"I'm gonna put your asses in a sling!"
I adore Bruno Mattei's films, I really really do. Only he can make schlock this entertaining. Made the same time as Born to Fight and Strike Commando 2, and with the same star Brent Huff, you know you are going to be getting some Vietnam War mayhem filmed in the Philippines and that can mean only one thing: exploding huts!
Not a straight-forward war movie like Phantom Soldiers or the previously mentioned Strike Commando's, there are scenes of urban action in this as well. From the beginning: some masked soldiers in American military uniforms attack and kill a member of the elite Cobra force while he's taking a bath. Obviously this looks bad for the American army so they want it dealt with quietly. That's when two cops, an American, Morgan (Brent Huff) and a Vietnamese, Hawk (Max Laurel) are brought in to find out who wants Cobra force dead and to deal with the situation outside of military jurisdiction.
That's the plot in a nutshell. I really don't need to explain much more do I? I'm sure you can picture it already, and what you picture is probably right on the money. Morgan and Hawk run around Saigon streets chasing informants through food markets. Morgan and Hawk get involved in a car chase that sees them flying over train tracks just in the nick of time. Morgan and Hawk burst through doors with artillery laying waste to half the Vietnamese army. When they make it into the jungle it gets even more explosive with rocket propelled grenades, helicopter mounted chain guns and exploding hut after exploding hut. That's also when the plot, such as it is, thickens as Morgan and Hawk learn new truths about who they are looking for.
Morgan: "Jesus Christ cock sucking mother fucking son of a bitch!"
Hawk: "You took the words right out of my mouth!"
It goes on like this for 90 minutes, barely stopping three times to visit the same nightclub to watch the same six people dancing. Oh and there's a smoking hot blonde informant that may be a Russian spy. Some of the plot doesn't make a great deal of sense, and the continued use of the Vietnam war theme - even though we clearly see late 1980's cars and clothing - has been seen and done a million times before, but it really doesn't matter. Seeing soldiers declare that the scenery is beautiful before tearing it up with mounted artillery never gets old. Bruno Mattei, I love you!
Huff is on top form again, roughing up anyone that needs roughing up to get answers out of them, or just plain shooting them when they don't co-operate, spilling out a few hilarious lines as he does. Max Laurel - as far as I can tell a native Filipino - is a great second banana, getting in on just as much action as Huff does, and also another grunt from Robowar (Mattei sure likes using the same actors again and again). However, the best part about the movie is the music. Sure most of the music is standard electro-symphonic rock like all these 80's Italian/Filipino movies, but most other movies don't get their own theme song! Cop Game features the song Cop Game played half a dozen times, and only half of those times is it really appropriate, but all of the times it's just glorious. Don't believe me, listen to it yourself.
"His name's Captain Kirk, just like in Star Trek!"
Romano Puppo, another Italian and Filipino action movie staple, is in this too. He was Cpl. Neil Corey in Robowar, Alex Bross in Born to Fight, Ratchet in 2019: After the Fall of New York... and it goes on like that. He's not the focus of the movie but he is the one that "knows just the two guys" to pull off this mission and makes a few appearances throughout. Mattei had the balls to call him Captain Kirk as well, which is just hysterical.
The gorgeous Candice Daly plays the female of the piece, Annie, first showing up when she leaves a message in lipstick for Morgan on a bar room mirror that she has information for him. It's a shame she didn't have a bigger part really but when she was there she provided a nice contrast to the otherwise male-dominated movie.
So it's pretty obvious that I really enjoyed Cop Game. Stuff explodes, countless clips are emptied, cars are chased and the day is saved. The journey may make little sense but it's a fun ride all the same. You're only going to find this on Dutch or Japanese VHS or grey market DVDRs sourced from the same tapes, but it's completely worth your time. Not quite Strike Commando or Robowar quality but not far behind.
If you've seen any Italian or Filipino action film on Japanese VHS before then you know what you are in for. Soft, desaturated, murky blacks and overly bright whites. Still, it's perfectly watchable and in widescreen to boot. Runtime approx. 90 minutes.
eBay, for more than a little, less than a lot.
You'll have to make do with the screenshots and the videos I linked throughout the review!