Hot! B-MOVIE BINGO: STRIKER

STRIKER (1988)
Showing Tuesday 2/2/2016 at The Hollywood Theatre

STRIKER is a movie that’s been waiting around in our VHS hoard for around two years. At first, we thought it was just a pretty box, featuring an oiled-up Frank Zagarino wielding a large machine gun. We figured since most jungle-extraction plots are boring, that this movie would probably be a long, dark slog through a rain forest, with bamboo cages and dripping sweat. We were wrong!

When we finally watched it, we were immediately curious about the credit sequence: Italian names flashed on screen. “Directed by Stephen M. Andrews.” We deemed it odd that so much of the crew had Italian names, and sure enough, the director’s name was a pseudonym. It was actually directed by Italian director Enzo G. Castellari (STREET LAW, THE HEROIN BUSTERS), who in the 1970s had great success making Italian “tough cop” movies that dominated Italian cinema. It was co-written by Umberto Lenzi (THE CYNIC THE RAT AND THE FIST, ALMOST HUMAN), another maestro of the genre. Known as “Poliziotteschi”, this subgenre of Italian cinema churned out copies of American movies like DIRTY HARRY and THE FRENCH CONNECTION. By the late 70s, Castellari had made a JAWS clone (THE LAST SHARK), and by the early 80s, a MAD MAX a rip-off (THE NEW BARBARIANS). So, it follows that by the late 80s, Castellari would be making his own Italian version of RAMBO, which was STRIKER.

The movie features wooden, blonde beefcake Frank Zagarino as John “Striker” Slade, who is “best in extraction from hostile territories”. His weapon of choice is a slingshot with a brass knuckle grip—no wonder he’s considered the best! He’s called upon by the US government when his old war buddy turned journalist, Frank Miller, is kidnapped by the truth-silencing Nicaragua crime lord “Kariasin”. Guided by a beautiful but deadly local woman named Marta, Striker infiltrates the jungle hideout of Kariasin… and beyond!

Frank is played by John Phillip Law (DANGER: DIABOLIK, DEATH RIDES A HORSE), who is no stranger to Italian B-movies. He’s Diabolik! Surely Striker and Diabolik would make a formidable team.

Note: every movie we mentioned in this article is awesome. Directed by Enzo G. Castellari.

Trailer: