This blog post is part of the tremendeous #84athon hosted by Todd over at Forgotten Filmz.
I have vague memories of seeing Missing in Action as a kid. However, when revisiting it now I realized that I probably saw the sequel/prequel instead of this film. My main general impression was meehish. It felt lika a lowbudget version of First Blood Part 2 (released a year later) without focusing to much on the break-out part of the film. The film is not good enough to surprise you and its not bad enough for entertainments sake. It just feels bland.
I’m not super versed in the Chuck Norris filmography but to me he always plays the same kind of low key hero with very little dialogue. The plot of the film is that Norris character is brought back to Vietnam for a vague investigation about missing american POWs in Vietnam. Chuck is the living proof of such thing since we in the beginning of the film get a flashback from when he escaped a similiar prison camp himself.
As I understand it Missing in Action 1 and 2 was shot back to back and they were originally intended to be distributed chronologically but they switched the order around when they felt that the sequel was the better film. So I assume the opening flashback scene is from the ending of Missing in Action 2.
I find it strange that the film isn’t more to the point since the POW conflict is spelled out in the opening scenes. It feels like the film would have benefitted from a more straight on storytelling than having s much be based on build-up which I like in many cases. As for the story sctructure the ending felt pretty anticlicmatic since the final break-out take up pretty little screen time. I was actually worried for a while that it was gonna be omitted in the film.
To me the highlight of the film was Chucks undercover mission during the night in the beginning of the film where he obtained the information about the prison camp. That entire lenghty scene had tension and was filmed and edited just right.
With that said I still gonna re-visit the sequel/prequel since I have a gut feeling its structured a lot more like First Blood Part 2 which is a film I enjoy quite a bit. Make sure to follow the rest of the #84athon that is going on throughout August!