Friday, May 15, 2015

Non-Horror Exploitation: L'Ultimo Bus di Guerra (A.K.A. The Last War Bus) (1989)

Though I still have to watch the first one, I decided to not let it hold me back and jump straight into Warbus 2. The poster indicates a bumpy ride with a long haired hero wearing a cool outfit. That turned out to be a marketing trick though as the hero in this movie walks around Afghanistan with a turtleneck sweater and nicely gelled hair. Mark Gregory has grown up though. He isn't the slightly gay looking stiff guy he was in the Bronx Warriors movies, and manages to handle his role in this movie with a little more charm, even though his looks did remind me of Lorenzo Lamas.

So Johnny Hondo is on a mission in the Russian invaded Afghanistan and once he has freed some prisoners he quickly realises that they're not going to make it out of Afghanistan on foot. An old, rusty bus is their only way out.

Even though the poster made it look like it was going to be an action filled flick, the first 45 minutes are terribly slow and boring. It's mostly shots of Gregory making his way through mountain landscapes with a cool sounding 80's music score in the background. He frequently comes across some Russians who he quickly guides to the light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of firefights, but they don't even manage to be entertaining for  a second. It's mostly extras who dramatically fall to the ground without any visible gunshot wounds (like you'd see in 60's Westerns). The few dialogue that there is is done between Mark Gregory and an Afghan kid and is often embarrassingly bad.

Fortunately after about 45 minutes and a The A-Team-like repair sequence the warbus is ready for action. From the moment they get in the rusty old wreck the movie starts to get entertaining. Not coincidentally that's also the moment Bobby Rhodes starts getting screentime. He's easily the best and funnies character in the movie, just like he was in Demoni 1 and 2. Speaking about Rhodes, the B-cast of this movie is a notable one: Mark Gregory, Bobby Rhodes and John Vernon. Luckily the action starts picking up and gets more explosive as well, including the warbus having to fight his way through mortar grenade after mortar grenade.

''The Last War Bus'' (released under a variety of titles like War Bus Commando, Warbus 2, Warbus II Afghanistan and Afghanistan Connection) is anything but a good movie. The first 45 minutes are terribly slow, but the scenes with Bobby Rhodes and the warbus make up for it. It's a must see if you're into movies where the hero manages to blast appache helicopters out of the sky with 2 shotgun rounds. Also the last movie Mark Gregory appeared in, after which he disappeared and was never heard from again.

No comments:

Post a Comment