American Commando: Angel’s Blood Mission (1987)
As per our annual tradition starting with The Incredibly Strange Creatures who Stopped Living and Became Mixed up Zombies!!?, in the days after Christmas, The Pop Culture Historian will pick a B-movie to watch and review. Our pick this time is the Hong Kong martial arts film American Commando: Angel’s Blood Mission.
Angel’s Blood Mission is actually a re-edit of an unreleased Taiwanese gangster film called I Want to be a Good Person. Among other things, Caucasian actors were shoehorned into the plot. The movie begins with Sammy getting killed by men in the employ of gangster Peter. As a result of this, Charlie (Wong Goon-Hung) and John Foley (Mark Watson) decide to take down Peter, Helen (Juliet Chan), and Barton (Mike Abbot) by playing them off against each other in gang warfare and engaging in fisticuffs when needed.
Describing the plot beyond that is utterly impossible, and that is due to how there is no logical progression from scene to scene. It was absolutely laughable seeing how actors like Watson and Abbot were edited into the movie. At the movie’s beginning, there was a conversation between Barton and Peter. You never see Peter and Barton standing together in the same shot, thus making it clear that their parts were not filmed at the same time. The two characters’ footage were sort of edited together as if to form a conversation between the two. It doesn’t even matter what Peter was saying originally as all of his dialogue was dubbed over in English.
As the movie was largely I Want to be a Good Person, I can see why that movie wound up getting shelved. The fight scenes were laughable; I thought the new ones that Phillip Ko directed for the American Commando re-release were better, though that is not saying anything at all. In many fights, you see a character getting clubbed on the head multiple times, only to shrug it off like it was nothing. Here is an example of a new fight Ko filmed (SPOILER: Barton gets killed at the end):
In case you are wondering, the fight scenes that were in the rest of the movie were that much worse.
Admittedly, I am curious as to how the Taiwanese crew originally envisioned the plot to play out as the narrative of Angel’s Blood Mission (penned by the great Godfrey Ho no less) made absolutely no sense. On the movie’s VHS case, John Foley is described as an American Commando who was using skills he picked up in service in Vietnam. The problem was that the movie itself made no reference to it. Foley had absolutely no background and ultimately proved to be a pretty minor character. That was also ironic because it seems like Angel’s Blood Mission was marketed to be a movie largely centered around John Foley and how he took down Barton.
To put it simply, American Commando: Angel’s Blood Mission was yet another movie that was mass-produced by the Hong Kong machine. Yes, it the finished product came from the same country as the action classic Hard Boiled, and only five years prior. It cost the production team nothing to make, so I think they assumed if even 100 people saw the movie, it would have been sufficient to turn a profit.
Highlights of the movie include a man getting impaled on a fence, Juliet Chan looking kind of ok in a bikini, and this fight, clearly inspired by Indiana Jones: