|Missing in Action 2: The Beginning|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Lance Hool|
|Produced by||Menahem Golan|
|Written by||Arthur Silver|
|Music by||Brian May|
|Cinematography||Jorge Stahl Jr.|
|Edited by||Mark Conte|
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (current)|
Missing in Action 2: The Beginning is a 1985 action adventure film, and a prequel to Missing in Action, both of which star Chuck Norris. It was directed by Lance Hool, and written by Steve Bing, Larry Levinson and Arthur Silver.
Missing in Action 2: The Beginning was filmed back to back with the original Missing in Action and was originally intended to be the first film of the two. But according to Joseph Zito, director of what was to become Missing in Action, it was decided that the sequel was a much better film and would be a more successful first film. Consequently, Cannon just switched titles and release dates so that the planned sequel was released first, and the planned first film was released as a prequel. It was followed by another sequel, Braddock: Missing in Action III, featuring the same character, but with a stand-alone screenplay.
Ten years before freeing the US POWs from a brutal General, Colonel James Braddock (Chuck Norris) was held in a North Vietnamese POW camp run by sadistic Colonel Yin (Soon-Teck Oh), who forces the POWs to grow opium for a French drug runner named François (Pierre Issot), and tries to get Braddock to admit to and sign a long list of war crimes. During his team's time in captivity, they are relentlessly subjected to various forms of humiliating torture, and Braddock being told that his wife has left him and remarried.
Franklin, another US POW, starts to suffer from malaria, and Braddock exchanges an admission of guilt to Yin's charges of war crimes for medicine for the infected soldier. Yin breaks his deal with Braddock, and gives the soldier a lethal dose of opium. Enraged, Braddock escapes from the camp, plots to free his fellow prisoners and destroy the prison camp. Yin then betrays François, taking control of his drug ring.
Braddock inflicts several losses against Yin's men, leading to Yin's second-in-command to dress a Vietnamese soldier as Colonel Yin and shoot him in an attempt to lure Braddock into the open. Braddock notices that the decoy is not wearing Yin's boots, and proceeds to kill Yin's men. Eventually, Braddock fights Yin hand to hand in Yin's quarters. Subduing Yin, Braddock escorts the prisoners to an awaiting helicopter although not before igniting explosive charges planted around Yin's quarters.
- Chuck Norris as Colonel James Braddock
- Soon-Tek Oh as Colonel Yin
- Steven Williams as Captain David Nester
- Bennett Ohta as Captain Ho
- Cosie Costa as Lieutenant Anthony Mazilli
- Joe Michael Terry as Corporal Lawrence Opelka
- Christopher Cary as Emerson
- John Wesley as Master Sergeant Ernest Franklin
- David Chung as Dou Chou
- Professor Toru Tanaka as Lao
- Sergio Kato as Stunt Double
Norris says he was approached to make the film by Lance Hool, who had a script about American POWs in Vietnam. Norris was enthusiastic because he wanted to pay tribute to his brother Wieland. Vietnam films were not popular at the time, and Norris and Hool received numerous rejections.
Hool and Norris took the project to Cannon Films, who liked the project. They already had a script in development about the rescue of American POWS in Vietnam, and signed Norris to make both movies. The first, Missing in Action, would be about Braddock's rescue of POWS. The second, Missing in Action 2, would be a prequel about Braddock's years as a POW. The two films were shot back to back. Joseph Zito directed the first, Hool the second.
Norris had to shoot a scene in which his character was being tortured by being stuck in a sack with a rat. "It was during my young and foolish stage, so when it turned out there was no fake rat, I said, 'Kill a real one.' They hung me upside down, put the sack over my head, I got the rat in my mouth and there's fake blood coming down the rope into my mouth. All I can taste is mountain rat and I'm thinking, 'I'm gonna get the bubonic plague.'"
Janet Maslin of The New York Times wrote, "The new film, like its predecessor, is primitive but shrewd." Variety said, "This prequel to last winter's box-office burst from Cannon is neither as well produced as the original 'Missing in Action' nor does it have the muscle to do the same kind of business." Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "The whole movie is suffused with that curious blend of viciousness and sentimentality that often marks American adventure movies (even the great ones). What's missing is any sense of responsibility: toward history, toward Vietnam's actual combatants or even to the movie's fictional characters. They all simply become cheap fodder in a cheap revenge saga, a fantasy whose sole obsession is to 'win,' and rub the enemy's nose in the blood and gore of that victory."
The film opened at #3, grossing $3,868,515 in the opening weekend. It was released in 1,336 theaters for a $2,895 average. The opening week takings accounted for 36% of its total gros. The total US market revenue is $10,755,447.
- Norris, Chuck; Hyams, Joe (1988). The secret of inner strength : my story. Little, Brown.
- "Missing in Action II: The Beginning (1985)". Box Office Mojo. 14 December 1985. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
- Andrew Yule, Hollywood a Go-Go: The True Story of the Cannon Film Empire, Sphere Books, 1987 p111
- Maslin, Janet (2 March 1985). "Screen: chuck norris in 'missing in action 2'". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2010.
- Norris p 121
- Norris p 121
- Sneed & Lavin INC.: Good night, Walter! Chicago Tribune 8 Dec 1983: 24.
- WORK STARTS ON WAR FILM IN ST. KITTS Philadelphia Inquirer 5 Feb 1984: M.3.
- Norris p 122
- Maslin, Janet (March 2, 1985). "Screen: Chuck Norris In 'Missing in Action 2'". The New York Times. 10.
- "Film Reviews: Missing In Action 2 — The Beginning". Variety. March 6, 1985. 10.
- Wilmington, Michael (March 5, 1985). "Responsibility Missing in 'Missing in Action 2'". Los Angeles Times. Part VI, p. 6.