Titles: Fantasy Mission Force, Fire Dragon
Years: 1982, 1986 respectively
Got Them For: $1.25 each, $5 set of four movies
There are a couple of friends I have who only get together every couple of months, as the one common friend that links us – the one whose house we use a vast majority of the time – attends school in another part of the province. For a few meetings, one of these friends told me the tale of the “Jackie Chan Action Pack,” which he had picked up for five dollars God knows where. None of the movies had Jackie Chan in any soert of leading role, and my friend had managed to sit through one movie, Fantasy Mission Force. Naturally I was intrigued. For months I demanded to see this set of DVDs. Finally, my persistance was rewarded and he gave me the set free of charge.
Oh boy. This set is a cheap bargain title and it shows from the minimal menu (stating the titles of the two movies on the disc and playing a twenty second clip of music that sounds suspiciously like “25 or 6 to 4 over and over again) to the hilariously poorly written synopsis of each movie on the back, two of which give away the endings of the movie.
We’re just going to cover two of the movies here; though honestly they’re almost the exact same thing. No literally. Fantasy Mission Force is probably the most bizarre comedy I’ve ever seen in my life. It apparently takes place in World War II, where a group of rag-tag fighters with over-the-top personalities are recruited to find a case of money stolen by “the Japs.” Their words, not mine. Along the way they encounter a haunted house, a village of warrior amazon women led by Tuxedo Mask, and Nazis driving Mad Max style muscle cars. The movie is completely insane and completely entertaining (if you can take some light hearted racism and violence against women). Jackie Chan plays a theif who ends up helping our main heroes a few times along the way, and even defeats the big baddie at the end.
Our second movie on the docket is Fire Dragon. I had no idea what was going on throughout quick cutting and murderous midgets hiding in cakes, so I’ll just let the back of the box explain it.
“During a war, the intelligence group of the country several members of the commitee to form a team to steal the seret file from the enemy’s army base. Among the members of the team are prisoner, famous theives and great fighters. Their destination is the Island of the Women Warriors. Unfortunately they are trapped on an island. Will they be able to succeed with their mission? Or will they discover something so unbelieveable about their own intelligence group?”
Sound familiar? It should, 80% of Fire Dragon is stock footage of Fantasy Mission Force, making it almost impossible to review this movie on its own merits. The filmmakers spliced in shots of two other actors and some body doubles and very poorly tried to disguise the fact that some of the actors in were not the same as those in other parts of the movie made from the butchered FMF (including a shot from behind “Jackie Chan”). It’s so horrible that in one scene the FMF characters meet up with the two being shot for Fire Dragon and even through the silhouette disguising their faces it is obvious the Jeep the FMF chracters are riding in changed colour. Ugh, I’m getting confused again…it’s hard to believe a movie that’s made almost entirely of a movie I’ve already seen is so hard to understand.
Fire Dragon is absolutely painful, and the only redeeming qualities are the hilariously awesome dub done for the hero (the one actually shot for Fire Dragon) and hearing the Psycho shower music during a flashback scene.