(1984 / Philippines)
‘‘For those who disobey, punishment. That is the way it is !’’
The governor of the province has his home invaded by the rebels whilst holding a private function. Along with his two adult daughters the governor is forcibly taken away and delivered before the rebel force leader. Held to ransom for the Filipino government to concede to their demands, it is up to the military forces to initiate a counter strike in order to safely retrieve those abducted. Time to call up the Death Raiders !.
Rebellious Filipino jungle war fare in which a governor and his two daughters are taken hostage. An explosive opening montage of stock footage and pretty well staged pyrotechnics open proceedings on a high. Jungle combat dominates the screen with a glut of gun power and explosive grenade pitching. Watch towers explode, and a bridge is obliterated, as the Filipino national military corps take on the rebels in an ongoing plight for democracy.
The military big wigs assign a special rescue team, a unit of crack commandos called the Death Raiders. Given two weeks in order to seek out and rescue the governor and daughters before the rebels designated demands deadline comes to be.
Death Raiders is not the greatest example of low budget ‘B’ movie jungle goodness produced in the Philippines, and indeed for the greater part is a flaccid affair. There is neither a great bad guy to goad, nor any particular good guy to steal the show. The movie goes about its business pretty much by the numbers, plodding through a basic plot until its inevitable climax. There are though enough moments of explosive Action and hand to hand combat scenes to see the viewer through the entirety, if only to leave a feeling of being left under whelmed. It’s a one time drink from the trough for this pony, but the sub stallion ride isn’t completely without its giddy up moments.
Throwing the members of the Death Raiders together again serves up some fun as each of the main players gets his own moment of introduction. A minor play on the bringing together of The Magnificent Seven (1960). Tough guy Ray busts some nifty kung fu moves at a disco, as a local thug with his lackey’s foolishly pick a fight. Freddie sends a low life man handler, holding a young woman at gun point, to his final resting place as he acrobatically leaps through the air, deftly delivering a bullet directly to the forehead of the scumbag.
As the team of specialist comes together there is also a rewarding full on fist fight, and more martial arts mastery played out in a whorehouse, as Ray and Freddie help out their buddy Elmer rescue his girlfriend from a prostitution racket.
Proceedings are often peppered with Action scene moments akin to the old Harold Lloyd silent movie styled set up sequences. Well done, but somewhat odd in what is a movie portraying itself as a tough Actioner !?.
Following a fast track training camp, to make sure that the teams working parts are well tuned and their mental application is readjusted, the Death Raiders are back in tandem.
The team is helicopter parachute dropped into the general region of rebel activism within the Filipino jungle with orders to retrieve the governor and his two daughters with all due prejudice to any aggressors.
Arriving under cover of night the commandos soon uncover and surreptitiously sneak into the rebel leaders camp. They take out the perimeter guards using knives to keep things quiet, and bust a few heads with the butts of their guns for any others in their path. The alarm is inevitably raised though and it soon becomes open season, with guns and grenades fuelling a fight for freedom.
With an unexpected assist from within the rebel ranks, Ray and Freddie, along with their fellow Death Raiders, round up the governor and his daughters, and make an immediate play to escape the enemy. It’s a frenzied fight to the finish line here on in as the rebel leader rounds up his own troops to stop the commando corps. Some furtively futile sequences of stupidity ensue as the audience is treated to formation death tolls, dutifully dollied up by rebels lining up in bunches of three to fives for some synchronised kills by the commandos. Just like shooting sitting ducks at a fairground these hapless rebels run out into the Death Raiders gun sights, like multiple swim teams, soon drowning in their own blood !.
Heavy artillery support brings wanton annihilation to multiples of straw huts, enveloped in explosive flames, and the destruction of innocent trees alike. An all out war that brings proceedings to a welcome Action ending.
Movie Rating: 4/10
Review Paul Cooke / Source Japanese NTSC VHS
Death Raiders (1984)
Director Segundo Ramos
With Johnny Wilson, George Pallance, George Estragan,
Ramon Zamora, Robert Lee, June Ariston,
Rodolfo Boy Garcia, Renato del Prado, Joel Alano,
Raquel Montesa & Nina Sarah