Everyone’s favorite Rambo surrogate, Ransom, is back on the scene in Bruno Mattei’s 1988 follow-up to his batshit action pic Strike Commando (which I reviewed right here), the reasonably titled Strike Commando 2!
While Ransom may be back, Reb Brown sure as shit isn’t… so this time we follow The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik Yak’s Brent Huff (who looks more like Solid Snake than Rambo once kitted up) on a mission to rescue Maj. Vic Jenkins (Richard Harris… yeah, the actual one from Camelot and the first couple of Harry Potter Pictures… not to mention dozens upon dozens of other memorable performances), his old squad leader from ‘Nam from a group of ninja warriors with KGB ties (there’s heroin smuggling mixed up in this hot mess as well)… this is the most fucking ’80s plot I have ever witnessed…
Anyway, the kidnappers are demanding a cool ten million in diamonds, so the CIA sends in Ransom who is joined by his hard-drinkin’ gal-pal Marion Ravenwo… err, Rosanna Boom (Mary Stavin of 1985’s House), who joins his adventure after a dude named Kramet (Mel Davidson), who looks exactly like Thot from Raiders of the Lost Ark… but he dresses in white, like Belloq… burns down her bar with his ninja cronies.
What follows is a deliberately silly high adventure romp complete with a ton of impressive stunt work, whimsical music cues, and non-stop entertainment!
If all of that seems to have absolutely nothing to do with Strike Commando, you would be 100% correct! Besides the lead character being named Mike Ransom, and being a Vietnam vet, there is nothing to connect these films narrative-wise.
Does that ultimately matter? Well, yes and no as I would have loved more Rambo-style shenanigans (and to be fair there are hints of it here and there) like we got in the first picture, Strike Commando 2 is just so much irresistible fun that one can’t help but love it!
Most of the reason for this lies in the chemistry between Huff and Stavin; these are two affable and highly entertaining individuals, and their performances were a surprising delight… plus it’s just surreal as all hell to see Harris in this, so there’s that…
Also of not are some amazing stunts, some of which feature Huff doing some insane things atop a moving truck (a sequence that also recalls Raiders… ) but some of this shit is just next level, believe you me!
Finally, while this film pays homage to certain elements of Raiders, it never strays into rip-off territory and it’s narrative features plenty of unique sequences and set-pieces, so again… a different beast than it’s predecessor for sure.
As for special features on this Blu-ray release from Severin (along with MVD Entertainment), we are treated to interviews with co-writer/co-director Claudio Fragasso (Troll 2), and Huff (who contradicts tales of Harris’ alcohol consumption as related by Fragasso), followed by the film’s trailer. Both extended and theatrical cuts of the film are present here as well.
While a sequel, Strike Commando 2 is it’s own weird and wonderful animal filled with laughs, action, and derring-do aplenty… don’t miss this one!
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