• Braddock: Missing in Action III

    Released by: Shout! Factory
    Released on: March 15th, 2016
    Director: Aaron Norris
    Cast: Chuck Norris, Aki Aleong, Yehuda Efroni, Roland Harrah
    Year: 1988
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    The Movie

    This third and arguably best film in the Missing in Action franchise arrives on Blu-Ray here courtesy of Shout Factory, a fact which should please diehard fans of over the top 80s action films.

    Braddock: Missing in Action III was produced by Cannon (of course!), and directed by Aaron Norris, brother of series star Chuck. This was the first time the siblings would collaborate on a film, the beginnings of a creative partnership which would last right on through the following two decades. The younger Norris would take over leadership duties on the film after the original Missing in Action director Joseph Zito-he of Red Scorpion and The Prowler fame-dropped out shortly after starting production, yet this third entry shows little to no signs of shakiness from this fan favorite franchise.

    Sure, continuity errors abound-if Braddock was a POW starting in 1972, there's absolutely no way he could've been free here at the film's beginning during the fall of Saigon-and enthusiasm may have dimmed on the series by this point, yet Missing in Action III ticks all the right buttons when it comes to the style of overkill and energy fans of the series had come to expect. What's more, there are also moment of actual tenderness and emotion which demand legitimate acting chops from Chuck and crew.

    These deal specifically with the film's plot of Braddock returning to Vietnam in order to rescue the wife he thought dead, and the son he never knew from hostile territory. There's once particular scene early on when Norris and his family are reunited which is quite successful in its intent on both humanizing Braddock, as well as giving us even more of a reason to be invested in the action.

    Speaking of which, Braddock's family gathering is sadly short lived, as he's forced to face off against a ruthless General, who is determined to make the former POW's life a living hell. At this point, it's a fight for survival and freedom as the film ramps up the torture, tension and action set pieces to an explosive climax. Aaron Norris keeps things moving briskly from first shot to last, aided by Maniac and Star Trek composer Jay Chattaway's symphonic and electronic score. There's also a straight faced, inspirational pair of rock tracks layered on with the sort of nationalistic cheese which could've only been composed here in the late eighties.


    Shout Factory's Blu-Ray of Braddock: Missing in Action III is presented in the film's original 1.85:1, anamorphic widescreen print which looks sharp and detailed. The print here looks exponentially better than the budget DVDs which line retail racks, while the DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo track is nicely balanced between dialogue (live and ADR) and Chattaway's score. Sadly, there are zero extras to be had here, making this a bare bones, but affordable Blu-Ray purchase.

    The Final Word

    Braddock: Missing in Action III is tons of fun, especially if you dig Cannon culture or 80s action in general. The Norris brothers work well together, and the moments of touching sentimentality actually work wonders in making this second sequel one which bucks the trilogy curse.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. moviegeek86's Avatar
      moviegeek86 -
      Easily my favorite of the MIA trilogy. Chuck is in great form and the action sequences are top notch. I love it when Chuck blasts the would be pedophile in the stomach with a grenade launcher. Great stuff!Joe Zito's film is actually my least favorite of the three. I know Cannon switched the films because it was felt Lance Hool's film was inferior but I felt it was more entertaining.
    1. Paul L's Avatar
      Paul L -
      I've got the German BD release of this. Probably my favourite out of the three films; certainly it's the one I remember the most vividly from my VHS viewings in the 1980s - I think I must have watched this one numerous times on videocassette.