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Missing in Action: Collector's Edition (1984) - Blu-ray Review and Details

3 beersDeceptive dramatics.  Revisionist exploits.  Homoeroticism and male grunting up to the, ahem, hilt.  And absolutely no one has any sex.  Not even the $10 hookers get any love.  Wtf, mate?!  Ah, the wrongheaded Reagan action flicks from the 1980s!  Sylvester Stallone had John Rambo.  And he spawned a bazillion knockoffs.  As a result, we got Chuck Norris as Colonel James Braddock.  Both characters, at some time, were on missions to return our boys to their home soil and both racked up serious numbers as the body count exceeded amounts ever thought possible. 

But only one was inspired by the classic three-year run of the original Spider-Man cartoon to do something about those soldiers listed as, wait for it, Missing in Action. That’s right, Norris stares at a television set as Webhead himself swings into action.  He ponders the moment and its meaning and then, as the young superhero perches near an American flag, decides to suit up and return to the muggy marshes of Vietnam. 

Like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now, the movie opens with Braddock lying in bed.  He’s on his back and looks beaten down.  His shirt is open.  His chest is hairy.  He’s restless and sweating.  It's been a long night.  He’s thinking about Vietnam again.  But, if Sheen had a large ceiling fan blowing over him, it makes sense then that, in this low-budget affair from Cannon (the first of many for Norris and the company), a small, plastic box fan is blowing on Norris.  And that’s what we settle for in this cheap re-write of Vietnam.

And, essentially, that’s what we settle for in this cheap re-write of Vietnam.

Missing in Action, even if Norris does kill over 200 men in the first 20 minutes, is largely prophetic.  The thrills, spills, and kills – regardless of Norris double-fisting two grenades as he belly flops onto a group of enemy soldiers below – are fairly tame and very, very elementary.  Yet, director Joseph Vito’s film remains the most popular of Norris’ output.  I guess that’s not saying much, but I prefer Lone Wolf McQuade and Invasion U.S.A to the silliness here.    

Co-starring James Hong as General Trau, Lenore Kasdorf as Ann, and M. Emmet Walsh as Tuck, Missing in Action has enough distractions when Norris isn't on the screen to keep us interested.  Unfortunately, no one is used to full effect.  Especially when Norris, stripping down to his tighty whities, does so not to woe Ann in the bedroom, but to slip on his ninja gear on before scaling down buildings and leaping to and fro in an attempt to locate the US soldiers still held prisoner somewhere in Thailand.    

Hungry?   This b-movie, like most Norris flicks, delivers enough chop-socky to keep you momentarily satisfied.  Just don't call it one of his best.


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Missing in Action: Collector's Edition (1984) - Blu-ray Review and Details

MPAA Rating: R.
101 mins
: Joseph Zito
James Bruner
Chuck Norris, M. Emmet Walsh, David Tress
: Action | Military
The war's not over until the last man comes home.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Colonel! You are a goddamn embarrasment, Braddock."
Theatrical Distributor:
Cannon Film Distributors
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 16, 1984
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 15, 2017
Synopsis: The war isn't over until James Braddock brings back our POWs!

American servicemen are still being held captive in Vietnam – and it's up to one man to bring them home in this blistering, fast-paced action/adventure starring martial arts superstar Chuck Norris. Following a daring escape from a Vietnamese POW camp, Special Colonel James Braddock (Norris) is on a mission to locate and save MIA soldiers. Aided by a beautiful State Department official (Lenore Kasdorf) and a former Army buddy (M. Emmet Walsh), Braddock amasses top secret information and state-of-the-art weaponry. Now this one-man army is prepared to blast his way into Vietnam ... but will he be able to blast his way back out?


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Missing in Action: Collector's Edition (1984) - Blu-ray Review and Details


Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- August 15, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH

Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Rescuing the title from the MGM dump from 2012, Shout Factory presents Missing in Action with a crisp HD transfer.  Sporting an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the film is full of color and details.  Fabric in clothing is visible as is the cheapness of the sets and the limitations in the locations.  Greens are strong and so are blacks.  The action sequences are vivid and expressed with a new clarity thanks to HD upgrade.  The sound is presented in an adequate DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix.



  •  There is a NEW Audio Commentary With Director Joseph Zito, making this release the version to own for fans.  Zito is both candid and respectful throughout the recording, giving audiences a bit of backstory to some of the on-screen carnage.

Special Features:

  • Shout Factory presents the Collector’s Edition of Missing in Action with an on-screen interview with screenwriter James Bruner.
  • Interview with Writer James Bruner


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Missing in Action: Collector's Edition (1984) - Blu-ray Review and Details