Wednesday, September 3, 2014

P.O.W.: The Escape (1986)

In the mid-80s, there was a glut of action movies dedicated to plots concerning rescuing prisoners of war from Vietnam.  Generally these were made to just cash in on the then current real life political debates over the matter, but it was also an excuse to re-fight the one war we took a major butt whooping in (at least in the 1900's).  Notable titles were Rambo: First Blood Part II and Uncommon Valor and naturally, Cannon Films got into the fray with the first two Missing in Action films and our feature today.

P.O.W. The Escape, also known as Behind Enemy Lines and Attack Force 'Nam stars David Carradine as Cooper, a colonel sent in to rescue prisoners after the fall of Saigon in 1973, only to be captured himself, necessitating him breaking out of the prison with as many fellow soldiers as possible.  Before doing so, the camp commander, Captain Vinh (Mako) makes him a tempting offer, noting that he will let the entire camp go free and escort them to American lines if Cooper helps him get to Miami where he has family.

The film is pretty basic in terms of plot and characterization with Carradine doing a serviceable hard ass routine and Mako delivering an adequate enough job, though with a better script his rather interesting character could have been even better.  As it stands, he's interesting for the first half of the movie and afterwards, just a stock bad guy.  Steve James is given little to do, which is typical but Charles Floyd is decent enough as Sparks, the obligatory jerk soldier who is only interested in himself.

Action is plentiful but rather predictable as we get a selection of shootouts with some fist fights and a rather nice bridge explosion.  There is one pretty amusing bit towards the end as Carradine literally wraps himself in the American flag before mowing down a bunch of enemy soldiers.

P.O.W.: The Escape is a predictable, modestly entertaining piece of action fluff that is fine for the time you are viewing it but not necessarily essential.  It could have used more of the plot line of the deal between Cooper and Vinh and in some parts it feels quite disjointed with scenes ending a few beats before they feel like they should.  It's a decent enough time waster, though.  If nothing else it's more enjoyable and less unpleasant to sit through than Missing in Action 2.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.