Missing In Action – One of Chuck Norris' Many Adventures In Vietnam

Hey you remember the 1970’s when all the movies about Vietnam were heavy handed and sad? Like The Deer Hunter?

Yeah thank God the 1980’s happened.

That’s when all the movie about Vietnam were about us going back, cleaning shit up, killing the bad guys, and making things right. While not exactly historically accurate, movies like Rambo: First Blood Part II, and Uncommon Valor, pretty much made America feel awesome again as a country. These sort of movies, were a lot less sad, and a whole lot more entertaining.

Which brings us to the movie of the day Missing in Action starring bearded, killing machine Chuck Norris.

Norris stars as a man who went to Vietnam, was stuck in a prison camp for a number of years, and is generally sour about the whole situation in that country. He knows that there are still American men being held prisoner over in ‘Nam despite the fact that the Vietnamese government is denying it.

In fact they’re holding a summit of sorts to publicly announce that the claims of there still being Americans are untrue. But we know they’re lying, and Chuck knows they’re lying, so after having a Vietnam flashback/dream he picks up the phone tells some government people he’ll help ’em, and so he’s off to ‘Nam again as some sort of… ok I’m not totally sure how they explain the reasoning in bringing Chuck to a Vietnamese government function. He’s there, that’s what matters and the movie aint wasting any precious minutes on plot.

Once the meeting starts, this slimy Vietnamese official turns the whole thing into a trial, he puts Chuck on the spot, straight up calls him a war criminal and then brings out a bunch of fake witnesses that say that ole Chuck is a bad man. Chuck goes up to them and they can’t even look him in the eye, cause they feel so bad about having to lie about Chuck, one old dude even apalogizes to him, and Chuck’s like “Hey man, it’s ok, I know you don’t have a choice”.

Chuck then calls the slimy officials assholes and leaves.

Later that night, he hits on the American chick that came to ‘Nam with him so  he can get into her room, then he promptly dresses like a ninja, sneaks out, and fins that slimy official. He sneaks into the guys bedroom holds a knife to his throat and demands to know where the POW’s are. The guy tries to lie to Chuck, and then winds up dead when he tries to shoot him in the back. This sequence ends with the evil Vietnamese army guys chasing Norris all the way back to the hotel that he’s staying at, so right when he sneaks back in he grabs the chick from earlier, pulls of her top, jumps into bed with her, and then they begin to pretend they’ve been doing it all night when the army breaks into the hotel room. It’s all kinds of amazing.

So is told to leave the country or he’ll get killed, so he goes to find an old Vietnam friend of his, whom he finds in the middle of a silly bar fight, and they buy some weapons and a raft. Not just any raft mind you, but one made out of Kevlar! So it’s bullet proof, which’ll turn out to be very convenient later. The best thing about this scene is that Chuck decides to haggle with the arms dealer who sells him all the stuff, by threatening to kill him. It’s right then that the dealer forgets he has armed goons, and somehow Chuck walks out of the deal with a bunch of stuff on the cheap. Chuck actually does most of his negotiating in the movie via threats of violence, he’s not much of talker.

A guy jumps out of an armoire and tries to kill Chuck, later there’s a car chase, and then Chuck an his friend head upriver to wherever the prison camp is. They show up at night, and Chuck blows up pretty much the entire camp, and kills all the bad dudes there without even the slightest bit of trouble. Except it turns out that they’ve just moved all the Americans cause they knew Chuck was coming.

DAMNIT! Oh wait, they have a super fast motorized raft with a mounted machine gun, they can totally catch up to the convoy and shoot the fuck out of it!

So they do. It’s pretty amusing cause like half the sequence is you just wondering why the bad guys can’t shoot Chuck Norris and his raft, and then you remember it’s cause the raft is bullet poof, and so is Mr. Norris. They do blow up the raft with a rocket launcher in the end, but that just gives Chuck Norris an excuse to rise up out of the water like a bad-ass, and blow away the remaining bad dudes in slow motion.

Then there’s some more chasing, some more shooting, a helicopter shows up, and eventually the day is saved.

Missing in Action is a quintessential 80’s action movie. Low on plot, carried on the shoulders of a famous macho guy with limited acting range, and has a decent amount of shooting and explosions. It’s not the best, Rambo is better, but Missing in Action will provide you with the Chuck Norris and action fix you need. It’s competent for the 80’s and it is better than some of the other movies put out by the prolific Cannon Films, it’s slightly more serious than the ninja centric fare of the later 80’s. It’s also got two sequels Missing in Action 2: The Beginning, and Braddock: Missing in Action 3.

Missing in Action was directed by Joseph Zito who would later direct another film starring Norris, Invasion USA. Invasion USA is a much more amusing movie, cause it’s essentially about Communists invading South Florida, and having almost all of their evil plots stopped by Chuck.

The bottom line is: If you’re in the mood for seeing some Vietcong get demolished by a bullet proof American then Missing in Action will make your day.

  1. great post as usual!

    • jon
    • May 2nd, 2010

    Thank You. I try.

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