Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988)

Against all the odds, the latest in Chuck Norris' cycle of to-the-right-of-Rambo MIA movies opens with a sequence that sets up the plot with some dodgy melodramatics but also effectively conveys the chaos of the fall of Saigon, with hundreds of panicking people besieging the US Embassy and trying to get on the last chopper out of Vietnam before the Vietcong take over. Braddock (Norris) suffers a lot - first he believes his pregnant Vietnamese wife has been killed, and then he gets shot in the back by a citizen. However, when we cut to twelve years later and Braddock has to go back to the Republic of Vietnam to get his wife and appallingly liquid-eyed Amerasian son out, the movie degenerates into the usual assemblage of torture, car crashes, exploding helicopters, lousy acting and scenes in which Norris breaks the necks of oriental stuntmen. Obviously Norris won't be happy until the entire population of the Republic of Vietnam has either been rescued or killed. Here, there is a very noticable glitch in his attitudes, whereby he heroically does his best for the young teenage half-breed orphans and yet blithely slaughters hundreds of their conscripted-into-the-army elder brothers. Chuck's acting still consists of reacting to all tragic news with a look that suggests painful haemorrhoids, and his brother directs with an equivalent lack of commitment. There's also a really embarassing performance from Aki Aleong as the evil general Quoc, who cackles whenever he gets to torture a child, and one of the most cringe-making theme songs of all time, 'I Can See the Light of Freedom Shining in Your Eyes'.
KIM NEWMAN

First Published In: City Limits no.355 (21 July 1988) p.27


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