One man against a torch-weilding mob a hundred strong! Cornered at his Uncle Jose’s country house where he’s vacationing with his wife and child! And being threatened with being burned at the stake like he was just some common action hero witch!
How can even the Filipino army’s most awesome trick shooter defeat these vile villains? Luckily he doesn’t have to because they’re just the townspeople he pissed off during his one man war against the evil but apparently tolerable Commando Falcon who runs the small town of Santa Lucia!
Classified Operation is a little different than your standard issue anemically budgeted Filipino action movie usually made by the likes of Cirio H. Santiago or Teddy Page. Santiago and Page are clearly aiming at a foreign market (and usually explicitly an American one) with their white leads such as Richard Harrison, Richard Norton and Romano Kristoff and their frequent (and usually hilariously unsuccessful attempts) at passing off their Filipino locations as America. Director/star Rey Malonzo though is just making a straight up Filipino action movie here.
There’s no one who appeals to an international audience, no effort to pretend they aren’t in the Philippines, and as a consequence, seemingly even less money has been allocated to the filming. Thus the action is limited to a lot of Rey as army stud Ramone punching guys over and over. He also shoots people quite a bit as well. Unfortunately, there is a critical shortage of car chases and crashes, few explosions (one hut and a bunch of ground gets blown up), and a variety of generic wilderness locations where guys run around and fall over unconvincingly whenever a poorly dubbed gunshot occurs.
The prologue establishes Ramone as a dedicated and tough soldier as he leads his men on a raid of a rebel camp where some women are being held captive. Everything you need to know about what you are in for is revealed here (especially since the end of the movie was simply a rehash of the first part, but with a different bad guy) from Ramone’s borderline superpowers (he jumps off a cliff doing flips while wacky music plays as he takes out the bad guy) to the decidedly low tech nature of things (the army briefing is given to the soliders on a chalk board). By the time Ramone is summoned back to the city to watch his hospitalized mother die in a scene that borders on parody (her dying wish is that he quit the army), you just can’t wait to see what ultra-cheap shenanigans are next!
A vacation to the country to visit Uncle Jose is what’s next! Ramone’s nagging wife (she wants him to quit the army, too) thinks it will help him forget about his dead mother. And she turns out to be right! As soon as they get to town, Ramone gets into a fight with the local toughs when they push him around for asking where Uncle Jose lives! And really, how could even Jesus himself turn the other cheek when they unleash the epic burn on Ramone that if he wants to know where someone lives to go ask the radio station!
Random nonsensical taunting aside, the local toughs are the cause of even more trouble as they are also Commander Falcon’s henchmen. And while the name Commander Falcon conjures up an image of a fearsome tactition who strikes without mercy using his limitless resources and savage cunning to stay one step ahead of all that is good and honorable in the Philippines, the reality is even more chilling!
He’s a fat sweaty guy in a cave! And not a cave remodeled into a military fortress or mastermind’s lair! Just a regular old dirt and rock cave that you have to use torches to see in! His fetid odor and bat guano-stained pants alone would be enough to keep the townspeople cowering before him!
Ramone doesn’t like that Falcon is forcing townspeople to give him rice so he wages your typical action hero solo crusade against the Falcon’s men. The townspeople who bear the brunt of Falcon’s revenge for Ramone’s anitcs quickly sour on Ramone and force Uncle Jose to promise that Ramone will leave town in 24 hours before he causes any more of them to be killed as retribution for Ramone’s interference.
And to Ramone’s credit, he was going to leave town! It was about time, too because Ramone was quickly becoming an insufferable bore with all his chatter about doing the right thing even though no one who lived in the town cared or wanted his help!
But then a girl who escaped from one of Falcon’s girls-for-guns deals arrives and everyone in the Philippine Army knows what happens when there’s virgins who need rescuing – Ramone (now known derisively in town as Commander .45) is going to run straight into the camp and shoot everyone until all the girls are either free or killed in the crossfire!
Falcon vows to hunt Ramone down and does precisely that – by going over to Uncle Jose’s house where everyone knew he was staying! Ramone is obviously one of those guys whose battle plans are a bit hazy after the “shoot everyone” part.
Or maybe he’s jungle version of the Desert Fox! Because just before being burned alive, he cajoles Falcon into letting him go so they can have a duel like real men! Falcon takes the bait and sets up a weird contest involving six guns lying on the ground in a row, each with only one bullet. I have to believe that at the end of things, the slow motion use of all six of those guns was part of Ramone’s plan all along.
Painfull moments of scenes played straight that only evoke laughter (Ramone’s kid shaming the crooked cop into fighting Falcon, Ramone carrying the still warm corpse of his wife and philosophically observing that if her death taught people to stand up and have courage, it would not have been in vain, Uncle Jose stupidly charging Falcon and his men with just a machete and getting shot down like the slow-witted dog he was) combined with Ramone’s oddball antics (when he decides to go after Falcon, he robotically tells his wife that “this gun in my hand will be the final judge and each bullet will be the sentence” and when he confronts Falcon’s men he twirls and throws his gun in the air from one hand to another) make an otherwise terribly realized junk action movie at least spasmodically deranged enough to not turn off before it finally reaches its silly conclusion.
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