Delta Force Commando II: Priority Red One (1990)

Everything about Delta Force Commando II is twice what Delta Force Commando was! Twice as less action from Fred “The Hammer” Williamson! Twice the use of the same locations as War Bus Commando! Twice the confusing, bland, and poorly staged intrigue! And much more than two times as many scenes of Battlestar Galatica legend Richard Hatch over-emoting to the point of unintentional parody!

Cheesy Italian action movies may come and go, but a globetrotting (and by globetrotting I mean the same ugly patch of rock and scrub infested Afghanistan, Croatia, or whatever bargain basement country was willing to loan out its rubble-strewn landscape to director Pierluigi Ciriaci) love affair between a Delta Force Commando who quit the service and his international assassin girlfriend is timeless!

You know what else was timeless? The whole freaking film! The purported 100 minute running time thankfully stretched for days making me think that this was some sort of action movie battle ration, designed to feed my hunger for scenes of Hatch leaving everything he has in front of the camera! Pierluigi Ciriaci or Tennessee Williams – it doesn’t matter because Hatch is an actor!

You go into something like this expecting exploding Jeeps, gutshot terrorists, and a variety of stabbings, stranglings, and screamed cuss words and you do get some of that in this one (oh, why downplay things – you get TWO helicopter loads of Delta Force soldiers storming the terrorist stronghold in the final scenes of the film!), but what you don’t expect is the pathos!

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Sure, in the original Delta Force Commando, you had the pathos of Delta Force Commando’s pregnant wife getting wasted by thugs stealing an atomic bomb, but DFC wasn’t really tortured by it so much as he was glad for the opportunity to get out of the house and kick some ass. Heck, by time it was over and he and Hammer found out the bomb was a fake, they were all having a good laugh!

Hatch and his killer girlfriend Juno though are all about deep talks on the subject of their relationship as they try to avoid having their Jeep blown up by bad guys. There’s talk about such heavy topics as being pulled back into the business, being haunted by ghosts and dying being a way out!

At one point, Hatch wonders about his girlfriend’s new heroin habit and she announces it’s to help her forget! Yeah, maybe to forget the fact that she sang the ballad that played over the closing credits!

But Delta Force Commando II isn’t all Hatch-inspired hang-wringing! There’s also some Hammertime! Hammer again returns as Captain Samuel Beck, though he is called Samuel Back during this movie. (This is likely some Delta Force version of deep cover and not just a typo in the script.)

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Unlike the last film, he doesn’t actually get involved in any of the action which is probably good for Hammer since the last movie saw his gonads getting electrocuted. Instead he bickers with slumming screen legend Van Johnson (A Guy Named Joe, Eagles Over London) who portrays an evil general with some nasty scars on his face.

It’s a testament to Van’s diabolical scheme that I could never make heads or tails about what exactly he was doing at Hammer’s base. There’s something involving a guy that Juno killed and about some missiles stolen by someone with the purpose of destabilizing East-West relations, but Van seemed to be making his lines up as he went along, so even he probably didn’t really understand why he was at the base.

Eventually, Hammer just got tired of him hanging around, took him up in a fighter jet, flew him into enemy territory, got vital information from Van then ejected out leaving Van to get shot down by enemy jets. Hammer only puts up with so much crud before he takes care of business!

So what does all that have to do with Hatch and Juno? Nothing! And everything! This is the shadowy world of espionage and double crosses and hidden agendas and movies where a guy puts a bomb on a plane and then gets shot by Juno for no reason and then we never hear about the bomb and the plane again!

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This is also the movie where the bad guys steal some missiles and one of them gets into Juno’s jeep and starts laughing maniacally until Juno gets fed up with him, shoots him, and pushes him out of the Jeep! These spooks are always operating about six moves ahead of the rest of us regular folks!

Director Pierluigi Ciriaci has crafted a film designed to appeal to twice as many people as is usually the case. Fans of Hammer and Van have their little military base movie to keep them happy, while fans of tormented-lovers-on-the-run have the Hatch/Juno story to keep them sniffling into their hankies and since Hammer and Van never share a scene with Hatch and Juno, there’s never a chance these two movies will actually interfere with one another!

But Pierluigi artistically ties both elements together at the end when Bobby Rhodes (Demons, Demons 2, War Bus Commando), who plays Hatch’s old Delta Force boss, mentions that Hammer called him! Hatch of course has no idea what the hell Bobby is talking about!

But what about action? All this complicated and ingenious/incomprehensible plotting is great food for the mind, but the man in me needs to see dudes buying the farm! Don’t worry about it! Hatch uses all his Delta Force training to catch a fish with a crossbow fishing pole! He also screams like a girl when a bad guy hits him with a club! But Hatch has the last high-pitched laugh when he strangles that scum while his girlfriend also stabs him and Hatch tells him “don’t shit in your pants just when I’m about to enjoy myself!” Really, that’s good advice for anyone watching at home, too!

© 2015 MonsterHunter

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