Sunday, December 27, 2015

Missing in Action (1984)

Shot after its sequel and moved up because it was the better of the two film MIA has Chuck Norris going back into the juggles of South East Asia in order to rescue some POWs still being held by the enemy. Of course it’s all full of typical Chuck Norris action as he kicks and kills his way to freedom.

A great deal of fun this film is full of great action as Norris beats his way into the hidden prison camps and takes our guys back. Its crazy over the top action but just believable in a cartoony way that you buy it.

Despite being fun on a very rudimentary level the film has some serious issues on a larger canvas than the movie screen.

One of the wave of action films that appeared about ten years after the end of the Vietnam war which reimagines it as a winnable one either because the truth of the loss was purely bureaucratic or because it creates a situation where we can get last licks. MIA, like Rambo 2 or Uncommon Valor is one of those films that has one good man essentially winning the war by doing the right thing. Never mind that many of the men they are going to save die in the attempt we still win in the end because our hero survives to the end. Its bullshit of course but it was probably part of the countries healing.

The other problem with this film, and the other films in the series, is that the films are ultimately a yellow peril stories. While it’s never said verbally the bad guys are pretty much bad because they are Asian. If any Asians aren’t bad then they are either sacrificial lambs or the oppressed needing to be saved. The non-whites are clearly needing out guidance.

I'm probably reading way too much into all of this, I mean this is nothing but an exploitation film, but at the same time the poor traits are there.

That said I really like the film a great deal and enjoy it when ever I run across it on cable.

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