This gritty and grim (and cheap)
While it skimps on plot, the film does have character. Nguyen is put in charge of helping to find men to drive some US Army trucks to and fro as troops abscond from
The Evil Commander is played to scummy perfection by perpetual fatty bad dude Mui Sang Fan and he sure does like tormenting his captives. After he accuses one of our hapless heroes of trying to escape (which is something we don’t see) the movie jumps from action film to downright splatter classic as he buries the guy up to his neck in the sand in the sun. Oohh… bad. Then he shaves his head! Ooohhhh…worse. THEN he takes a razorblade and slits open the top of his head! OOOOOOhhh…REALLY BAD! AND THEN he pours acid through the hole…until the sorry sonovabitch LEAPS OUT OF HIS F’IN SKIN!!!
And that is just before the halfway point when Jungle Heat gets hot with action sequences, gory saw murders, a hellacious escape by tearing apart your own hands, Sam Jones Fu, Fiery Rat Roulette, Fatty’s Vile Behavior and an ending that will make you go…awww no. NO!! NOOOOOO! Remember that game that leads to various bodies getting squished and crushed by logging trucks? It comes back to haunt you in the end!
It is what it is…and Jungle Heat is pure Tough To Kill madness and fun. Violent and fast paced, this is man-sized entertainment that isn’t afraid to throw some huge snake on the characters just to watch them squirm. And don’t even get me started about how far I ejected my soda from my nose when they pulled out the giant bandsaw fu! Far from classic, any fan of gory action will get exactly what they want… and it certainly doesn’t leave any itch unscratched or any characters unscathed.
While I can’t compare the mysterious Jobic Wong to any director of serious talent, I will say that his willingness to heap on the melancholy for his heroes alongside the obvious glee he takes in killing them off is unique and exciting…good on him, he really created a low budget classic that sadly is more talked about than seen. The rare Japanese VHS is presented in stunning 2:35 scope for those mad enough to track it down (hey, I did!) or you can grab a copy of the German dvd here:
EDIT! This came from the comments section and offers some great information! Thanks to this poster...
It should be noted that the American commander sending everyone off to die was played by none other than long time Wong Kar-wei cinematographer: Christopher Doyle (Australian)!
The film's director, Jobic Wong Lai-keung earned his daily rice mostly as an assistant director and production manager. He worked as an assistant to legendary Hong Kong cult director Dennis Yu (EVIL CAT, THE BEASTS, CITY HERO, THE IMP, and GHOST HOSPITAL) and was the production manager for the long-defunct D & B Film Co.
Oh, and the English dubbed version of this film uses some of the same library music that American director George A. Romero used for DAWN OF THE DEAD (specifically the theme during the training sequences) and CREEPSHOW (the disco song "Don't Let Go," in particular).
Most of the film was shot in Southern Taiwan.