SAIGON COMMANDOS BY JONATHAN CAIN

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tarzan

Copyright 1983.

Sgt. Mark Stryker is getting burned out on being a Green Beret. When the VC chop off the arms of all the children in a village that recently received vaccinations he decides he had enough. When his enlistment is up he quits and heads back to Saigon were he once served with the Military Police. He is at heart a cop first and becomes a private investigator. There is a lot of things happening in 1967 Saigon that involve the 716 Battalion of Military Police that is responsible for Saigon.

The decoy squad an undercover unit that works the streets has its hands full. In addition to the various Cong and hooligans that prowl the streets a new threat is stalking the street. A former MP has deserted after his girlfriend is brutally raped and murdered as payback for an arrest he made. The MP hunts the group of black deserters involved with the black market and other criminal activities. Unfortunately the MP has gone completely bonkers and starts taking out any black man that he finds. Meanwhile a Saigon policeman Jon Toi is hunting a deranged hooker that is carving up her soldier clients in revenge for being raped.

Back when I was a kid before my Christmas break I stopped at the supermarket to pick up some books to read. Now at this time there were no new books from one of the many post-apocalypse series that was following. So I decided to go with some Vietnam books. I picked up two books Saigon Commandos #4 and Gunships #3.

Now Gunships was your typical action fluff. Enjoyable but nothing special stood out about it. Then there was Saigon Commandos. Now here was a surprise. I found a very fast paced and enjoyable story. You would think that being an MP is boring. You know guarding installations and directing traffic. But not in Vietnam. Cain crafts an exotic city full of beautiful women and nonstop excitement. He brings a vibrant city inhabited with colorful and dangerous characters.

Jonathan Cain is a veteran of the Military Police and served in Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. He clearly has a strong background in the subject matter and a deep love of Southeast Asia. The stories he writes are based on true stories that were discussed with his fellow MP’s at Mimi’s Bar in Saigon. Now he did jazz it up with some extra sex and violence at the editors request. This was a Zebra Men’s Adventure book so you had to satisfy the target audience. Yet if you want to find out about Saigon during this time then this book series is an excellent choice. I can see why this series has a cult following.

So I will end with the description of were the title comes from that is at the beginning of all the books in the series.

“Saigon Commandos” was a derogatory term invented by infantrymen in the field to refer to any soldier stationed in the “rear”. But some of the military policemen-fighting snipers, sappers, and other hostile hooligans across the Saigon underworld-affectionately adopted the title, proud to be lawmen battling crime in the toughest beat in the world.

INVASION U.S.A. BY JASON FROST

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Copyright 1985.

A Cuban refugee boat is stopped by a US Coast Guard ship. The crew immediately fires on the passengers killing them all and taking a large quantity of drugs. Thus begins the plans of Rostov the KGB’s notorious operative. Soon the money from the drugs is used to buy a vast quantity of weapons. Weapons that will arm an invading army of terrorists. The goal is to cause terror and bring down the government.

But there is one man that can stop Rostov’s plan. Matt Hunter is a retired agent. He once captured and humiliated Rostov in a mission in Africa. Rostov has a paranoid fear of Hunter and tries to kill him in his small shack out in the Florida Everglades. He only manages to destroy his home and kill his friend. Now Hunter wages a one man war to stop Rostov’s invading terrorists before they manage to bring down American society.

Now I don’t usually get movie adaptations. But the plot to this sounded interesting and it was written by the same man that wrote The Warlord Series. God how I miss Cannon Films. This is probably one of my favorite Chuck Norris movies. It has his most funniest line ever, “I’m going to hit you with so many lefts you’ll be beggin’ for a right.” Interesting the author didn’t include that in the novelization. Still he gave the story’s characters much greater depth than the movies was able to. Even minor characters have a backstory for them. A very competent adaptation.

So I did plan to read this book because it had a loosely Christmas theme. It takes place before Christmas and there is a big scene of the terrorists attacking shoppers at a Christmas mall. Now thirty years ago this was just goofy over the top fun. Given current events this is a very real threat. The writers than must have been way ahead of their times. These kind of attacks have been shown to paralyze society and will probably occur more in the future. Sadly the future is not looking all that positive right now.

The movie is getting released on Blu-ray next year so if you want a funned cheezy action movie I would recommend this movie.

STARS & STRIPES TRIUMPHANT BY HARRY HARRISON

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Copyright 2003.

It is 1865 and Lincoln has won reelection to the presidency. The country is enjoying an economic boon and after the defeat of Britain enjoys high prestige on the world stage. Great Britain is still way too pissed off at these defeats and shows no sign of toning down their belligerence. Their navy raids coastal towns of the newly independent Irish Republic causing wonton acts of destruction. Ethnic Irish both Catholics and Protestants living in Britain are rounded up and put into internment camps. Now the British have declared a blockade of US cotton and seize American ships and confiscate the cargo.

The US government knows that only the total defeat of the British will bring about peace. Thus begins a plan for the invasion of England itself. Using devastating ironclad gunboats and self-propelled Gatling guns they easily defeat the British, send Queen Victoria packing into exile in Belgium and bring about a regime change to a democratically elected government. Oh yeah and Scotland decides to take this opportunity to reestablish it’s independence.

The final book in the trilogy comes to it’s logical conclusion, the invasion and defeat of England. I thought that this book was the least interesting of the trilogy. It was just too predictable and easy for the Americans. In fact that is my criticism for the trilogy. Everything just went too easy. The military battles, how the North and South reconciled their differences on slavery, how both Protestants and Catholics reconciled theirs and finally the ease of regime change for the most powerful country at that time. It loses a lot of dramatic tension when everything goes so easy. I would have liked the story to have the British ally with the South and that would have been a much more challenging and realistic scenario.

Still the trilogy was an interesting read. Harrison did his research on the people and technology to make a possible if not probable alternate history scenario.

STARS & STRIPES IN PERIL BY HARRY HARRISON

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Copyright 2000.

It is April 1863 and two years after the Americans were able to set aside their differences and defeat the British invaders. The newly industrializing South is bringing prosperity to the newly reunited States. But there are signs of trouble. There is still resentment from many Southerners over freeing the slaves. Violent vigilante groups called the nightriders have formed to terrorize the newly freed slaves.

The biggest threat on the horizon is Britain. Still angry over their defeat they are planning for revenge. Troops are brought over from India to Mexico. A road is being constructed across Mexico to bring these troops to the Gulf were they can then strike into the underbelly of America. General Sherman the commander decides on a bold plan. Instead of getting bogged down in a war of attrition in Mexico he will strike at the heart of the British Empire. A secret invasion is planned to liberate Ireland.

The second in the Stars & Stripes trilogy continues with the conflict with Britain. Once again its an entertaining book filled with a cast of historical figures from America, Britain, Ireland and Mexico. Once again the British are some cartoon villains. And once again the Americans win the day with their ability to employ innovative inventions like breech loading cannons on ironclads, repeating rifles and Gatling guns to defeat the enemy. You get to see Gurkas fight Confederate troops. It is once again a fun ride in this interesting alternate world.

RIFFTRAX LIVE: SANTA AND THE ICE CREAM BUNNY

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The final movie in the Crappening and it is a doozy. The guys start off with three very weird shorts that vaguely have a Christmas theme but get progressively weirder. The first some a real old one titled “Santa Claus Story.” Its about a boy and girl who wake up and find Santa. Santa then tells them a story about monkeys and how they celebrate Christmas. This is over a montage of monkeys. WTF??? Monkeys???

Well it gets weirder. The next “Custard the Dragon” has some kids in animal costumes. One in the dragon costume is Custard. Suddenly a pirate that looks like Osama Bin Laden dressed as a football referee comes to steal the presents. Luckily he didn’t count on Custard who proceeds to eat him.

Of course these two are still not the weirdest. The final “Santa’s Village” was a promo short for some Santa village theme parks in California and Illinois that were founded by K. Gordon Murrey the creator of last years Rifftrax gift Santa Claus. The village is populated by Merlin, Stinky the Skunk, and Rapacious Wolf who make accordion sounds every time he walks.

Then we get to the movie. It starts out with Santa on a beach in Florida. His sleigh got stuck in the sand and the reindeer bailed on him. Now he sits in the sun with his soiled pants lamenting the fact that its hot and he’s stuck.
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He then uses his powers to summon all the boys and girls in the area for help. Unfortunately the boys and girls prove to be pretty worthless. They brings pigs, goats, horses and a guy in a gorilla suit. None of these can pull Santa’s sleigh free.
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So Santa going nowhere gathers the kids and decides to tell them the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. What a traditional Christmas story. Jack’s world seems to consist of mat paintings and polyester clothing. And there’s a lot of groovy singing.(I’m kidding the singing is awful.)Jack of course steals the magic goose and harp.

Look at all this really realistic stuff.

Look at all this really realistic stuff.


Finally the movies gets back to Santa. Just when you think there’s no hope what comes driving along but The Ice Cream Bunny in his jalopy. Yeah Santa’s saved the end.
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Wow was this movie weird. It had the most threadbare plot I’ve ever seen. It was a perfect choice for riffing on. I have to say that combined with the weird shorts this had to have been the funniest Rifftrax I have ever seen. I can’t remember hearing such laughter as I did last night. This was great way to end their year. You can still catch an encore performance on Tuesday.
So here is a song that sums up the experience.

Ice Cream Bunny says bye in a really creepy way.

Ice Cream Bunny says bye in a really creepy way.