Tuesday, February 16, 2016

900th Blog! Attack Force Z

Well it starts again...the week that is. Taking some obscure films to view this week because some have been impressive while others have been fairly crappy. Whether it is a toss of a coin or a role of the die it makes for an interesting experience. Initially I was looking to a character actor of the name of John Phillip Law (Smog, Death Rides a Horse, Danger: Diabolik, Barbarella, Skidoo, The Last Movie, Doctor Justice, Tarzan, The Ape Man and Space Mutiny) when I find he, like many of his peers was engaged to a war picture, this time it is a WWII movie but not in the typical sense of against the Germans. In fact commandos are making a search and rescue attempt for survivors of a downed plane courtesy of the Imperial Japanese Army. This is Attack Force Z.

That's right.  Still mad about the Goose.

A five man squad of the elite Z Special Unit or Z Force is a joint Australian, British and New Zealand commando unit that fought primarily against the Imperial Japanese Army, mostly doin recon and sabotage missions. Our team is led by the rookie officer Captain Paul Kelly (Mel Gibson of Mad Max, The Bounty, The River, Lethal Weapon, Braveheart, Signs and The Expendables 3) who is dispatched from a sub via kayaks. Yeah, these cats paddle almost five miles to the island, hit land and conceal their rides without even looking winded.

No sooner are the men on land that Kingo (John Waters of Rush, Breaker Morant, All Saints, Stealth, Underbelly and Offspring)takes a bullet right in the knee (insert Skyrim joke) thus shattering it. Not being able to carry on as well as he cannot be discovered by the Japanese, his mate Costello (Sam Neill of Amerika, Dead Calm, The Hunt for Red October, Until the End of the World, Jurassic Park, In the Mouth of Madness, Event Horizon and And Then There Were None) light and shares a smoke with Kingo, they chat a bit and then Costello offs him. Above all else the mission must remain secret. The remaining four five find a rice farmer to point them in the right direction and for his trouble he is also silenced.


Our team have to navigate around the jungles of the island (Taiwan), evade the Japanese squads and find out if in fact there are any survivors of the plane crash. With time, lack of man and firepower, our boys are in a bit of a pickle. Can the fellas get in, get the survivors and be on their way?

A few bits of trivia about our movie now. The script was based on an actual commando raid called Project Opossum where a team of commandos snuck out a sultan from the Imperial Japanese Army held control over Ternate next to Borneo. The entire movie was constantly under the cruelty of Mother Nature as it rained almost the whole six weeks of production. This is the only war movie ever directed by Tim Burstall (Stork, Libido, Three Old Friends, End Play, The Last of the Knucklemen, Duet for Four, The Naked Country and Kangaroo).

Despite its dark tone, casual thought to the loss of human life and that these men had to just say the hell with feelings and compassion and be professional, this was an exciting movie, filled with action, tough calls and some decent delving into the human psyche. I am still snickering because Gibson and Neill look so damn baby faced in this 1982 creation.

Whadda mean wax on, wax off??!!  Just ain't funny, pal.