In the action film arena, the Vietnam War has been relived ad infinitum.
Somehow unable to concede defeat, the film industry has inflicted on the American public an array of movies dealing with either rescuing MIAs and POWs, the bonding of mercenaries who were platoon buddies in 'Nam, an influx of crime into America by former Viet Cong and American traitors, or a
combination thereof. While falling neatly into this cinematic scheme, SOLDIER'S FORTUNE at least conceals its hand for awhile.
When a rich teen, Jennifer Alexander (Cynthia Guyer), is abducted and her best friend slain, Jennifer's mother Susan (Barbara Bingham) contacts her not-so-beloved ex-husband, begs him to leave a military ruckus in Central America and asks his help in retrieving her child. After informing her ex,
Robert E. Lee Jones (Gil Gerard), that the kidnapped teen is actually his daughter, the dumbstruck career soldier embraces instant fatherhood and complies. Rounding up a motley crew of former Vietnam comrades, Jones agrees to follow the abductors' orders. What no one realizes is that Susan's
trustworthy assistant Debra (P.J. Soles) had led both teenage girls into a trap, which is part of a larger ambush set for Jones and company.
While Debra's motive is cash, her accomplice Colonel Blair (Charles Napier) hopes to wipe out the good guys who gave him so much grief over in South East Asia. Aided by the dead adolescent's vengeful sister Alex Prichard (Janus Blythe), an Air Force officer, the male crew thwarts an attempt by
their nemeses to snatch the ransom without releasing Jennifer. In the shrapnel-spraying showdown, the bad guys trot out Debra, dressed in Jennifer's cheerleading outfit, and blow her away. Not fooled by this masquerade, Jones tricks Colonel Blair with a rigged bag of ransom money before finishing
him off. Choking to death Blair's main henchman, Rojas (Orestes Matacena), who tortured him and Jones back in 'Nam, the mountainous T. Max (George "Buck" Flower) achieves a catharsis at last. Not only do the original Vietnam buddies survive but Jennifer is happily reunited with her parents who
decide to give their relationship one more chance.
The tricky revenge manuevers manufactured by Blair and company in SOLDIER'S FORTUNE are divertingly complicated, and the action sequences are competently directed. These virtues, coupled with some tangy acting from the villains, allow this actioner to rise above the level of an average TV action
series. In some ways, SOLDIER'S FORTUNE is "Combat" with more graphic violence or "Tour of Duty" with less philosophizing. Perhaps it is closest in spirit to "The A-Team" only without that show's cohesive ensemble.
In its favor, SOLDIER'S FORTUNE hoodwinks its audience into thinking it's witnessing a tangled kidnapping plot when it is actually on the sidelines of another replay of the Vietnam War. Further distracting us from the Battle of the Mercenaries is the clever way the film casts doubts on Susan's
guilty-looking second husband and by its springing of the double-cross engineered by Susan's two-faced secretary. Better yet, the film dares to plop a feminist heroine right in the middle of the male-dominated adventure. Not only does Alex hold her own but also she's the one to rescue her
counterparts on occasion.
Punched up with numerous demolitions and nifty special forces equipment gadgetry, this macho action film brings the Vietnam War to the streets of America where Yankee bravado and caginess naturally result in victory. Reassuringly, the film informs audiences that we lost the real war due to jungle
foliage and the treachery of turncoats like Colonel Blair. (Extreme violence, profanity.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: In the action film arena, the Vietnam War has been relived ad infinitum. Somehow unable to concede defeat, the film industry has inflicted on the American public an array of movies dealing with either rescuing MIAs and POWs, the bonding of mercenaries who… (more)