Missing in Action

1984

Missing in Action

Critics Consensus

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20%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

42%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 12,319
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Movie Info

Being a former Vietnam POW himself, Colonel James Braddock was the natural choice to accompany an MIA investigation to Ho Chi Minh City. After turning up some questionable information, Braddock travels to Thailand to meet an old buddy who could help him launch a rescue mission.

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Critic Reviews for Missing in Action

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (12)

Audience Reviews for Missing in Action

  • Dec 15, 2013
    Chuck's first main franchise and one of his classic actioners. Only two years after the release of 'First Blood' you can see where this idea main have spawned from eh. In fact a script by James Cameron intended for the Rambo franchise was the inspiration for this very film so there. But since then this film itself has been copied many times, the ever popular one man army with a big gun. The mission, Chuck only just got back from Nam where he was held prisoner by some nasty Vietnamese. Once back in the States he realises there are still US POW's MIA back in Nam, so what does he do?. Well he packs up and goes back into the danger zone to find them of course. Isn't there a chance he might get killed or recaptured you say? pfft! Chuck Norris laughs in the face of danger, he tweaks the nipples of fear, he curses politely at those who stand against him. So I'll leave the extremely obvious Rambo similarities aside and just give my views on the action. Well it takes time to get there that's for damn sure, a long time. There is much build up and deliberation as Chuck works out what he's gonna do and how he will do it. Takes him ages to find his old army buddy for a start, not sure why that guy was such a big secret with the locals but there you go. Once we do hit the action its...well OK I guess. Dare I say its identical to 'Delta Force' in the sense that you never see any blood, violence, squib hits (not many) etc...I've mentioned before how Chuck's films tend to be like A-Team episodes haven't I, well its deja vu again. Now I'm not saying its bad because its not, its reasonable fun watching Norris run around gunning men down, but its hella tame. What I love about this film is the horrendous editing and feeble accuracy by everyone involved shooting a gun. So many times you get a shot of someone firing a machine gun (bad guys), just standing there and firing continuously at an enemy yet they never hit a thing!. You don't see any bullet hits, no sound of bullet hits, no ricochets nothing, they just stand there firing blankly and never running out of ammo, its quite amusing. All the while the other person is doing the exact same thing haha both firing continuously at each other yet nothing is happening around them, doesn't matter how close they are or how well hidden they are, classic. It really is a low rent Rambo, gotta say it, Rambo minus any blood, violence and real tension. Norris just waltzes in and terminates everyone without even bothering to aim much, whilst the enemy couldn't hit a barn door right in front of their face, glorious!. Bottom line that's what you watch it for, the classic hokey action which so many films homage and have spoofed ('Hot Shots 2'). Chuck wins the day, was it ever in question? no, he doesn't even get a scratch bless him. The explosions are grand, chop-socky fighting and the action sequences are as corny as a corn on the cob...but its still fun to watch I can't deny. The minute I saw Chuck rise from beneath the murky river waters brandishing his huge M60 machine gun clad in those classic army fatigues with head band...I knew it had all been worth while.
    Phil H Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2009
    <i>"The misfortunes of war!"</i> <p> As soon as the movie industry felt the dust of the Vietnam War had settled, a deluge of Vietnam-related movies started pouring in. There were films such as <i>Apocalypse Now, The Deer Hunter</i> and <i>Platoon</i> which handled the source material respectfully. But the mid-late 1980s was the era of bazookas, guns and superhero-style action heroes. Once <i>First Blood</i> was released, a string of films flooded the market that attempted to transplant the history of the Vietnam War into the '80s action format. Furthermore, the subject of American soldiers left behind in Vietnam functioned as a catalyst for several '80s action flicks (<i>Rambo: First Blood Part II</i> being the most prevalent). The Chuck Norris vehicle <i>Missing in Action</i> was one such movie. This isn't the most egregious entry in this particular sub-genre, but it's hardly a classy fare. This is just your typical Chuck Norris romp: there's action, nudity, one-liners, stunts and a few moments of pure fantasy. And best of all, it's <b>fun</b>! <p> For this film, the Chuckster plays an American officer named James Braddock who spent several years at a Vietnamese Prisoner of War camp and believes there are still American soldiers being held captive in Vietnam. The plot, such as it is, involves Braddock returning to Vietnam in an attempt to locate a POW camp. With assistance from an Army buddy (in the form of M. Emmet Walsh) and an assortment of weaponry, Braddock ventures deep into the jungle to free the American MIAs. <p> Cue perfunctory explosions, action sequences, and lots of 'all gooks are villains' propaganda. The other actors featured in this movie function as mere props for Chuck Norris to dispose of in whatever way he sees fit. The only character who's even mildly developed is Braddock since the supporting characters merely make an appearance to move the story along before curiously vanishing. The film's attitude towards Vietnamese soldiers and officials is borderline offensive since they're depicted as unequivocally shifty, villainous and deceitful... But on the other hand, this is the 1980s! This is the age of cartoonish stereotypes! <p> The Chuckster is grudgingly assisted here by a woman at the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam (who seems like she was intended to be a love interest, but no real romance ever occurs...), and an ex-colleague who hooks him up with a bunch of backstreet arms dealers. Inexplicably, these arms dealers possess a large cache of machine guns as well as a helicopter and a bulletproof raft in a tiny storage room. It's also peculiar that Braddock just happens to have the thousands of spare dollars necessary to purchase all this expensive equipment. But then again, a viewer isn't supposed to question the plot - <i>Missing in Action</i> is about the action and violence, not a sensible storyline or anything deep. <p> And my word, it delivers in the action department with commendable aplomb. Gear yourself up for an unrelenting onslaught of rousing shootouts, car chases and explosions, with Chuck Norris in the midst of it all in regular Chuck Norris mode. Director Joseph Zito (who later collaborated with the Chuckster for <i>Invasion U.S.A.</i> in 1985) manages the action adeptly, though these aren't the most spectacular set-pieces you'll ever witness. Jay Chattaway's accompanying score is of the usual '80s standard; combining the tense with the cheesy (though patriotic music is in surprisingly short supply). All of this stuff combines to generate an engaging escapist romp guaranteed to leave a smile on the face of any action fan. <p> It's possible to watch a Chuck Norris vehicle like <i>Missing in Action</i> and come away with the misimpression that the bearded hero has not said a word. He occasionally talks, of course, but his eloquence is strictly physical. Norris (with his minimalist, taciturn acting style that often earns him substantial criticism) has never displayed any genuine acting ability, but he's skilful enough to carry a simple, bullet-riddled, crowd-pleasing action movie like this one.<br> Norris' celebrated martial arts skills don't feature very prominently in this escapade. Instead, he mostly relies on machine guns or grenades. The iconic moment of <i>Missing in Action</i> depicts Norris rising out of a river in slow motion (looking suitably ferocious in green fatigues and a matching headband, along with his M-60) and blowing holes in three soldiers who made the grave mistake of <i>laughing</i> at him. <p> The moral of this story is clear: if a government denies a widely-believed possibility, they run the risk of Hollywood green-lighting a string of B-Grade films about it. Those who genuinely hate <i>Missing in Action</i>, perceiving it as jingoistic or racist propaganda, are missing the point of the film completely - it was never intended to be anything provocative or liberal...it's just a good old-fashioned guy flick featuring Chuck Norris who's a formidable adversary for the Vietnamese enemy. <p> Interestingly, if one watches the credits you'll see a certain Jean-Claude Van Damme listed as a stuntman.
    Cal ( Super Reviewer
  • Jun 11, 2009
    mostly average chuck norris action reel that gets a bit poorer towards the end when unlikely things start happening. prime example: chuck sets a trap by leaving a grenade propped in a jeep ready to blow if touched, then a viet cong truck happens to forget to brake without even being under fire and well... no prizes for guessing the result
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2006
    Martial art superstar Chuck Norris' debut war movie is good as he's the last man who returns in Vietnam since Vietnam war to rescue MIAs.
    Dean M Super Reviewer

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