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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Fantasy Mission Force (1982)

(aka: Dragon Attack)



Reviews and Comments

This is one of the most insane movies ever made. Within the first five minutes alone, there are wild explosions with unconvincingly dubbed screams, a heated argument amongst military generals about whether there are any Japanese forces in the area or not (as their attack on the camp is already in progress), some inexplicable pop culture humor, and a crazy musical number in a tavern, complete with Broadway-like choreography encompassing all the other patrons and employees, who do their best but are not very good at staying on the beat.

Then there's a prison riot and a swan dive off a cliff where a guy lands on allegedly solid rock and jumps up unharmed. But now I'm getting into the next five minutes of the movie.

This is one of Jackie Chan's earliest films, which he made after he became a star with Drunken Master but before he cemented that stardom with Police Story. The movie is a weird amalgam of things the writer and/or director apparently liked -- things as diverse as The Dirty Dozen, Benny Hill, and haunted houses, for instance -- and mashed them together into a single story, whether they made sense to combine or not. To top things off, musical cues are taken from Halloween, Planet of the Apes, and perhaps other sources as well. It's a well-stocked grab bag of pop culture tropes.

Skip this paragraph if you are already intrigued enough to seek the movie out. Here's a check list of what happens beyond the ten minute mark: a scam, a wrestling match, an arrest, a bribe, a drinking game where a woman gets her dress shot off by the contestants, a saloon brawl, a burglar hiding behind the curtains, a bizarre ambush, a bazooka blowing up a random building, a fast-motion slapstick routine with Chinese soldiers in kilts, a failed robbery, another ambush, somebody's pants getting pulled down, two guys getting stabbed in the rear, an exploding cigar, flying Amazons with deadly bedsheets, someone getting dragged behind galloping horses, a couple of Jackie Chan's signature fight scenes, the rescue of some guys being cooked in stewpots, massive explosions, a bunny-hopping vampiress, ghosts cheating at mah-jongg, a moving painting, disembodied arms that dispense toilet paper, a seductive skeleton, Nazi drag racers waving flares around, a bulldozer, and a climactic battle with machine guns and swords.

By no means is this a good movie, but how can I call it bad? It sets out to be gleefully over-the-top and succeeds beyond all expectations. Bad movie lovers take note.