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Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985)

| March 1, 1985

Missing in Action 2: The Beginning is a prequel to 1984’s Missing in Action.  That means that the events in this movie take place before the events in the previous film.  So then, you may be asking, why didn’t they just make this movie first?  Well, they did.  The two were shot back-to-back with the idea of releasing them a year apart.

It doesn’t really matter, but the first film had Chuck Norris’ Braddock going back to rescue his buddies from the POW camp, this one goes back ten years to show had Braddock himself escaped.  It’s not a pretty picture.  What was intended to pay tribute to the men who served and were actually held prisoner by the Viet Kong is actually less than a tribute and more of a checklist of cliches from old World War II movies.  We get the prisoners who are tortured and killed.  We get the camp commandant who is cruel and murderous.  We get the escape scenes with all of the usual movie cliches in tow.  And we get the Asian characters who are offensive stereotypes right out of a movie from the 40s.

Yet, what bothers me most about this movie is its exterior purpose.  At the end of the 1970s we got movies that took the war seriously – The Deer Hunter, Coming Home, Rolling Thunder.  Then in the 80s we got a strange volley of films from filmmakers who were satisfied to correct the mistakes of Vietnam, to have a happy ending, to give us heroes in a war that seemed to defy them.  Missing in Action 2 does nothing to add to the conversation.  It could really take place in any war and to suggest that it is a tribute to anything, particularly the POWs of the war, is really an insult

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Action