Sunday, November 9, 2008

When the Vietnam War raged... in the Philippines

One movie genre that is overlooked by EVERYONE is TRASHY VIETNAM WAR MOVIES FROM THE PHILIPPINES (I know, I know, The Philippines never took part in the Vietnam War but just nod your head and look as if you understand).
And before you dismiss these movies just hear me out: Filipino war movies are nothing like old, boring American war movies. Or old, boring Italian war movies, or any other old, boring war movies for that matter were you see endless scenes of convoys driving slowly thru the countryside, officers holding endless boring meetings on how to infiltrate German lines, or boring battle scenes.
If there's ONE thing Filipino war flicks are NOT it's boring! There's just so much action, carnage, mayhem, death, and violence that they rival any HK action film for the sheer amount of everything I just mentioned!!!

There are a few things that are standard to genre; They were made in the 80s or very early 90s. Most of them are totally no-holds-barred. They are nowhere to be found on DVD (legit DVD that is) and they were mostly (often only) released on VHS in Japan and Greece.

And one more thing that links these films together: They star several actors from a group of Westerners who stayed in the Philippines in the 80s. Some of these actors also starred in wild movies from Indonesia and some of them weren't even really actors but just happened to be at the right place at the right time when some Filipino film producer needed westerners for a film with "Americans" in it. Some of the actors were actually real actors who had starred in cheap movies in Italy and some (very few) had even been in American movies. The genre died out in the early 90s but some of these actors stayed on and still live in the Philippines (Nick Nicholson is one of them).

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, even most genre film fans don't know these films. Or even if they know them they don't give a rat's ass about them. Well, a couple of us know them and are gone on 'em! (i.e. enjoy them immensely). You can find us hanging out in the Filipino thread over at Dvdmaniacs. Anyway, I think that's enough for now, I'll probably write some incisive piece on all this shit later. Sufficient to say you should try and check out some of them. A good place to start is PHANTOM SOLDIERS (check the trailer in the above) directed by Teddy Page who unfortunately passed away in October (October 8, 2008). The film almost ventures into horror movie territory as the enemy is not only the Vietcong but also, as the title suggests, an army of ghostlike soldiers! Over-the-top entertainment guaranteed!!


  1. Good man, Jack. I got Phantom Soldiers about a year ago, but I haven't seen it yet. I need a new VHS that can take NTSC, so I'll see it then.

    - Last Cinema

  2. Thanks! Well, what ya waiting for? Get one! LOL

    Btw, I have PHANTOM SOLDIERS on BOTH Japenese vhs AND bootleg dvd from the UK! :-)