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Braddock: Missing In Action III (Blu-ray Review)

BraddockIt’s a fact: the explosive Chuck Norris thrillers Invasion U.S.A. and Braddock: Missing in Action III  are coming to Blu-ray! These action packed Cannon Pictures classics make their Blu-ray debuts March 15th, 2016 from Shout! Factory.  This is the final chapter in the action-packed Missing In Action trilogy, directed by Chuck’s brother, Aaron Norris (stunt coordinator on both Missing In Action and Missing In Action 2: The Beginning).  Fans can pre-order their copies now by visiting ShoutFactory.com  Also note, that while there are no bonus features on this disc, special features related to Braddock: Missing In Action III are found on the Invasion USA release.

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Film Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0Dexter-0

When Colonel James Braddock is told that his wife and 12-year-old son are still alive in Communist Vietnam, he mounts a one-man assault to free them. Armed with the latest high-tech firepower, Braddock fights his way into the heart of the country, and ends up battling his way out with several dozen abused children in tow. Struggling to keep the kids protected while outmaneuvering the sadistic Vietnamese officer General Quoc, Braddock ignites the jungles in a blazing race for freedom.

Even with just a mere three movies, the Missing In Action series is a bit of a confusing one to get through.  Any way you shake it, this third entry should be the last one you watch.  Though, maybe not.  The original film actually ended up being the second film.  They went out to shoot two movies back to back and depending on who you talked to either Joseph Zito convinced Cannon that his film would be the better, more successful starting point or that Paramount didn’t like the first film and passed on it.  While the second one serves as a prequel, it was indeed intended to be the first film.  As such, you can watch this series out of order and get the true idea of what was planned.

Almost  hilariously, this one does some retroactive continuity right from the start.  We get a new series of events set in the time before James Braddock was taken as a POW.  We find that he not only has a wife in this one, but he has a kid as well.  And guess what?  They’ve been taken prisoner in Vietnam!  Shocker, I know.  Once again, Braddock must face the depths of the Vietcong and rescue his family.  How many times will this tortured man be tormented and have to risk himself going back?

Braddock’s third turn to wreak havoc and kick all sorts of ass in Vietnam was a box office bomb and brought a close to Norris’ big franchise.  It was also sort of the beginning of the not so much end, but more mediocrity, less clout for him.  Stallone, Schwarzenegger and soon Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van-Damme would take over.  Just around the corner was Top Dog, Side Kicks and Walker: Texas Ranger.  Norris pulls off more of the same with this entry into the action series.  Though, I believe the weaponry, vehicular violence and explosions are all a bit bigger and more present than previous.  So, its been amped up appropriately.

People are probably quick to dismiss this one, but honestly I had some fun.  By no means is it a good movie, but its a another one of those beer and popcorn movies that Chuck Norris is one of the kings at making.  However, this one is charming and nobly dumb and unintentionally hilarious.  Its played straight so everything is genuine.  While a family aspect is brought on, this is still pretty hard R.  Its got everything you want on the imaginary Chuck Norris checklist for one of his movies, so not a complete failure.  Just stupid, dumb fun.

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Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Of all the Missing In Action films, this transfer from Shout! Factory on the third entry may be the very best.  The image is clean and pretty sharp given the age and cheapness of the film.  Detail on jungles and interiors do look pretty good for what we have.  Chuck doesn’t sport a thick beard in this one, but his facial hair is detailed enough to show you this fact.  A very nice image and fans should be pretty happy.

Depth:  Decent depth work.  Spacing is solid and movements are cinematic and smooth.

Black Levels:  Blacks come on pretty solid.  No crushing witnessed.  In very dark sequences, detail does get lost, but its not really too big of a deal with how much.

Color Reproduction:  Green.  That’s pretty much the dominant color in the entire series and it looks quite good here.  Orange is another highlight thanks to fiery explosions.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and carry that look throughout.  Facial details prove to be good in close-ups but not much to make out in further removed shots.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain and dirt/specs, but very minimal.

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Audio Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Like the video, this audio track is also the best of the series on Blu-ray.  Whereas those had 1.0 mono tracks, we’re treated to 2.0 here.  This mix is a lot louder, impactful and in your face with the action than its predecessors.  Effects are loud, layers and booming.  The mix is also plenty loose creating space and balance between the film’s score, effects and vocals.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is plenty loud, with much clarity.

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Extras Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0

Braddock: Missing In Action III contains no extras.  However, the theatrical trailer for the film as well as an interview with the film’s writer appears on the Shout! Factory Blu-ray for Invasion USA.

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Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0Dexter-0

Braddock: Missing In Action III is pretty much up to snuff with what you have in the first two films, with just a little extra cheese on it.  It’s interesting this series never made some sort of comeback or got remade as all the entries were rather inexpensive and profitable (Sans this third one).  But, I also like that James Braddock stays where he pretty much only could belong and exist; the 1980s.  The presentation here is pretty terrific.  In an odd decision, Shout! Factory has decided not to include any bonus material on this film, even though their other Chuck Norris Blu-ray coming out the same day has bonus material for this film on it.  Oh well, I guess they suppose most people will buy both or if you’re going to buy one Chuck Norris Blu-ray, its going to be Invasion USA.  Still, if you have the first two Missing In Action films, you might as well complete the series with this one.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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