Review: Death Force (USA/Philippines 1978)

Cirio Santiago week!

That was strangely classy for a Santiago movie. James Iglehart (Savage!) is strong as a Vietnam vet betrayed by his buddies and left to die on an island inhabited solely by Filipinos playing long lost Japanese WW2 soldiers. Joe Mari Avellana is weird as hell playing Japanese, it always sounds like he’s fighting to speak, but it’s an oddly engaging performance – his relationship with Iglehart is the heart of the film as he trains Iglehart in the way of the samurai while Santiago cuts between island life and the betrayers massacring their way to top. 

All leading to Iglehart’s kill-crazy, limb-lopping sword rampage when he makes it home and finds out that not only have these guys tried to kill him and conquered LA, they’re also after his wife (the beautiful Jayne Kennedy). It’s a little (a lot) too long, but Santiago gives the island scenes room to breath, and builds to a bananas climax.

Vic Diaz report: Blink and you’ll miss him as a member of the smuggling group working with the protagonists.

Does the plot involve saving someone’s sister? No, unless you count saving a soul sister.

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