Missing in Action 2: The Beginning is a 1985 action adventure film, and a prequel to Missing in Action (1984), both of which star Chuck Norris. It was directed by Lance Hool, and written by Steve Bing, Larry Levinson and Arthur Silver.
Missing in Action 2: The Beginning was filmed back to back with the original Missing in Action and was originally intended to be the first film of the two. But according to Joseph Zito, director of what was to become Missing in Action, it was decided that the sequel was a much better film and would be a more successful first film.
Consequently, Cannon just switched titles and release dates so that the planned sequel was released first, and the planned first film was released as a prequel.
It was followed by another sequel, Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988), featuring the same character, but with a stand-alone screenplay.
Ten years before freeing the US POWs from a brutal General, Colonel James Braddock (Chuck Norris) was held in a North Vietnamese POW camp run by sadistic Colonel Yin (Soon-Teck Oh), who forces the POWs to grow opium for a French drug runner named François (Pierre Issot), and tries to get Braddock to admit to and sign a long list of war crimes. During his team’s time in captivity, they are relentlessly subjected to various forms of humiliating torture, and Braddock being told that his wife has left him and remarried.
Franklin, another US POW, starts to suffer from malaria, and Braddock exchanges an admission of guilt to Yin’s charges of war crimes for medicine for the infected soldier. Yin breaks his deal with Braddock, and gives the soldier a lethal dose of opium. Enraged, Braddock escapes from the camp, plots to free his fellow prisoners and destroy the prison camp. Yin then betrays François, taking control of his drug ring.
Braddock inflicts several losses against Yin’s men, leading to Yin’s second-in-command to dress a Vietnamese soldier as Colonel Yin and shoot him in an attempt to lure Braddock into the open. Braddock notices that the decoy is not wearing Yin’s boots, and proceeds to kill Yin’s men. Eventually, Braddock fights Yin hand to hand in Yin’s quarters. Subduing Yin, Braddock escorts the prisoners to an awaiting helicopter although not before igniting explosive charges planted around Yin’s quarters.
- Chuck Norris as Colonel James Braddock.
- Soon-Tek Oh as Colonel Yin.
- Steven Williams as Captain David Nester.
- Bennett Ohta as Captain Ho.
- Cosie Costa as Lieutenant Anthony Mazilli.
- Joe Michael Terry as Corporal Lawrence Opelka.
- Christopher Cary as Emerson.
- John Wesley as Master Sergeant Ernest Franklin.
- David Chung as Dou Chou.
- Professor Toru Tanaka as Lao.
- Sergio Kato as Stunt Double.
- 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): Lance Hool.
- Producer(s): Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus.
- Writer(s): Arthur Silver, Larry Levinson, and Steve Bing.
- Music: Brian May.
- Cinematography: Jorge Stahl Jr.
- Editor(s): Mark Conte and Marcus Manton.
- Production: Cannon Films.
- Distributor(s): MGM.
- Release Date: 01 March 1985.
- Running time: 95 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English and Vietnamese.