Judge David Johnson ran a search and destroy mission the other day. The target? Ants.
Cool! Two obscure movies from the late '70s for the price of…what's the going rate for obscure movies from the late '70s?
From Dark Sky Films, a "drive-in double feature" of a pair of macho action films. The shocker? These two flicks aren't half bad. And they look pretty good on DVD, too.
Search and Destroy
So we've got a guy named Kip (Perry King), a Vietnam vet with some awesome facial hair. Sure the name "Kip" doesn't evoke connotations of an Action Hero, but kids, trust me, this dude is a hard-ass! As proven when a disgruntled Vietnamese man starts executing Kip's platoon mates. Evidently this guy was pissed that Kip and his pals left him behind in the jungles and now he's come back to exert his homicidal vengeance. With no one but some disinterested cops to turn to, Kip takes it upon himself to push back, and this deadly Kip and mouse game sees its violent denouement Kip place on the Kip of a mountain.
This is actually an okay slice of revenge action. We don't get many post-Vietnam films these days, and it's a nifty flashback to watch a "contemporary" one. Kip is a good character, a denim-clad bad dude who confesses to loving the high of being an ace soldier in Vietnam. He delivers this monologue under considerable duress, as he's being hunted by someone from his war-torn past, and though there seems to be some mental anguish at play here, when he finally suits up in his camo and lets fly the first fusillade with his machine gun, you can tell he's back on the high. Perry King does a nice job and by the end of the climactic face-off, you'll dig him for this action hero turn.
There's certainly some underlying social commentary about the horrors of war and how combat can change a man and so on so forth, but mainly Search and Destroy is all about pitting one dangerous man against another dangerous man and having the carnage unspool and to that end, the film works at a surprisingly entertaining level.
John Saxon stars as Sam Kellog, a hard-on-his-luck bounty hunters who finally has an assignment that can really bring home the bacon. He's been offered $20,000 to bag an ex-con suspected of beating the snot out of prison guards. The guy's gimmick? He dresses in full riot gear and wears a special glove designed to inflict massive damage on its victims. And yes, it does resemble the Nintendo Power Glove, though it looks far more flexible and practical.
This one's not as entertaining as Search and Destroy, mainly because of the lack of gunfire and dudes named Kip, but the film's not a total waste. Saxon is a good tough guy, and as his opposite, Rosey Grier lumbers around with sufficient menace. The action is light, confined to a few showdowns between Kellog and his bounties (the highlight: a confrontation with a gay man playing a flute in a hot tub) and the extended fight sequence between the two main characters on a roof top.
Not much else going on here; The Glove, like its companion on the disc, is a revenge story, spiced up with a few twists and a fairly boffo ending. I like the Glove gimmick—underused as it is—and both leads give it their all and the opening song is ridiculous but don't feel like you're missing out if you haven't seen this one.
You'd expect the barest of a bare bones release for this one-two punch of forgotten movies, but Dark Sky has gone beyond the call of duty and given the anamorphic transfers a slick look. Original print flaws can still be seen, but the picture quality is a whole lot better than I expected. No extras.
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Scales of Justice, The Glove
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Studio: Dark Sky Films
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Scales of Justice, Search And Destroy
Perp Profile, Search And Destroy
Studio: Dark Sky Films
Distinguishing Marks, Search And Destroy
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