A fantastic ecological action adventure. A life and death struggle to save the Amazon rainforest.
Antonio Margheriti was a great Italian action movie director, commanding such genre classics as Cannibal Apocalypse, Yor, The Last Hunter and Alien from the Deep. He also directed an ecologically-minded action movie called Indio in 1989, about a half-Indian ex-marine Daniel Morell (Francesco Quinn from Platoon, Hell Ride and a whole lot of TV series) who fights alongside the native population of the Amazon rainforest to hold back an evil corporation's attempt to log the forest. Indio 2 follows the same general plot.
Filmed two years later and with Marvelous Marvin Hagler reprising his role as Sergeant Iron, the story starts with the execution and cruel decapitation of Daniel by corporation boss Vincent van Eyck (German actor Dirk Galuba in a rare English-speaking role) who is both referenced as being Dutch and South African; yay for continuity. The US Army get wind of this and ask Sergeant Iron to go check out what's been going on in the Amazon armed only with a camera for some reason.
This was a great little eco-action flick; I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and didn't look at the time once. The acting is pretty woeful accross the board but it didn't really affect anything. The story and direction was strong enough to carry the actors, and the action was bountiful enough to keep me entertained with what Marvelous Marvin was doing and not what he was saying. When he did speak, it was generally wooden and on more than one occasion acciddentally hilarious.
"Will you lead us my friend?" "...Yes. I will lead you."
There's plenty of solid action throughout. Moments after he arrives in the Amazon he knocks two armed guys unconscious with his bare hands. He meets the local tribe and one of their leaders, Ugadi (Frank Cuervo) who tells him all about the issues they have with the corporation that wants to build a highway through the Amazon. When the tribes did not agree to the plans they were killed or put into forced labour. One of the early scenes of the tribespeople working chainsaws and tirelessly chopping trees actually made me well up a bit inside, it was moving. Anyway, Marvin "frees" the slaves early on in the movie so it's obvious that there will be a retaliation. Marvin goes all John Rambo on the mercenary's arses, setting explosive booby-traps and the like. Fed up with losing his men, van Eyck bombs the crap out of the villagers with nerve gas leaving them with horrible burns. That's when Marvin declares that they've lost and needs a good pep talk from Ugadi about leadership.
The ending is reminiscent of everything from Avatar to Return of the Jedi, especially the Ewoks hurling stones at the high-tech stormtroopers. That's exactly what we get here with the Indio firing arrows at mercenaries with machine guns, and Marvellous Marvin Hagler performing the Han Solo role of providing modern-age weaponry to assist in fighting back. Silos and warehouses explode in a satisfying manner and we then get the one-on-one showdown between Marvin and van Eyck with the hilarious line that I end this review with.
"Who the hell is Mama Lou?" "She's... a lady." "Well we mustn't keep the lady waiting!"
Special mention has to go to Jacqueline Carol. Why this woman didn't do any more roles than this we may never know, but she should have. She's hysterical as the fat bar owner and guns-for-drugs cartel runner Mama Lou. After concluding what must be the only successful drug deal in cinema (where everyone gets what they want and no-one dies) she meets Marvelous Marvin and offers him a woman (she's a pimp as well). What Marvin really wants is access to the weapons storage. After ditching the girl, he and Ugadi break into the storage room and start loading up their van with munitions. Soon after, Mama Lou and a guy that looks like Borat catches them and Ugadi is strung up from a tree while Lou starts beating Marvin with her girth and bites his arm solidly with her golden grills! Marvin gets her in a headlock while she still has her teeth wrapped around his bicep and starts punching her in the head! It's solid gold entertainment.
I've gotten this far and not mentioned the also-tagged Charles Napier, van Eyck's boss. He's really just tagged as a courtesy. Man, if there was a better definition for bait-and-switch than Napier in this movie I'd like to hear it. He literally flies in, tells van Eyck he's just been fucked by a native and a black man, calls in reinforcements and then fucks out again. This all takes place in all no more than ninety seconds. It's like when Krusty the Clown does his lines for the Krusty doll ("Bada bing, bada boom, I'm done. Learn from the professionals, kid.").
Hunt this down if you can. I was lucky to trip over this in an opportunity shop but eBay appears to have a few copies of the US tape going quite cheap and still new in shrink wrap. Well worth your time.
"This is for Daniel Morell! And because I'm black, mother fuckeeerrrrrrrr!!!!!"
Solid enough fullscreen VHS presentation. IMDB lists the movie as being filmed in scope but either that's incorrect (there is no DVD to check up on) or the centre of frame was always kept in mind when filming, because everything is contained nicely. Sound was stereo and in fine shape. Runtime 95 minutes.
A local Vinnies op-shop for $2 on VHS.