This time all our boys come home! No, really! Even if they got leprosy! Eww! Ickiest POW rescue mission ever! But that makes it even more personal for Straker (Richard Norton) who goes back to the biggest leper colony of them all, Southeast Asia, to bust out all the guys from his crew that never made it back to the States with him when the Vietnam War ended! Why is it more personal? Um, because they’re all freaking lepers! That’s pretty heinous, even by the usual abominably inhumane standards of Charlie!
A lot of you wuss civilians out there would probably look upon a “no chance in hell, government will deny all responsibility if you’re caught” mission behind enemy lines as a pain in the ass.
I’ll tell you though, when you’re living the life and all you know is the Special Forces and it’s like the war never ended for you and every guy you ever loved as a brother is just a memory, getting one of these gigs that allows you to go back to doing what you know best (killing Commies) is kind of like winning the lottery. Especially for guys like Straker!
As the movie begins, Straker comes home one night just in time to see his family held hostage by armed intruders! Proving yet again that he’s a lot more adept at killing than protecting his loved ones, he manages to kill all the bad guys, but his poor non-Special Forces family gets their dumb asses slaughtered!
Even better than that is that during all of this, he’s flashing back to the Nam! You might think that this event will somehow haunt our hero and cause him to go Code Red on Charlie when he inevitably parachutes back into the world’s armpit for some vengeance that’s been 15 years in the making! But if you did, you were obviously never in the Special Forces! It’s just another day at the office for Straker!
It’s a measure of how spectacular Not Another Mistake (U.S. video title: Cross Fire) is that this prologue is basically just a love letter to those of us in the audience mindlessly addicted to scenes of wimpy wives and kids getting wasted right in front of our hero/killing machine’s eyes! Sure, these bonus kills have no real bearing on the plot, but it’s still a great way to kick off your crazy Vietnam Vet movie!
For the next year, Straker turns from being a successful businessman to drinking and spends his free time getting thrown out of crappy bars! We know this thanks to a rather stilted conversation a couple of military guys have while driving around looking in cheap bars for Straker.
They’re in search of Straker because remains have been found back in Nam or Cambodia or whatever country the Philippines is trying to trick us into believing it is, but none of the remains are old enough to be Colonel Harrison or any of the other guys from Straker’s old outfit.
Oh and Straker’s old outfit? Black Thunder. Yeah, I was ready to sign up to go back with Straker when I heard that, too! How can you be a real American and not get the itch to lace up the combat boots, throw on the camos, and strap on your Ka-Bar knife when you hear that the sole survivor of Black Thunder needs a team of grunts to lead back into the stinky mouth of Hell of itself?
This guy is going to need at least a half dirty dozen of inglorious bastards to have his back when these lepers start falling apart on him! And watching how Straker handled his business once he was back in Southeast Asia, I was ready to be all six of those guys!
His first night in Thailand, Starker begins looking for Colonel Harrison in the one place he probably isn’t – a strip club!
Oh crap, I smell a warm up bar fight/international incident a brewing! And that’s just what we get when a whore he’s getting friendly with runs afoul of three creeps!
Straker lets loose a whole duffel bag full of Black Thunder on these scum and proves he’s already in the Zone by carjacking a Taxi and racing back to his hotel room so he screw her brains out! Take that Charlie! That was for you Colonel Harrison! You will be avenged! And it only cost like twenty bucks!
The next morning Straker meets his squad. Straker and I immediately peg them as being so green that they don’t even probably have pubes yet, but they’re all going to die at various points in the mission anyway, so who cares!
The remainder of the movie demonstrates that when you slavishly follow a great genre of film, you can’t help but have good results!
Their trek through the jungle has everything! A slimy Australian who drives them part way in a school bus (see Warbus for an entire movie built around this), getting captured and tortured by enemy soldiers, a big break out scene with a pleasing amount of carnage, the stealing of a train, and of course the attempted double cross by the gutless CIA agent in charge of the operation!
Richard Norton and director Anthony Maharaj also teamed up to make the great Deathfight as well as Kick Fighter and Return of the Kickfighter and if it feels like they’re just going through the motions of making a Rambo or Missing In Action rip-off, well their motions are pretty damn perfect!
Nonstop no nonsense nastiness from Norton is the order of the day and is exemplified in such moments as the final confrontation against the evil prison camp commander. Straker kicks him off the guard tower straight down into the commander’s hut right on top of his own chess set! Then Straker shoots him dead. Guess what he says? “Check. Mate.” No name action movies about nothing much new don’t come any better than this one!
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