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Search and Destroy - DVD - Dark Sky Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
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Written by Jay Creepy   
Thursday, 24 October 2013
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Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Artwork on Severed Cinema
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AKA Striking Back, Persecution implacable, Buscar y destruir, L'exterminateur, Matomenos Niagaras, Katadio kai skotonos, Vedergallningen, Bul ve yoket, Der Mann der aus der Dschungel kam

Directed by:
William Fruet
Written by: Don Enright
Produced by:
James Margellos
Cinematography by:
Rene Verzier
Editing by:
Donald Ginsberg
Music by:
Martin Deller, Cameron Hawkins, Ben Mink
Special Effects by:
Allan Cotter, Martin Malivoire
Cast:
Perry King, Tisa Farrow, Don Stroud, George Kennedy, Tony Sheer, Jong Soo Park
Year:
1979
Country:
USA
Color:
Color
Language:
English
Runtime:
1h 32min

Distributor: Dark Sky Films

This old Vietnam vet on a killing spree pot-boiler is known as one of the first and more realistic of its kind.  It has been released as one of a duo of obscure flicks (the other is a feature starring John Saxon called "The Glove") in a Grindhouse style by Dark Sky Films.  Their way of packaging both movies is nothing short of excellent because they have taken more time than most in giving you the true experience.  Classic adverts, trailers, it's all there before the start of your first main attraction.  More on this later since I'll class them as extras.

And now, on with the show!”  Dark Sky Films have polished up the negatives to a certain degree, but have intelligently left a few lines and grain which is how it's done on many 'Grindhouse' DVDs.  We're in Vietnam, as a narrator introduces soldiers as freeze frames in the dark.  The mission is to get a Vietnamese Political Officer in and out of certain villages in one piece.  Explosions go off, gunshots strike the area and a lot of soldiers are dead, others wounded.  Amongst the chaos, the Political Officer is declared MIA.

Move forwards to LA, 1978, and one surviving 'vet from that night is a janitor in a tenement building. He wears huge flared trousers. There's a gloved hand with perhaps a missing finger shown as the huge lettering credits pass by. The vet, Rosie, is bludgeoned to death accompanied by loud electric guitars on the soundtrack.

Across at the Niagara Falls, two boys find a crashed car with a dead man inside.  One phone call to our bearded hero, Kip (Perry King -- "Class of 1984," "The Day After Tomorrow") who my Horror Soulmate pointed out looks like a bristly chinned young Jodie Foster.   Okay, try looking at him seriously after realising that he really does look like that, and is told about his 'nam friend RJ's death.  He then storms out, whilst his girl Kate, played by Tisa ("Zombie Flesh Eaters," "Anthropophagus") Farrow says, “Are you okay?”  As he drives, he's followed by a mysterious man with a gloved hand.

Oh wow, here's George Kennedy as a cop.  Anyone who's read my review for "Death Ship" knows my feelings for him.  As a matter of fact he's not too irritating in this one, maybe he'd not lost his will for acting just yet.  Kip then teams with his vet friend Buddy (Don Stroud of "Django Unchained," "The Amityville Horror" and a million TV series, movies and B-flicks) and confronts RJ's Uncle Ernie, who doesn't “fiddle about” like in The Who's Tommy, but for some reason has his men in his garage fight Kip and Buddy.

We see the face of the man known in the cast as The Assassin, and it's the Political Officer, sat in his car loading a gun.  Only Kip and Buddy are alive from the survivors of that fateful night back in the war.  After a boat tour around Niagara Falls with Kate, the two vets actually find themselves face to face with The Assassin.  He shoots Kip, winging him and Buddy gives chase for a while before being injured.  The Assassin creepily indulges in a lengthy game of cat and mouse until there's a well shot hand to hand combat scene with the falls in the background.  The Assassin donkey-punches Buddy repeatedly in the back of the head and escapes before the police and Kip arrive.  George Kennedy and Kip argue in his office about this little vendetta in the middle of the tourist season, and how does Kip's coffee vanish from his cup before he drinks it? Uhhhh.

As The Assassin sits in his apartment with his memories in a scrapbook, he takes out a pic of the squad and burns out Buddy's face with a candle flame.  His desk is a mass of candles and images of Christ.  Meanwhile, Kip learns of Rosey's death and in a flashback told to Kate, we witness the events as they were attacked.  The Political Officer left a soldier to die, so had his hand broken and was left behind.  The dubbed helicopters are a bit cruddy in this scene, but the battle itself isn't bad for something filmed maybe in a field nearby.

The police plan to use Kip as live bait to draw The Assassin out but unfortunately most of the cops are comedy relief so aren't much good to anyone.  Kip visits Buddy in the hospital and discovers he's paralysed. Buddy wants Kip to kill The Assassin before the cops get him.  Naturally Kate is taken hostage and it's American vet VS Vietnamese vet as Kip tools up at Buddy's place and both hunt each other through the busy night streets and rooftops, in a gripping build up to a finale in a public park.

"
Search and Destroy" is utterly convincing and gritty.  There's no superhero style ex-green beret vets or serial killing psychotic survivors of Vietnam.  There's just a man who wants revenge.  Park Jong Soo plays The Assassin skilfully and for the most part silently.  The music is a heady mix of synths and rock which compliment the emotions in the movie.

The only criticisms are levelled at the Keystone Kops for being way too predictable, bad stunt doubles, and the final park fight goes on a bit too long.  "
Search and Destroy" is a bullet ridden thriller which reminded us of the Italian crime movies of the time.  Not bad considering there's no twists, no shocks, just action.

As noted earlier, Dark Sky Films have included a few Grindhouse novelty items before the film begins.  Burgers, Chilly Dillys, a coming attraction for "The One Armed Executioner" which starts Friday apparently, Tobe Hooper's "Eaten Alive" and best of all "The Devil's Rain."  We had forgotten how amazingly trashy it is, thanks to a trailer that reveals all including the ending.  I really have to fire some criticism at them though for a lack of film connected extras -- there's absolutely nothing about the two films.  Shame.

CLICK TO ENLARGE IMAGE
Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

Search and Destroy Dark Sky Films DVD Screenshot on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
 Region: ALL Regions
 Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Drive-in Intermission Programming
 - Trailers
 - English Subtitles

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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