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DVD, Movie Review

Review: Jungle Heat [Dir: Jobic Wong – 1985]

Ah, the notorious ‘Jungle Heat’. This is a film that’s been on my radar for a while and I always held off buying it because the UK release is cut by about 2 minutes, and I didn’t really want to shell out for an import version, but when I saw the shoddy (and cut) 23rd Century release on eBay (coupled with a Richard Harrison Ninja movie) for a quid, I bought it. How could I not?

So anyway, the story centers around the US military in the final days of ‘Nam recruiting a group of local soliders to drive supplies through V.C territory. Sam ‘Flash Gordon’ Jones is given the task of training them and is ordered not to tell the poor sods just how dangerous the mission will be.

Yeah it doesn’t go well…

Let’s start off with what I can gather is the reason and method is behind the Sam Jones scenes; This isn’t a case of Godfrey Ho syndrome, there’s no cutting and pasting of two separate movies, although it does feel like it sometimes. There are two versions of ‘Jungle Heat’, there’s the international version that features the Sam Jones scenes, obviously to appeal to the giant western fandom of Sam Jones…And there’s the Taiwainese version called ‘Last Breath’, which is the same movie, sans Sam Jones. Although you do wonder just how long they waited before shooting Jones’ scenes, as the main character of the film suddenly grows a ‘tash whenever Jones is near.

As for other familiar faces, Tan Tao Liang stars as one of the soldiers but unfortunately doesn’t get much of a chance to show off his trademark kicking skills, although he does give one V.C  a rather sudden and comedic boot to the chops. Ping-Ao Wei of ‘Fist Of Fury/Way Of The Dragon’ fame turns up in an almost extended cameo and features in one of the movie’s most notorious scenes. He lures a couple of the recruits to a gambling den where they are tied up and have gasoline poured over them, all the while a rat is set on fire and they all take bets on who the rat will run to and eventually burn to death. Yes lovely, and yes they did use a real rat. And thankfully this is one scene I’m glad is cut.

As for the other infamous scene where a guy has his head sliced open and acid poured into it and then…Well, just watch it for yourself…

I love how this scene is so ridiculous, yet it still manages to be disturbing despite it’s mystifying climax.

So anyway, did I like ‘Jungle Heat’? I did as a matter of fact, I had read that the film is a bit of a chore, that the only thing going for it was it’s most notorious moments. But I didn’t think so really, yeah it takes a while to get going but once it does I found it a fun, trashy, cheap & cheerful war movie (and at times pretty damn hilarious thanks to one of the best dub tracks i’ve heard in a while) .

Plus, after all of the violence and carnage it throws at you it actually has the balls to end on a massive downer. Nope, there’s no righteous resolution or hope to be left with here. Just misery. And Sam Jones.


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