Anthony Glenn (Todd Field) goes through basic training before joining the hundreds of soldiers being shipped out to Vietnam. He has only just settled into life at camp before Major Sorenson arrives and organises the group for a raid on a small village from two helicopters - the troops are ordered to capture women for interrogation but when the second helicopter is destroyed, Glenn and several other soldiers are left on the ground, forced to walk through the jungle. Glenn is the only survivor of an ambush, but he is helped by a local woman called Mia and makes it back alive. During his recovery he is shocked to bump into Mia again and he discovers that Major Sorenson is supplying his female prisoners to local criminal gangs to be drugged up and forced to work as prostitutes...
Although released as a sequel to Cirio H. Santiago's action-fest Eye of the Eagle, Inside the Enemy has nothing but the setting in common with the first film. He returns as producer, but Roger Corman's American production company New Concorde provided actor-turned-director Carl Franklin to helm and write the script. The opening training scenes give the impression that this is going to be a typical Vietnam war 'grunt' movie, in the style of Full Metal Jacket (1987), but instead it morphs into a very different film, becoming more of a drama with thriller trappings that makes very little mention of the conflict itself (in fact the story could easily work with any conflict or peace-keeping operation in the background).
It is hard to predict what direction the plot is going to take, with a number of unexpected twists and turns and a good number of action scenes that never come across as gratuitous and that keep the film moving at a fair pace to a solid climax. Characterisation is noteworthy - Glenn is brave but certainly not the invincible, one-step-ahead hero of most similar films and it is easy to believe that he could fail - Sorenson is not comic book evil but a much more unsettling creation, a completely plausible figure, prepared to put others through hell to get his own profit. The film does tackle a number of rather dark themes including forced and child prostitution and it is to its credit that the script does not exploit these scenes for nudity but treats them with real sincerity.
Unfortunately behind the camera Franklin is not as consistent as he is with his scripting. Most of the film is well presented - the trek through the jungle and the urban scenes are ably handled - unfortunately the action and dramatic scenes are very flat, largely thanks to some generic 1980s synth music and workmanlike editing - the closing shots of the film lack any of the emotion or tension they should have had, feeling like just another scene rather than the big ending. The early village raiding scene also highlighs a recurring problem, although there is plenty of good looking equipment and hardware in use (including the ubiquitous Hueys) the actors have been allowed to run around waving their machine guns like kids playing soldiers and the result is to make these scenes look daft.
American actor Todd Field (sporting a distinctly Martin Sheen-esque haircut throughout the film) plays the leading role well, his slender frame is much more suited to the role than a more bulky action star would have been. Sorenson is played by Andy Wood, no doubt cast because of his appearance in Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985) and he really convinces as the subtly evil Major. Writer/director Franklin writes himself in, in a small part as a Colonel.
A complete change of pace for the series, Inside the Enemy is well written, covering some very interesting ideas but some poor editing and generic music leaves the action scenes feeling flat - fortunately this is not an action picture and the rest of the film looks good with some strong acting. Of interest to fans of the more serious war movies.
|Anyone famous in it?||No-one particularly well known.|
|Directed by anyone interesting?||Carl Franklin - an American television actor who later studied as a director, he was hired by Roger Corman's 'New Concorde' company and helmed David Carradine thriller Nowhere to Run (1989).|
|Who else was involved?||Executive producer Roger Corman - American exploitation veteran who had a successful directoral career.
Producer Cirio H. Santiago - one of the biggest Filipino film-makers and also directed a number of films.
|Any gore or violence ?||A few bloody scenes but nothing really gory.|
|Any sex or nudity?||Several brief topless shots.|
|Who is it for?||Not enough action to statisfy action fans, this well written film will be of interest to fans of more serious war films.
|Eye of the Eagle (1986)||The original is one of the most absurdly over-the-top war films ever made.|
|Eye of the Eagle III (1989)||A return to the action packed scenes of the original, but with a more coherent storyline.|
|Visuals||Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1 fullscreen. Colour
Print quality is generally good, although some brief shots seem to be very scratchy as though from two different sources.
The film was almost certainly indended primarily for video and television and so the fullscreen ratio would seem to be correct.
|Audio||English stereo - sounds okay, some dialogue scenes have noticable hiss in the background (probably from the live recording).
German stereo - sounds fine.
|Extras||This disc includes:
|Availability||German DVD release - title Verraten in Vietnam.|
|Region||Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC|
|Other regions?||Available in the US from New Concorde productions - now out-of-print.|
|Cuts?||Cut status unknown - no apparent cuts. English language print.