ninjas roll in and fight Huffbo and his new gal pal. When she “remembered” to tell Huffbo that she had ten sticks of dynamite under the bar, I was practically rubbing my hands together in giddy anticipation of what was just around the corner. Is there anything more satisfying in cinema than watching cheap, thatched roof dwellings in the wilderness blow up over and over and over?

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Once they get Rosie’s bar blown up, she and Huffbo head off to rescue Major Vic. After this is accomplished, Major Vic gives a half-hearted speech about how the war for Huffbo was still going on inside Huffbo and you’re just thinking, “hurry up and turn traitor so we can get the torture scenes and subsequent bust out and revenge killings under way.”

And once they are under way, the movie kicks into gear with Rosie going undercover as a hooker, Rosie and Huffbo’s escape and their return once Huffbo finds out that Rosie left the diamonds with the trick she killed.

Truly, everything a Strike Commando fan could hope for what with its perfect combination of crabby replacement star, legendary slumming actor, and jungle explosions.

© 2014 MonsterHunter

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