"Call it bravery... Call it courage... Call it guts. Whatever you call it, they've got it!"
Before I start the review I would like to give a few words about the DVD release of this film. From what I gather, the label 23rd Century is a grey market label based in Manchester. I am yet to do major research so you can expect a full post some time in the future. From what I read, these guys put out mainly public domain titles that are mostly ported from degraded VHS tapes. I thought I would celebrate this label and labels like that because for me personally, this is the way you should be watching these crap-tastic gems and not on sparkling blu-ray transfers. I apologise to all you HD elitist fascist types out there but that's just the way I see it. Anyway, welcome to the first 23rd Century review. If you want to see what titles this label has to offer, check out this awesome blog.
Thunder Squad is a 1985 action flick by the cult maestro, Umberto Lenzi and stars the equally iconic Antonio Sabato. The story is pretty simple. A South American rebel leader is taking refuge in Florida and finds out his son has been kidnapped! A crack team of five mercs are assigned the task of finding and rescuing the child. Once they save the kid (no it's not a spoiler... you should know the formula of these films enough by now) things get a little "complicated" to say the least and our band of grunts have to fight their way through hoards of henchmen. Will they survive? What actually happens? That's something I will leave for you to find out for yourselves! Yeah, I'm mean but what can you do?
It may not be the most action packed or violent film of it's type (It's only a 15 rated movie) but it sure kept my attention for it's run time. I would say this s a classic example of "so bad it's good" cinema. There are many moments that stand out in this one including an obscenely terrific sequence where I kid you not, psychoanalysts are used to telepathically locate where the kid is being held captive. If I didn't have a beer belly, I would have broken my jaw on the floor at how terrific that is. Another highlight for me is the absolutely terrible German accent used for Werner Pocath's character. I have no idea if the Austrian dubbed his own voice or not but either way... it's one of the most painfully awful yet amazing accents I have heard! It definitely gives the cliché Nazi evil genius voice we all know and love a run for it's money. It's another one of those films where there are just tiny moments of absurdity that will have you yelping with laughter and disbelief all the way through!
Overall, I genuinely enjoyed this piece of euro trash. It's stuff you have seen before so even though I haven't really given too much of the story away, you won't be too surprised by the plot. That being said, it's fairly solid. The DVD itself is what you would expect it to be. It's clearly a rip from some VHS so the quality of the picture isn't amazing but it's passable to those who waste time stressing about that. You are supposed to see these films like this in this way, it's part of the novelty. There are no special features at all and it boasts one of the worst DVD menus of all time which had me laughing before I even pressed play. The most important thing is that the film is uncut (from my comparing the run times to the IMDB page and various blogs. You really have no excuse not to pick this up if you see it in your local charity or pound shop. Saving pennies and enjoying cinema does not get any better than this!
Hopefully you enjoyed this little review. I am hoping to get my hands on more of these titles because it's a great way to see some really obscure gems that you can pay obscene amounts for on import. Just leave your snobbery and brain at the door for these. If anyone has some good suggestions of other 23rd Century releases or similar grey market labels, let me know!