Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Last American Soldier (1988)

After Rambo: First Blood Part II the world craved cheap imitations and the Italians churned them out like there was no tomorrow. These movies where often shot in the Philippines and created a lot of jobs both for the locals, and for expats who was looking for something to do while not sitting in a bar drinking themselves to death. I guess that was how Craig Alan was cast as Roger Craig in The Last AmericanSoldier. With a bland look and an unfit body he ruled the business for two years and then disappeared like so many others of his kind.

The story is nothing special. Roger Craig is an ex-vietnam veteran who sees his whole village getting massacred by evil Evil EVIL Russians and in the end also witnesses the murder of his wife. He takes some mercenary buddies and takes revenge. That's it.

The Last American Soldier, also called Commander, was produced by still hyperactive Pinoy company Regal Films. Probably financed by Italians, because this has a lot of spaghetti-eaters involved - from director Ignazio Dolce (who had a very long career as a second unit director in Italy, from Peplums in the sixties to Antonio Margheriti-flicks in the eighties) to legendary soundman Nick Alexander (but I didn't hear his voice this time, which was a pity!). But the feeling is more of crazy, over-the-top Filipino action movie than the usual Italian business. This movie has a LOT of action. Lots of it. American expat Mike Monty, known from a lot of Mattei- and Margheriti-movies also has a small part.

We're talking tons of shoots-outs, explosions everywhere, slow-motion falls from guard towers, more explosions, a well-made helicopter chaser and maybe most important of all: bloody squibs! Yeah, this is not one of those lazy movies that skipped the blood and went for silly stuntmen pretending to get shot - the blood spurts in slow-mo and splatters all over the place. Love when that happens - in movies.

The odd thing with watching this movie is that it was on blu-ray! Who the f**k releases an ultra-low budget jungle action movie co-produced by Italy and the Philippines on BD in this day and age? The Germans of course! And I'm sad to say that they could have skipped the blu in this case, because the quality is at the best a very good DVD. So the quality is excellent for being a movie like this, but we're not talking BD quality. Not even close.

If you want bloody jungle action with a lot of explosions and some cool stunts, The Last American Soldier could be something for you. Get the German BD for best possible quality or just turn to the nearest flea market and dive right into their pile of old VHS tapes and you will have ninety minutes of excellent entertainment.


Alex B. said...

'With a bland look and an unfit body he ruled the business for two years and then disappeared like so many others of his kind.' - that is soo good!

Ninja Dixon said...

I accidentally deleted a comment here. You where talking about Bo Widerberg, and I agree with you :)

Ninja Dixon said...

And thanks Alex :)

Anonymous said...

Ninja: hhahahha...yep....not enough swedish cinema on blu ray....that´s for sure.

But as I wrote before....I´m sucker for jungle warfare/mercenaries films...more stuff like that coming up, Ninja..?

Explosive Action said...

Very cool. Where can I find this bluray? Can't see it on and my Google-fu is failing me this time.

Ninja Dixon said...

Explosive action: I guess it's this one:

The german title is "Der Letzte Amerikanische Soldat" so maybe you can find a better place to buy it.

Jack J said...

Great review, Fred!

The dvd and bluray are available from DT in Austria. It's Spannick who worked on this uncut release. Go here:

And those of you who wanna read about these Italian/Filipino war movies check out my blog for fuck's sake!

I have the film on Greek vhs of course, haha.