FLORA FILM / GIO CINEMATOGRAFICA 1982
Tiger Joe: David Warbeck
Disillusioned gun runner, drinker and shooter of innocent cobras who is taken prisoner by the rebel fighters, once a Major in the US Army, now a transporter of guns who is still a drinker, still disillusioned and still a shooter of innocent cobras. Midnight (Pearl): Tony King
Over skilled, over hyped, over sexed and over here pilot who aids the gunrunners – has a short circuit that occurs between his brain and his balls whenever he sees a beautiful woman. Loves to dance in a crazy fashion after being shot. Goes *BANG* after a Report To The Commissioner
. Little Man (Lenny) Alan Collins
The mechanic of the team, aka The Doctor Spock of The Runways. Commits suicide when Tony King’s over-acting drives him insane.Kia: Annie Belle
Gorgeous freedom fighter that doubles as the rebel team’s medic - likes to run around in a T-shirt and panties: the standard outfit for a jungle fighter.Bronski: Giancarlo Badessi
Fat cat (literally) obese and chronic over-eater gunrunner whose payments to the team allow them to have more than just a pot to pee in. Killed by an early morning wake up call.Datu: Rene Abadeza
Sylphlike freedom fighter who does most of his fighting in a loin cloth which does little or nothing to disguise his religion. Gives Joe strange looks which we know not the meaning of. Stabbed to death.Rebel Leader: Fred Gayudo
The fearless, nameless rebel leader of the rebels fighting against the other rebels, the insanity of war and causes, the oppressive government, the terrible beer and the scriptwriters of this film. LESSONS LEARNED
War is hell: the beer is worse.
Mr Spock has a doctorate.
An M-16 can be accurately fired even with both hands tied behind your back.
Never indulge in a Mexican standoff with a cobra.
Wooden crates can be both water and fish proof.
A leisurely canoe trip can disturb your sleep and worsen a hangover.
Apart from being highly illegal, gunrunning is a fishy game.
The way to start an aeroplane is to hit it and scream “Wake up, you bum, wake up” at it.
You can smoke for two.
It is possible to be attacked by stock footage helicopters, shot at by stock footage bullets and be blown up by stock footage explosions.QUOTES
Tiger Joe: “This’ll put hair on your dipstick!”
Lenny: “The Major listens and learns, [racial epithet deleted]. Three years in Vietnam and all you learned to say to Charlie was ‘How much, honey?’"
Bronski: “Without my cash, you guys wouldn’t have a pot to pee in, Lenny dear.”
Midnight: “Be cool, fat man. And don’t s**t on yourself.”
Lenny: “Huh, he still wants to ride in front of the bus.”
Kipsan: “Without guns, everybody dies.”
Tiger Joe: [grimacing] “Yeah, if your beer doesn’t get them first.”
Lenny: “You jealous, Pearl? He bust my balls even worse than you. And stop calling me Little Man!”
Bronski: “What did Midnight breakfast on today, Joe? Snakes?”
Lenny: “You Ivy League SOB! I quit, I’m through with you s**ts!”
Tiger Joe: “What the hell’s going on around here?
Midnight: “Don’t laugh, Joe, you’re sitting on fifteen pounds of plastic explosive!”
Tiger Joe: “On WHAT? That’s not funny!”
Midnight: “I told you not to laugh!’
Tiger Joe [klonks head on tree branch] “Oooooooooo!!”
Lenny: “Certified alcohol content 80%. Sure is better than river water, huh?”
Midnight: “All you and that [gender specific epithet deleted] can do is shoot him with morphine!”
STUFF TO WATCH OUT FOR:
00:44:Whoa: enough with the racial insults please!
02:24:It seems gun-running is a fishy business indeed.
03:28: That’s a nice way to talk to an aeroplane.
03:40: Hee hee: They're waving their careers goodbye.
05:57:I’d break my thumb if I tried that.
05:59: “It’s hot but it’s real.” Yeah, real terrible.
06:00: Ouch: vampire muthaf****!
27:32: Nyahhh, nyahhh... missed me!
36:04: He got the point, I think.40:00: RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST DAVID WARBECK’S HEAD!
42:02: Judging by that grin, Midnight must be a relative of Troy MacGreggor’s.
43:17: Did he just say ervil? LMAO!
44:17: No s**t, Sherlock, I think he did in fact crash after pulling stupid aerial stunts like that.
1:00:35: So that’s where that tiger from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST vanished to.
1:02:48: OK, I won’t die if you’ll just STFU, thanks.
1:04:39: That’s an awful lot of blood for such a little man.
1:08:30: I sincerely hope that’s either apple juice or ginger ale in that bottle.
1:11:00: I didn't know that a brave gunrunner could go OOOOO after hitting his head on a tree branch.
1:11:54: CO: “Seen Trevor’s undies anywhere?”
2nd guard: “No sir, no sign of them.”
CO: “Continue the search and send the sniffer dogs out.”
2nd guard: “Ho........leee......sh.......”
1:19:32: Why is there a Deep Purple song playing in my head right about now?
1:27:07: Yikes: Shot, kicked and stabbed: that’s just adding insult to injury.
1:27:30: Ah: that’s Midnight’s which-of-you-jive-ass-honky-muthaf**kas-cut-my-nerve-endings dance.
1:31:13: There’s a rather poignant reason for this end credits music being so sad – the cinematographer Ricardo Pallotini and several others died in an aeroplane crash during filming in the Philippines. THE PLOT
Our story opens, not with the words “It was a dark and stormy night and Trevor’s undies were clean” [as if that could ever happen
)] but with several members of a gun-running squad, supposedly friends and comrades from Vietnam, working on their planes and generally giving each other gas over things like non-existent spare parts, their tour of duties in Nam and the fact that one of the team members is an African-American with a John Shaft like attitude and racial tolerance to spare. This is Cambodia: Meet Tiger Joe, Lenny (aka Little Man) and Pearl who rejoices in the nickname of Nick. No, bad joke: Midnight. As we meet them, Lenny is winding up the rubber band that powers one of the aeroplanes.
Their overweight boss Bronski arrives on the scene with a load of fish on the back of his truck with the water concealing dozens of M-16 rifles in hopefully waterproof crates and Tiger Joe is sent off to deliver the rifles to rebels in the jungle to add to their arsenal of terrible beer after screaming “Wake up, you bum, wake up!” at his aeroplane. One fatal aerial attack courtesy horrible beer, stock footage helicopters, un-synchronized machine gun sounds and stock footage explosions later, Joe is forced to flee in his damaged aircraft which he later has to ditch in a river.
After getting poked – not on Facebook but by a punji
stick – the luckless pilot is captured by other rebels, who are apparently fighting to overthrow the rebels who are under the domination of the exterior radical leftist rebels who are pitted against the rightist ultra left wing perpendicular rebels, whose plea for freedom and clean underpants, soon reach the ears and nose of Trevor from South Africa, the leader of the fearless DiamondwaspVenom Underpantian Brigade with Odinn7 and his merry band of scavenging rabid squirrels as second-in-command, who sow destruction behind the lines of the soldiers in the jungle with aerial and gut attacks from helicopters and terrible beer brewed by the oppressive regime of the ultra leftist rightist politically confused bunch of sorry-ass muthaf*****s that rail against.......
OK: I have to stop sometime and throw in a full stop somewhere, don’t I?
Anyway, Joe is taken prisoner by these soldiers, a motley band of people, including a person named Kia who is committed to THE STRUGGLE when she should have been committed to an asylum and an automotive company, as well as her sylph like boyfriend Datu who continues to shoot Joe Looks We Do Not Know The Meaning Of Exactly. After a major balls up in the lab where the film is flipped for a second or two, Joe discovers that he can walk on his head and that he can use an M16 to shoot an obnoxiously giggling gorilla with both hands tied behind his back.
In the mean time, Joe’s buddies are trying to locate him and after witnessing their boss Bronski devour a thirty course meal; they take off in search of him, all the while tenderly informing the boss to be cool and to not s**t on himself. Joe, Kia and Datu form an uneasy alliance which is compounded by Joe and Kia going boinga-boinga and a jealous Datu trying thereafter to spear Joe with his pole. Not THAT pole, his fishing pole.
During a raid on their jungle quarters, both Datu and an ever-lurking cobra are killed and the gun runners almost suffer the same fate when, on locating the crashed plane and their friend, perform lame-ass aerial manoeuvres which promptly get them blown out of the sky.
This new team push forward into the jungle and find a band of people living in caves – the team’s presence is enough to create yet another aerial attack courtesy stock footage helicopters etc, etc: kind of like a jungle wake up call. In the ensuing chaos, Bronski is killed, Lenny is hurt (specifically by Midnight’s terrible over-acting) and the team flee further into the jungle, where they meet up with the tiger that was shot at in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and where Lenny shoots himself, hearing the voices of “the boys calling me home”. The actual caller was his agent, telling him to GTFO of this movie as all his pay checks have bounced.
After the death of his friend, Joe decides to get drunk and Midnight decides to go topless and becomes a philosopher, telling the sweet lady all about the enigma that is Tiger Joe, right down to the fact that his undies are cleaner than Trevor’s and that, drinking aside, he’s not such a bad guy really. The heavily hung over Joe is later dumped into a canoe in order that once he wakes up, he can sober up very quickly due to him sitting on plastic explosive and later blow up a bridge, which he does simply by breathing on it.
Once peace has seemingly returned to the jungle, Joe and friends lead the refugees out to a beach where everyone is promptly fired upon by a battle cruiser anchored out at sea. Joe and Midnight take control of the cruiser, firing on the attackers, and everything seems to be going well, until Midnight is shot, doing his Yo-man-which-of-you-jive-ass-honky-muthas-cut-my-nerve-endings frenzied dance. Joe is pushed off the boat and it explodes, taking Midnight with it, leaving a bedraggled Joe on the beach, cursing so-called causes. Joe and Kia meet up again at a hospital where Kia is serving patients and taking people for test drives in the new Korean brand of car she shares her name with, a hug, a kiss, and cue sad music.
Despite the fact that I gave this film – known as Fuga dall' arcipelago maledetto
[Escape From the Cursed Archipelago] in Italian – four skulls, I loved this film when I first saw it in boarding school in 1985. The school had a copy of Tiger Joe
on VHS and I must have watched it more than a dozen times during my short time there: an escape from all the nonsense at school and the stars of this film, especially the late great David Warbeck, seemed to become good friends to me. I only learned years later that several people, including the director’s long time friend, cinematographer Ricardo Pallotini, died during production in a horrific aeroplane crash, but knowing this does not detract from the fact that I enjoyed the film and continue to do so, now that it is available on DVD.
A point about that DVD – available to purchase from www.impactvideo.co.za
– is that it has most definitely been transferred from what looks like a 16 millimeter print and not an altogether good one either. At one point, the image all of a sudden flips and David Warbeck discovers that he can walk on his head: also, the main cover is not from Tiger Joe
but from the execrable Operation Delta Force 5: Random Fire
, made here in South Africa. However, the pictures on the rear sleeve are correct.
This was ostensibly a sequel to director Antonio Margheriti’s earlier The Last Hunter
which in itself was a rip-off of Apocalypse Now
. Tiger Joe
reuses a lot of the helicopter assault and explosions footage from the earlier film, and all the over and under acting aside – not to mention the veritable flood of racial insults – manages to produce a pretty good looking film, with some really weird camera angles. The most unforgettable one occurs when a lone laughing gunman is staggering through the village, shooting anyone and everything and then dispatches a wounded man with his head almost in the camera’s shutter box.Tiger Joe
brings back good memories every time I see it: back then in 1985 when life wasn’t all about Prozac, cell phones, work deadlines, stress, anxiety and all the problems of this century.