H-Bomb (1971)

(1971)- * * *

Directed by: P. Chalong

Starring: Chris Mitchum and Olivia Hussey

From the back of the Cinema Group Home Video VHS box: "When a power-mad Cambodian General and the Bangkok underworld team up to steal an American nuclear missile, the action never stops! Exploding bombs, spectacular shows of martial arts and death defying chases make this an adventure film to remember. Chris Mitchum and Olivia Hussey star in H-BOMB - a martial arts extravaganza that crosses political borders. With "No-holds barred" action, the film whirls through a tale of suspense and intrigue that'll leave you gasping for breath!"

And, perhaps less flatteringly, this from the Golden Movie Retriever: "Mitchum stars as a CIA agent who is sent to Bangkok to retrieve two stolen nuclear warheads from a terrorist. It just so happens that his ex-girlfriend's father is the terrorist he must contend with in this stupid movie."

While we definitely would NOT describe this movie as "stupid", we clearly needed help when it came to figuring out what the plot actually was. But, really, what exists of the plot is secondary to the super-70's vibe: gigantic cars, wah-wah funk on the soundtrack, shirts with big collars and louder patterns, bellbottoms and long hair are clearly the order of the day. The technology on display features a proto-Skype video phone and some video chess.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that we, as the audience, get to hear Mitchum's or Hussey's actual voices; it's all dubbed in that typical obnoxious style of that time where it sounds like there was one male voice talking to himself, loudly, and same with the female voice (s). On the action front, P. Chalong rarely skimps - you get motorcycle and car chases/stunts, shooting, blow-ups, an exploding helicopter, and the general "Third World" disregard for health and safety that came with enacting these stunts.

Another added bonus we get with the films of P. Chalong and Arizal, among others, is that there is a good amount of local color and scenery that is enjoyable to behold. We have to wonder what Olivia Hussey thought of all this - the love story between her character and Mitchum's isn't exactly Romeo and Juliet. None of what we see makes a huge amount of sense, but that's not exactly a problem. Movies today are very homogenous, and H-Bomb and its ilk are an antidote to that. For that reason, the audience today for films such as this may be small, but if you're reading this, that means we are among the people out there looking for something different. And H-Bomb is certainly different.

It features a killer end-credits song that seemingly is aiming to put the viewer in mind of the James Bond themes of the day. Was this P. Chalong's answer to Bond? Only you can decide, but H-Bomb is definitely worth a watch - especially for fans that don't mind if their action movies feature a healthy amount of nonsensicality and are made on a shoestring in a far-away land. And isn't that all of us, really?

Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty

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