Friday, February 15, 2008

Double Target - Mattei Misses his Mark!

Double Target

1988 Flora Films

Directed By Vincent Dawn (Bruno Mattei)

With Miles O’Keefe, Donald Pleasence, Bo Svenson

Review by Paul Cooke

‘‘It takes more than muscle to build a soldier’’

The Italian reproduction team of Director Bruno Mattei and Writer Claudio Fragasso serve up a flimsier than usual ‘Rambo’ jungle escapade with one time Tarzan star Miles O’Keeffe, trading his loin cloth for battle fatigues. Johnny, not so Weissmuller, O’Keeffe plays ex - military war hero Robert Ross. An enraged soldier searching for his son, lost to him whilst away on a tour of duty at a time when his Vietnamese wife was killed. Suicide squads are attacking several U.S. military sites in South East Asia, and the threatening emergence of a Russian militia training camp for terrorists has the American consulate offering Ross a deal to retrieve his son. A mutual beneficial exchange deal that requires the gathering of photographic evidence that supports the existence of the insidious group.

An explosive start to the movie sees O’Keeffe crossing the path of Russian militant leader Bo Svenson as the bullets soon let fly, and Director Mattei gets to blow up several buildings as well as employ some nicely integrated model work to please the movie financiers. Asthma suffering senator Donald Pleasence gets to inhale another typical cameo role, as he task forces the mission for Ross to infiltrate the jungles of Vietnam with the usual lack of official government backing.

Decked out for the dangerous retrieval and recognizance mission ahead, and looking about as macho as a male model on location, the man who once played the mighty Ator is soon in deep water. Not only is his scuba gear apparel approach to the coastal region impeded by an armed small boat patrol, but more audaciously by the might of a ravenous shark! Straight out of the big fish school of stock footage the shark is shamelessly edited into proceedings, clearly borrowed from another great white movie, its arrival makes for an amusing distraction. The action here is hilarious as Ross shoots the hapless guards and then sets his sights upon the man eating shark, deftly deploying an underwater bazooka hilariously resulting in true crowd pleasing explosive devastation. It is not long before the Russians are aware of his mission and the bullets are flying with Ross and his cohort ally hitting their targets with unerring accuracy, all the while O’Keeffe not even receiving the merest of nicks. Anyone getting close enough to dare and raise his one hundred per cent American cotton shirt would surely have found a big red ‘S’ tattooed across his sternum.Hard nosed Russian bad ass Svenson blows a gasket as his pseudo Swedish / American / Russian cross genes pump him into retaliatory action as he raids the village where Ross has left his son, taking the boy hostage after cold bloodily murdering many of the residents of the friendly community. O’Keeffe retaliates in unleashing his arsenal upon the bad guys as he forcefully strikes out and takes back the young boy with explosive style.

Despite several well choreographed explosive fight sequences and the obligatory slow motion death stages, even reveling in the synchronized bad guy batches of four regularly getting their comeuppance, it’s still not quite enough to raise interest levels above the point of mediocrity. The plodding presence of Miles O’Keeffe is more wooden than Pinocchio’s nose and that is no lie, but even with such an inconceivable outing the billing of a Reb Brown or Brent Huff would have made the whole thing so much more audacious.

When making a daft movie you have to make sure the element of daftness is carried off with suitable tongue in cheek aplomb. Disappointingly with such a thought in mind, conclusively ‘Double Target’ would better re-title as ‘Off Target’.

2.5 Exploding Huts

SEE! Miles O'Keefe kick ass... MATTEI STYLE!


4 comments:

Johan Melle said...

Nice review! Pretty much sums up my own thoughts on this film.

Miles O'Keeffe was always too much of boring pretty-boy for me to ever like him but I did enjoy Donald Pleasence, who was always worth watching no matter what he did.

Btw, I'm pretty sure some music from Michele Soavi's Stagefright is briefly used in this film.

Max said...

You guys should check out these two movies:

White Fire
Starring Robert Ginty and Fred Williamson

Mafia vs. Mafia in an incestuous Greek battle for the legendary White Fire diamond! Random chainsaw battles ensue!

Killing Machine
Starring Lee Van Cleef, Margeaux Hemingway and Willie Aames

More mafia shenanigans as a lone trucker with a mysterious past take vengeance on the evil transportation union headed by Lee Van Cleef!

I've got these two gems on tape, I reviewed them for a zine I contribute to, Samurai Dreams (www.myspace.com/samuraidreams).

I love your site!

Fred said...

I've also felt that Double Target was a much better movie than Strike Commando. I'm very found of Miles as a hero.

I've just downloaded Born to fight, so that will be a real pleasure to finally see!

Buckaroobanzai said...

Hey Max, Thanks for your comments. White Fire is Big Fun & very enjoyable in the US version as its Uncut. That Chainsaw scene hardly shows on the UK tape !. I have a Japanese VHS of Killing Machine , but yet to watch !!!.
Fred, Welcome. Good to have you here. Your interaction is always welcome. More Miles O'Keeffe to come.
Born To Fight is one of my all time favourites & one of the highlights at the end of the Eighties Italian Action cycle. Enjoy. Paul