Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985) starring Chuck Norris, Soon-Tek Oh, Steven Williams, Bennett Ohta, Cosie Costa, Joe Michael Terry directed by Lance Hool Movie Review

Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Chuck Norris in Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985)

Missing Much Action

When their chopper gets shot down by the Vietcong in 1972 Colonel Braddock (Chuck Norris) and his men are kept as prisoners of war by the evil Colonel Yin (Soon-Tek Oh) in the middle of the jungle. Yin wants Braddock to confess to war crimes and has even convinced one of his men to turn against him but Braddock is not only a patriot who won't be broken but knows that the minute he says what Yin wants he and his platoon will be executed. As time passes their numbers dwindle as torture and sickness take their toll whilst also whittling away the men's morale. Eventually enough is enough and Braddock stages an escape.

"Missing in Action 2" was actually shot at the same time as "Missing in Action" and was originally intended as the first movie but the studio decided that the other movie was better and packaged this as a prequel. It was partly a clever move because what ended up as "Missing in Action" was the better movie but as it was an action movie it set up expectations for the sequel to follow suit. But "Missing in Action 2" is not an action movie, oh it has some action but its focus is more on the psychological warfare going on in the prisoner of war camp.

As such the majority of "Missing in Action 2" focuses on life within the camp from those who try to escape not being captured but killed. We also see how Yin tries to manipulate the men from trying to make Braddock think his wife is remarrying to fooling Captain Nester to turn traitor just for some clean clothes and better food. As such we see how the men are affected from going stir crazy to being unable to sleep because they see the faces of their loved ones when they close their eyes.

Now all of which is fine and if "Missing in Action 2" had been released first it would have been a solid if unoriginal prisoner of war movie. But because this came after the action fuelled "Missing in Action" the lack of action is a disappointment for those who expected lots of it. As I said it still has action such as a scene where Norris bites into a vicious rat but nowhere near as much as in its predecessor.

But what "Missing in Action 2" has over the first movie is more characters as whilst again Chuck Norris is the star of the movie the rest of the actors playing the prisoners get chance to establish characters. It makes a huge difference as whilst Norris's character is slightly more verbose than in "Missing in Action" the fact he has a range of characters to interact with helps. Although having said that Soon-Tek Oh as Colonel Yin is simply not evil enough to be convincing.

What this all boils down to is that in truth "Missing in Action 2" is a good movie but because it came after the predominantly action filled "Missing in Action" it suffers because of the lesser action.