It is the third and final installment in the Missing in Action series.
The film stars Chuck Norris, who co-wrote the screenplay with James Bruner. The film was directed by Norris’ brother, Aaron Norris.
Colonel James Braddock (Chuck Norris), Vietnam War veteran, had believed his Asian wife Lin Tan Cang (Miki Kim) to be dead since the war ended in 1975, but he hears from a missionary, Reverend Polanski (Yehuda Efroni), that Lin is not only alive, but that she and Braddock have a 12-year-old son named Van Tan Cang (Roland Harrah III).
At first, Braddock does not believe it, but when cold-blooded CIA boss Littlejohn (Jack Rader) tells Braddock to disregard that information, that’s when Braddock knows it is true. Braddock heads back into Vietnam through parachute deployment and with the help of an Australian C-47 pilot. After parachute descent, Braddock outruns Vietnamese Navy patrol boats with a jet-powered speedboat.
Reverend Polanski leads Braddock to Lin and Van. Attempting to flee the country, Braddock, Lin, and Van are captured by the soldiers of the sadistic Vietnamse General Quoc (Aki Aleong). Quoc kills Lin on the spot, and has his soldiers take Braddock and Van to a compound to be tortured.
Later, Braddock overpowers his guards, frees Van, and heads for the mission that is run by Polanski. Quoc anticipates the move and takes all the mission children into captivity, along with Van and Polanski, and Braddock sets out to free them all from Quoc by going to his weapons cache that he had hidden a few days prior. He equips himself with a modified Heckler & Koch G3 battle rifle with an underslung 6-shot rotary grenade launcher and attachments including a spring-loaded bayonet. He raids the camp killing the guards and loading up one of the trucks with all the children including his son, Van and the Reverend. Soon after escaping they are followed and attacked by a Vietnamese-captured US UH-1 Huey.
After they escape Braddock takes the children on foot and find a Vietnamese airstrip. Braddock silently takes out the guards and hijacks a C-47 Dakota plane. The plane is then attacked by Vietnamese guards causing fuel to leak out of the plane, eventually crashing just outside the Cambodian-Thailand border. Braddock then raids the border station where Thai and US troops are watching on the other side, cheering Braddock on. When Braddock kills all the opposing troops, more pour in. Braddock is injured by a grenade. When General Quoc then flies in on a Vietnamese Mil-24 Hind gunship thinking he has Braddock all to himself, two US helicopters on the side of the Thai border confront Quoc’s gunship. Taunting each other to cross, Braddock and his son Van fire at Quoc’s ship, hitting the pilot. The gunship crashes, killing Quoc. The US troops pour over the border and bridge and help the wounded Braddock and the children.
- Chuck Norris as Colonel James Braddock.
- Aki Aleong as General Quoc.
- Keith David as Embassy Gate Captain.
- Roland Harrah III as Van Tan Cang.
- Miki Kim as Lin Tan Cang.
- Yehuda Efroni as Rev. Polanski.
- The name of Braddock was inspired by The Graduate character, Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman.
- The producers’ idea was to create a Vietnam War hero with the name of a lazy Californian student.
- The concept for the film originated from a treatment, written by James Cameron in 1983, for the film Rambo: First Blood Part II that was floating around Hollywood at the time.
- This explains the similar plotlines between Rambo franchise and Missing in Action series.
- Representatives from Cannon Group said Cameron’s script served as inspiration to the film and subsequently produced and released the first two Missing in Action films two months before the release of Rambo: First Blood Part II, in order to avoid copyright violation lawsuits.
- Norris later dedicated these films to his younger brother Wieland. Wieland, a private in the 101st Airborne Division, had been killed in June 1970 in Vietnam while on patrol in the defence of Firebase Ripcord.
Production & Filming Details
- Director(s): Aaron Norris.
- Producer(s): Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus.
- Writer(s): James Bruner and Chuck Norris.
- Music: Jay Chattaway.
- Cinematography: Joao Fernandes.
- Editor(s): Michael J. Duthie.
- Production: Cannon Films.
- Distributor(s): Cannon Films, MGM, and Paramount Pictures.
- Release Date: 22 January 1988.
- Running time: 103 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English and Vietnamese.