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P.O.W. the Escape Reviews

Every war develops its own cinema, and Vietnam movies continue to arrive in every form--from big-budget, star-studded spectaculars like APOCALYPSE NOW and FULL METAL JACKET to B-movie fodder like this film. P.O.W. THE ESCAPE opens as Col. Cooper (David Carradine) leads a mission to rescue American prisoners of war from a secret camp in the last days of the war. The mission is botched, and Cooper ends up a prisoner himself. Commanding the camp is Capt. Vinh (Mako), who has a trunk full of gold bullion and another filled with watches and trinkets he has stolen from prisoners. With the war coming to an end, Vinh is eager to get to the US with his loot, and he proposes a deal to Cooper in which they will travel to Saigon, each the respective prisoner of the other--depending on where they are--until they reach the South Vietnamese capital. Cooper refuses to cooperate unless all the POWs are included, and eventually Vinh agrees. The route they take is fraught with danger, greed, and betrayal. Coming in an obscure fourth in the Vietnam-prisoner-rescue mission sweepstakes (after RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD II, the Chuck Norris MISSING IN ACTION films, and the Gene Hackman starrer UNCOMMON VALOR), P.O.W. THE ESCAPE has a few things going for it most of the others don't: it takes place during the war, so we don't have any of those one-man armies invading sovereign nations in time of peace; it has a fairly interesting performance by Carradine; and the film is technically quite good, making the most of obviously limited funds to create a passable Vietnam out of the Philippines.