Missing in Action (film)
|Missing in Action|
|Directed by||Joseph Zito|
|Produced by||Menahem Golan
|Written by||Arthur Silver
Steve Bing (characters)
M. Emmet Walsh,
|Music by||Jay Chattaway|
|Editing by||Joel Goodman
|Distributed by||The Cannon Group
Missing in Action is a 1984 action B-movie directed by Joseph Zito and starring Chuck Norris. It is set in the context of the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. Colonel Braddock, who escaped a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp 10 years earlier, returns to Vietnam to find American soldiers listed as missing in action during the Vietnam War. The film was followed by a prequel, Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985) and a sequel, Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988).
The concept for the film originated from a story treatment, written by James Cameron in 1983, for the film Rambo: First Blood Part II that was floating around Hollywood at the time. This explains the similar plotlines between Rambo and MIA. Representatives from Cannon Group were "inspired" by Cameron's script and subsequently produced and released the first two Missing in Action films two months before the release of Rambo, in order to avoid copyright violation lawsuits.
Missing in Action 2 was filmed back to back with Missing in Action, and was actually set to be released first before the producers changed their minds. This explains crediting writers who created an original character for a film in the supposed first entry.
Despite the overwhelmingly negative reception, the film was a commercial success and has become one of Chuck Norris' most popular films.
Colonel James Braddock is an American officer who spent seven years in a North Vietnamese POW camp, then escaped 10 years ago. After the bloodiest war, Braddock accompanies a government investigation team that goes to Ho Chi Minh City to check out reports of Americans still held prisoner. Braddock gets the evidence then travels to Thailand, where he meets Tuck, an old Army buddy turned black market kingpin. Together, they launch a mission deep into the jungle to free the American POWs from General Trau.
- Chuck Norris - Colonel James Braddock
- M. Emmet Walsh - Tuck
- David Tress - Sen. Porter
- Lenore Kasdorf - Ann
- James Hong - Gen. Trau
- Erich Anderson - Masucci (as E. Erich Anderson)
Missing in Action received overwhelmingly negative reviews. The film has been widely described as a rip-off of the Rambo film series by critics and viewers alike, particularly the film Rambo: First Blood Part II, despite having been released the year before Rambo. Scott Weinberg of eFilmCritic.com gave the film 2 stars out of 5, writing that "Norris does Stallone... badly" in his review. In a 2003 BBC article entitled "Rambo: Pretenders to the Throne", Almar Haflidason wrote "the runaway success of the Rambo trilogy inspired dozens of rip-offs", citing that the Missing in Action series was the most famous of the Rambo clones (even though it was released earlier).
Derek Adams of Time Out wrote that the film was "so bad that it defies belief. It's xenophobic, amateurish and extraordinarily dull". He also labeled it as "all-gooks-are-baddies propaganda". On AMC's movie guide, Jeremy Beday of Rovi described the film as a "crass, dopey Rambo-esque film that ultimately fails to connect with anything interesting in the realm of fact or fiction" and that its "chop-socky, shoot-em-up, explosion-a-minute action quickly wears thin". Steve Crum of Video-Reviewmaster.com wrote that MIA was "Chuck Norris' best film, and that isn't saying much". The film currently holds a 23% "Rotten" rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes.
The film earned Cannon a profit of $6.5 million on the basis of its US release alone.
- Andrew Yule, Hollywood a Go-Go: The True Story of the Cannon Film Empire, Sphere Books, 1987 p58
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- "Box Office Information for Rambo: First Blood Part II". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 8, 2010.
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- Maslin, Janet (1984-11-17). "Movie Review - Missing in Action - SCREEN: NORRIS IN 'MISSING IN ACTION' - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2013-09-29.
- "Missing In Action : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. 2000-07-22. Retrieved 2013-09-29.
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- "Rambo: Pretenders to the Throne". BBC. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
- "Missing in Action Movie Review". Time Out. Retrieved July 2, 2010.
- "Missing in Action on AMC Movie Guide". AMC. Retrieved January 4, 2012.