Saturday, 25 February 2017

THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA (Philippines 1985) [REVIEW]

Original Filipino English title: The Sangley Point Robbery
aka American High Commando


VHS / Greece / fullscreen / English dub / Greek subs / uncut afaik
300 dpi hi-res scan


Dir: Manuel 'Fyke' Cinco

I'm not even sure if I should post this review on my When the Vietnam War Raged... in the Philippines blog or on my Backyard Asia blog! Hell, maybe I'll do both!

The thing is, the latter is a blog about wild and crazy Asian films and the first is dedicated to Vietnam War flicks made in the Philippines. And Manuel "Fyke" Cinco's THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA is part Vietnam War flick - kinda without actually being a Vietnam War flick - and part wild and crazy Asian movie!

Most of these Filipino Vietnam War films are filmed in the Philippines but they're set in the Vietnam War which took place in, well, Vietnam, obviously. But this film, while it does take place during the Vietnam War, and while it does star an soldier who's just been fighting in the Viet Cong, the film is actually set in the Philippines! And lots of wild and crazy stuff take place! But, hey, it's been a long while since I wrote my last review of a Filipino Vietnam War movie and I'm stalling. Grab your beer and let's get going with the plot.

1971. An American soldier in Vietnam is captured and tortured by the Viet Cong. The soldier is played by a gwilo called James Acheson that I've never seen in any  other film but who, according to the bloody IMDb, was also in the  Vietnam War movie P.O.W. THE ESCAPE from 1986. The Viet Cong's got his girlfriend and they're going, "If you don't tell us what we want to know we're gonna off yer girlfriend". The soldier knows bloody well he's out of luck so he goes, "Fuck you and fuck the horse you rode in on". Fortunately, his mates arrive just in time to save him and kill the Viet Cong. Unfortunately, they've already off'ed his gf. After this he's a mental wreck and the army send him to a US base in the Philippines.





In the Philippines Rudy Fernandez plays a cop who kills a bad dude in the line of duty and decides to the force as a result. The bad dude's brother is obviously pissed off and asks one of his henchmen to off the cop but the henchman dude misses his mark and shoots the cop's dad instead. The cop, who's really a good law-abiding feller, then decides to participate in a bank robbery in order to pay for his dad's operation. He's got a wife and a girlfriend and neither of them are happy about the situation (!).

The ex cop and his posse of misfits plan to hit the American bank at the army base (!!) and needless to say it all goes terribly wrong. In the middle of the robbery a ton of American soldiers start shooting at them (what did they expect!), and the American solder who returned from Nam, his gf works at the bank and the ex cop and his gang kidnap her to use as a shield. They let her go soon enough but it still leaves her completely traumatised (quite funny actually, earlier on in the film she said to the soldier, who had experienced heinous things in Vietnam and had seen his ex girlfriend get killed in front of him, "you gotta leave all this behind and move on". Well, obviously she didn't handle being kidnapped for half an hour too well as she ends up traumatised in a wheelchair!). The ex Nam soldier decides to go on a revenge spree and starts to hunt down the cop and his mates one by one.





This is a quick run down of the plot and there's a lot that I'm omitting. THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA is a wild and obscure film - but also slow in places and talkative. Obscure because the film doesn't stay in just one genre. It's part Vietnam War movie, part cop flick, part vigilante film, and it's part ... crazy Asian. It's not least obscure because we've actually got two main characters, the ex Vietnam soldier turned vigilante - and the ex cop turned bank robber. Neither of them are bad and as a viewer we feel for both of them. It's a dilemma and makes for a different and captivating storytelling in a genre that, despite being entertaining, is often more straight forward than straight forward.

In addition to  Rudy Fernandez I also noticed a few other well known faces, Nick Nicholson, David Light, and a few more. You can check the complete credits list on Andrew Leavold's blog.

Highly recommended.


VERSION REVIEWED: Greek ex-rental VHS. Fullscreen, English dub, Greeke subtitles, good picture quality.


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