HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Braddock: Missing In Action III
HTS Overall Score:67
What’s better than a Chuck Norris movie review? That’s right. TWO Chuck Norris movie reviews! It’s been several years since MGM released “Missing in Action” 1 and 2, but MGM has finally relinquished the rights to boutique studio Shout Factory, so better late than never. 1988 was about the time that Chuck Norris was wrapping up the bulk of his long and varied action career. He had played everyone from Bruce Lee villains, to martial arts superstar to gun wielding cops and even bad boy army boys who can’t leave the brass to their own devices, intent on mucking up the right thing to do. Cannon films was only a few short years shy of their bankruptcy in 1993, but Chuck was still banging out the goods for them in movie after movie, and this would be his final film in their archives. It’s not as fun or as violently engaging as the two previous films in the franchise, but it serves as a fun little 80s action movie that can’t be replicated in today’s film world.
Colonel James Braddock (Chuck Norris) is finally leaving Vietnam behind. The war is over and his wife, Lin Tan Cang (Mike Kim) is packing up her belongings to leave with her husband. However with the troops leaving, chaos is left in the wake and Lin Tan is presumed dead amongst the ensuing rioting. Bitterly angry and devastated, Braddock returns to America where he attempts to piece together his life after this ordeal. Years later Braddock is approached by Reverend Polanski (Yehuda Efroni), a missionary in Vietnam who claims that Lin Tan is still alive and living with his son (who was unborn and unknown at the time of his departure from Nam). Thinking the Reverend is crazy, Braddock ignores the old man until a CIA spook tips his hand and gives the secret away that it’s been known for quite some time that his wife and child are still living. Grabbing his gear (including a very cool looking GI issue Colt 1911) and a plane to the outskirts of Nam, Braddock does what Braddock does best. Wage a one man war.
Arriving in Nam is the easy part. Even finding Lin Tan Cang and his son Van (Roland Harrah III) is easy enough, but getting out. That’s an entirely different subject. Almost to his escape craft, Braddock and his family is captured by General Quoc (Aki Aleong), a bitter old Vietnam general who is looking for vengeance over a war that is done and over with. Murdering Lin Tan Cang, Quoc tortures Braddock within an inch of his life, until the hunted turns into the hunter. Taking Van and the rest of the American/Vietnamese half breed children in the orphanage run by Reverent Polanski, Braddock forges a path for the Thai/Vietnam border with the entire force of General Quoc on his back.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66889[/img]The “Missing in Action” movies are a bit shaky on continuity. The first 10 minutes of the third one automatically has you ignore some of the continuity from the previous two films as you find out that at the end of the war Braddock went home, but that he also had a wife and kid in the process. Ignore the setup from the first two films and focus just on the character of Braddock and you’ll be fine, otherwise you’ll be pulling your hair out trying to line up all the timelines. Still, it’s a hilariously fun movie that just revels in the “Rambo: First Blood Part 2” type of setup where our muscle bound hero is pretty much a god at whatever he does. Handling pain, kicking tail, machine gunning Vietnam creeps into the ground, he does it all without breaking a sweat.
This third entry into the “Missing in Action” franchise was a huge box office bomb and literally killed the franchise. The first two movies weren’t exactly high entertainment, but they made the studios a lot of money and Chuck Norris was still king of action movies at the time. However with this one doing so badly it pretty much severed the relationship between Cannon films and Chuck Norris, allowing him to go on and do different types of films before he gradually ended his film career and went with the INCREDIBLY successful “Walker: Texas Ranger” on television. Which ironically made him even more successful than many of his previous films.
Rated R by the MPAA for having Chuck Norris in it
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66897[/img]Of all the “Missing in Action” films, this one seems to be the best looking. Shout must have gotten a nice transfer as it appears clean and free of most print damage. The movie is certainly using 80s film stock and is fairly grainy as a result, but it’s not overly grainy like “Predator” was by any stretch of the imagination. Blacks are a bit murky and show signs of being washed out, but overall it’s a very nice looking image with sharp colors and great detail. The greens of the Vietnam jungle pop off the screen during their escape, and the black clothes worn by Braddock during their escape shows every fiber and bit of detail on screen. I didn’t notice any major compression artifacts or other types of banding associated with lower quality encodes and have to tip my hat to SHOUT for bringing us an unmolested transfer of this old 80s classic.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=66905[/img]Sadly there is not 5.1 track on this disc, and we have to make do with the original 2.0 audio in lossless DTS-HD MA. Much like the 2.0 track of “Invasion USA”, it’s a fairly simplistic sound design, with light bass to accentuate the explosions and roundhouse kicks, but nothing too wild. Dialog can be a bit muffled at times, but usually is intelligible and clean. There’s some light distortion on the upper end of the frequency range in regards to the dialog, but the rest of the track is rocking with the constant gunfire and explosions. A serviceable track and one that replicates the old 80’s style of Cannon films quite well.
“Missing in Action 3” is a fun little movie that really is one of the weaker points in Norris’s pre 2000 era career bombs. It’s fun, but not memorable, and it really showed that the series was reaching the end of its financial usefulness in 88. Braddock is one of those characters that I’m surprised hasn’t been remade or re-done, but I’m kind of glad he hasn’t. James Braddock is one of those characters, much like Rambo, who really belongs in the 80’s with his comrades. The audio and video are solid for this release, but I’m really surprised that there are ZERO extras on the disc. Especially since there was a trailer for the film and an interview on the “Invasion USA” disc. I guess Shout figured that anyone who was going to get “Braddock” was going to get “Invasion USA as well”. Still recommended if you’re a child of the 80’s and love Norris.
Starring: Chuck Norris, Aki Aleong, Roland Harrah
Directed by: Aaron Norris
Written by: Steve Bing, James Bruner
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 2.0
Studio: Shout Factory
Runtime: 101 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 15th 2016
Buy Braddock: Missing In Action III On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Fun Rental
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