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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Braddock: Missing in Action III (Blu-ray)
Braddock: Missing in Action III (Blu-ray)
Shout Factory // R // March 15, 2016 // Region A
List Price: $26.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted March 16, 2016 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

The third and final film in the Missing In Action series, Braddock: Missing In Action III begins with a dramatic scene set at the end of the Vietnam War during the fall of Saigon. Colonel James Braddock (Chuck Norris) is hoping to escape the violent chaos of the conflict and return to America with his Vietnamese wife, Lin Tan Cang (Miki Kim) in tow. She's to meet him at the embassy but her purse, containing her paperwork, is stolen on the way there. Meanwhile, Braddock returns to her apartment to look for her and sees that it's been bombed. He assumes the charred corpse of the woman he sees belongs to Lin, and he heads home sad, alone and with a bullet in his shoulder.

Years later, a priest named Reverend Polanski (Yehuda Efroni) visits America on a brief reprieve working with Amerasian orphans in Vietnam. He finds Braddock and tells him that not only is Lin alive, but that he has a son with her. Braddock doesn't believe it but after talking to his contact at the C.I.A., LittleJohn (Jack Rader), he figures it must be true. Littlejohn warns him not to step on anyone's toes. Braddock's answer? "I don't step on toes, I step on necks." And with that, he's off.

He makes it to Thailand where, with some help from his old pal Mik (Ron Barker), he's flown across the border to Vietnam. Here he parachutes his way in, gets into a high speed coat chase with Vietnamese border patrol guards, and then makes landfall. A few minutes later and he finds Lin and the son he's only just learned he had, Van (Roland Harrah III). He rushes them out to try and get them to freedom but Lin is shot in the head by soldiers on the way and he and Van are taken into custody. But this won't stop Braddock… he'll fight his way out no matter the odds and maybe, just maybe, he'll save the orphans and defeat the evil General Quoc (Aki Aleong) along the way.

Directed by Chuck's brother Aaron Norris, Braddock: Missing In Action III spends the first hour of its hour and forty-three minute running time basically building the story. There's a bit of action here and there as we see Braddock get into a scrap in bar and take on the patrol that finds he and his family in the night time streets of the slum where Lin and Van live, but it's minor skirmish stuff. Once we hit the one hour mark, however, all bets are off and the grenade launcher comes out. There's a great scene here where Braddock becomes the one man army we've known he was all along, taking out guard towers, machine gun nests and scores of Vietnamese soldiers all by himself… it's action movie brilliance, realism be damned. If this one takes its time to really get going, the last half hour makes it all worthwhile.

The acting is about what you'd expect from an eighties era Cannon Films Chuck Norris vehicle. Miki Kim is decent enough as Lin, even if her character is a bit of a cliché, while Roland Harrah III does fine as Braddock's kid. There's tension between him and his father and the storyline tries to play it up, but it almost doesn't matter. Even if it adds depth, it's never that believable, but Harrah does fine. Rader is amusing as the stereotypical Han Solo style smuggler and Jack Rader doesn't embarrass himself as the tough talking supervisor. Aki Aleong chews as much scenery as he can as the film's lead villain but he's a lot of fun to watch in the role. Chuck's the star here, however, and while the guy has never had a whole lot of dramatic range and, predictably, comes across as a little flat in the moments involving family drama, he does a fine job kicking people and shooting people and blowing would be child rapists through the wall of a hut.

If it's about ten to fifteen minutes longer than it probably needs to be that's not a big deal. For the most part the pacing here is fine and some of the action and stunt set pieces are pretty damn impressive. Braddock: Missing In Action III isn't the best film Norris made for Cannon Films, but it's a pretty enjoyable over the top flag waving actioner that should please fans of the man.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

Braddock: Missing In Action III looks good on Blu-ray courtesy of Shout Factory's AVC encoded 1080p high definition 1.85.1 widescreen transfer. Some scenes look a little dirtier than others and some scenes look a bit grainier than others but overall the image is pretty strong even if a little more cleanup work could have been done here. Close ups show nice detail but even medium and long distance shots show considerably more texture and detail than was ever evident in the standard definition presentations we've had in the past. The colors look nice, especially in the jungle, while black levels stay strong and stable throughout. There's no evidence of noise reduction or heavy filtering nor is there any obvious edge enhancement or compression issues.

Sound:

The only audio option on the disc is an English language DTS-HD 2.0 track but it sounds quite good. Levels are nicely balanced and the music that is used throughout the movie is appropriately punchy sounding. There's good depth to the track and no problems with any hiss or distortion to note. Optional subtitles are provided in English only.

Extras:

No extras aside from static menus and chapter selection, not even a trailer.

Final Thoughts:

Braddock: Missing In Action III doesn't reinvent the wheel but it does what it does quite well. The hero is just that, a real man's man, while the villains are enjoyable over the top and despicable. The story takes a bit of time to hit its stride after the dramatic opening but it works and once we get to that last half hour, KABOOM! Shout! Factory's Blu-ray offers up a decent transfer and fine audio but unfortunately no extras of note at all. Still, it's easy to recommend this one to Chuck Norris and Cannon Films aficionados as it gives you pretty much exactly what you want from it.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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