Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988)
By: Devon B. on February 9, 2015 | Comments
Ascot Elite | Region B | 1.85:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 | 103 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Aaron Norris
Stars: Chuck Norris, Aki Aleong, Yehuda Efroni, Roland Harrah III
Writers: James Bruner, Chuck Norris
Country: USA
Most of the world was deprived a HD version of the first two Missing in Action films when MGM got all dicky and licensed them exclusively to the States' version of Big W. Those lucky enough to procure copies were probably disappointed that Braddock: Missing in Action III didn't materialise as well. Luckily Ascot Elite, who also helped us out with the Ninja films, took it upon themselves to right this grievous wrong, and people don't even have to shop at Wal-Mart to get Braddock.

Poor Chuck sure had a lot of shit go wrong on his tour in Vietnam. This time the viewer finds out that Norris' love life was in dire straits back then. First Chuck gave his partner a bit of jewellery so crap that maybe he let his friend Ash from Evil Dead pick it out. Second, the lovers got separated and Chuck thought she was dead because of a mix up due to the same shitty bracelet. Years later Chucky finds out she's alive and a POW, so he has no choice but to go all Rambo: First Blood Part II and get her back himself.

Norris isn't my favourite action star, but when he's got a ridiculous enough script he can deliver the most gloriously stupid and hysterically jingoistic action movies the world has seen. To ensure he was in with a chance to create another corker, Norris got his brother Aaron to direct and re-enlisted the screenwriter of the first Missing in Action to co-write the script with him. That latter one might seem like a problem because Missing in Action wasn't a big achievement as an action movie, but Norris clearly steered things in the right direction so that the action moments are more evenly dispersed in this installment. Norris made sure he got plenty of opportunity to make things explode, but also manages to add some hoo-ha to the mix. That's always a good thing for me because I'm much more interested in Norris' karate chops than his acting ones. Script wise Braddock offers up at least one unexpected turn in the plot, but also makes sure to include more likely plot developments such as Norris losing his shirt and running around bare chested for a while.

One thing that's intriguing about the Missing in Action series is the little tit-for-tats it has going on with the First Blood series. I outlined some of the cross pollination in my Missing in Action 2 review, and there were more developments on that front with Braddock. Here Norris takes the blowing up of one villain to a hilarious conclusion, upping the ante on Rambo: First Blood Part II by making the exploding baddie a paedophile. Years later Sylvester Stallone would revisit this idea in Rambo, but I'm not sure if he raised the stakes or not because the molestation angle in Rambo was much more subtly done than the one in Braddock. Tasteful Braddock's display of adult to minor attraction is not, but there aren't any bad words so Norris legacy of family friendly right wing actioners remains intact.

It's rare that the third film in a trilogy is a contender for the best in the series, but Braddock probably is the best and most even of the Missing in Action movies. It's still total nonsense, but better pacing makes Braddock stand out as one of Norris' best.
The Disc
The film has some edge enhancement, and the print has some spots and sometimes looks a bit washed out, but overall this is a solid transfer that has some moments of wonderful clarity and detail. The English track is a nice, clean representation of the film's audio. The German track sometimes seemed very comparable to the English, but sometimes it had a muffled tinny quality. Strangely, the English audio sounded louder in some scenes, whereas the German audio seemed louder in the others. It's a shame there're no German subs, because the English audio is the better track, but that won't matter to native English speakers like me, just to German speakers in the territory this disc was released in. The extras aren't terribly exciting, just English and German trailers and trailers for Ninja and the absolutely classic Ninja II. The only other extra is a reversible cover, with the alternate side sporting 80s artwork and no FSK rating. I really wish that the first two M.I.A.s had reversible covers because the original covers for these movies were so memorable and the reissue covers are generic Photoshop rubbish. At least Ascot got it right and gave fans the choice between modern and crappy or old school and fantastic.
The Verdict
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score
When a "serious" movie opens with a song so corny it would've fit in with the rest of the music in Team America: World Police, that right there is an indication that Chuck will be delivering the cheese, and Braddock does not disappoint. This is evidently the first time the movie's been available uncut with German audio, so that's a big plus for German fans, though they still deserved the option to watch the movie in its original language with German subtitles. The Blu-ray's not perfect for German speakers, but it gave me a good presentation of the film and the great 80s artwork flip cover made my Blu-ray collection instantly more awesome. Yay 80s!
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