Review: Strike Commando (VHS)

I arm myself with a machine gun and a Disneyland brochure as I scream "JAKOOODAA!" till my lungs burst. It's Strike Commando on VHS!

  • Director: Bruno Mattei (Vincent Dawn)
  • Starring: Reb Brown, Christopher Connelley
  • Year: 1987
  • Runtime: 104 Minutes
  • Company: Avid Home Ent.
  • Format: VHS
  • Tapes: 1
  • Video: Full Frame - 1.33:1
  • Audio: English Stereo
  • Region: NTSC
  • Release Date: 1/1/1998

Every once in a while you stumble upon a celluloid gem long forgotten in the endless annals of cinema's void. In some cases, cult video labels unearth the films for new audiences to discover on shiny pressed DVDs or Blu-rays. More tech savy fans can go the online route and download obscure titles from various dedicated torrent sites. Personally the most rewarding aspect of finding rare, analog bound flicks is simply achieved by glance of the cover art. That beautiful illustration can be a translation of the tape it protects...or just simply what it is, a damn good illustration. Be truthful, would you honestly not do a double take of the Strike Commando sleeve? Damn right you wouldn't. Regardless of the film's quality, you'd hold that glorious VHS up in the air and scream with joy. Oh wait...this is a film review, which means I should probably tell you about the film. Well Dungeon readers, Strike Commando is every bit as awesome as it's art counterpart.
Basically the Army has an elite squad of muscle headed, Rambo-ites dubbed the Strike Commandos. Led by blonde haired honcho Sgt Michael Ransom (Reb more needs to be said), he leads the commandos into a Vietnamese compound so they can blow them to hell. The mission goes sour when the commandos act a fool and alert the enemy. Watching from afar, dickhead Col. Radek (Christopher Connelley) orders the explosives to be detonated early, killing the commandos and sending Ransom into the river. Ransom drifts to Lao, a Vietnamese-Disneyland loving-village boy who brings the commando back to health. Ransom learns that the Russians are taking over Vietnam and vows to stop them at all costs. In turn the Ruskies, led by Olympic push up winner Jakoda, slaughter the rebel Vietnamese camp that opposed them. Too bad they didn't kill Ransom, cause ya know, he is super pissed now. Like Incredible Hulk pissed.
You are probably wondering why in the hell I am reviewing this film. Simple, it's fucking great. Directed by Italian, B-ripoff master Bruno Mattei (rest in peace buddy), Strike Commando has everything you could want. Explosions, guns galore, one liners, no shirts, synth score and more. Reb Brown destroys everything in his path, usually without a shirt. It magically reappears every so often but that's neither here nor there. Apart from being a one man terminator, Sgt. Ransom is also a total sweetie. Ransom befriends the aforementioned Lao and tells him about all the wonders of America. Including Disneyland, which apparently includes but not limited to, magic genies, popcorn trees and chocolate shakes.
Iron curtain badass Jakoda makes the mistake of killing Lao. Ransom finds his Vietnamese chum minutes before death and once again describes Disneyland. Lao keels over, leaving a sobbing Ransom screaming bloody "JAAKOOOODAAAA". The remaining duration includes Reb Brown torture (it would make Endo & Mr Joshua smile), Reb Brown escaping, Reb Brown revenge and a most epic Reb Brown VS Jakoda showdown.
Strike Commando has the honor of being one of the most awesomely inept action, shit fests I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. My search for Strike Commando all started after watching Deadly Prey, an equally gonzo, apocalyptic action orgy. I had to search out more films of the like and stumbled upon a mint VHS copy for only $4 on ebay. I hit "Buy Now" faster than Gary Busey can come up with a "Buseyism" for cocaine. Having watched Strike Commando more than 3 times now, I can say it's been the greatest $4 I have ever spent.

  • Video
My copy of Strike Commando is in pretty good condition but it has it's analog inferiority. Throughout the film it looks like a snow blizzard is occurring in Vietnam. Definitely more noticeable during the night time scenes but in no way a major distraction. Tracking lines are present also which is more than expected. I'm just glad the damn tape plays without any serious hiccups.
  • Audio
Dialogue is fine and audible except when Vietnamese village sidekick Lao speaks. God rest his Disneyland loving soul. Explosions, machine gun fire and screams are all heard loud 'n clear.

 Bonus Features
  • VHS Sleeve
I want this illustrated beauty painted on my wall. 
  • FBI Warning
The FBI will fuck you up, good thing they have these disclaimers to let us know. Whew.