1984 / Director. Joseph Zito.
In the early 80s James Cameron wrote a treatment for a RAMBO sequel and the idea had crossed over many desks. Obviously it passed through the Cannon Group's office because they seized the opportunity and made an almost identical film, MISSING IN ACTION, and managed to release it just two months before RAMBO. Chuck Norris' legend was born from movies like this. It's jam packed with hero shots as he treks into the jungles of Vietnam to infiltrate an illegal POW camp and rescue American soldiers who had been held captive for over a decade since the war ended. As far as war films go, MISSING IN ACTION is a B-movie and lives up to the expectations of a blow-em-up, kill-em-all action flick. It's jam packed with action sequences and doesn't let up. That's what I love about it. Chuck Norris is hard to resist and the hilarious legend (memes really) that has grown around him is easy to understand when you see shots of Chuck rising out of the water in slow motion, branding a fully automatic machine gun... or scenes of him single handedly taking on entire squads of enemy soldiers. The film was shot back-to-back with part 2 and this first film was originally set to be the sequel. At the last minute Cannon decided that this story was stronger and switched the movies around... therefore MISSING IN ACTION 2 is actually a prequel. I can't decide which is the better order to watch them but regardless of the confusion, they're both a lot of fun. The locations are good, the action is excessive and the Asian stereotypes are hilarious... Damn I love the 80s!