Fantasy Mission Force (1983)
Film review #380
Director: Kevin Chu
SYNOPSIS: Four of the world’s top generals have been captured by Japanese forces. In order to rescue them, Lieutenant Don Wen assembles a squad of misfits to undertake the perilous mission. The squad must brave tribes, ghosts and Nazis in order to accomplish their mission, all the while being followed by Sammy and Lily, a pair of con-artists looking to get the reward that the squad have been promised…
THOUGHTS/ANALYSIS: Fantasy Mission Force is a 1983 action comedy film. The film opens up with a group of generals from different countries dressed in stereotypical uniforms being captured by Japanese forces (the Japanese are usually the enemy in Chinese films). The generals include the French “Pierre Retreat” (sly jab at the French there) and the American “Abraham Lincoln”. But this is only the start of the madness that this film throws at the viewer. We next see world leaders trying to formulate a rescue plan, looking through various people who might be able to pull it off, including 007, Snake Pliskin, and Rocky Balboa, all of whom are for some reason or another are unable to do it. With this in mind, Lieutenant Don Wen assembles a squad of the world’s most bizarre specialists in order to pull off the rescue. Alongside this, a pair of con-artists, Sammy and Lily, are following the group as they try and get a hold of the vast reward. The story, as you can probably tell from the outset, makes very little sense and is all over the place. I think the film is supposed to be set during WWII, which makes things even stranger when they bring up 007, Pliskin and Rocky who would not have even been alive then, alongside the vehicles definitely being not of the time period. As a comedy action film I suppose you can’t be too concerned about the integrity of the story, but it is so disjointed and all over the place that it is difficult not to pay attention to it.The story behind Jackie Chan being in the film is equally as strange, as the director apparently saved him from being killed in a mob hit, and Jackie Chan contributed to the film to pay him back.
The group eventually wanders into a tribe of women, who take them prisoner, leading them to escape to a house that is haunted by ghost and vampires, before finally reaching the Nazi outpost where the hostages are being held. Again, all these different settings and characters add up to a very surreal experience which, while full of variety, really have no connection to each other. The film also has musical numbers too, just to make things even weirder. Nevertheless, the characters all have their own personalities and roles to play, so that helps keeps things consistent if nothing else does. There’s the drinking cowboy-character, the arguing couple, the comedic relief characters and more who have their own distinctive ways. Another of the film’s positives is the martial arts choreography, which is fluid and fun, although dubbed with awful sound effects. Overall, it’s difficult to be to harsh on Fantasy Mission Force: it’s clearly a low budget picture so you can’t expect much, but it is full of so many nonsensical settings and bizarre characters that you can’t help but marvel at their overall ridiculousness. It certainly isn’t boring, and you can easily be entertained by looking for all the different elements that do not go together. Its a fun, if nonsensical, film.