Thursday, January 19

Operation: Get Victor Corpus: The Rebel Soldier (1987) - 1987 Trigon Video VHS

What the fuck?! At least that was my first thought as the credits began rolling. I wasn't particularly interested in the real story of Philippine military-deflector-turned-Communist-hero Victor Corpus of which this film details. After seeing and thinking the cover might be of interest, I found this entry over at Bamboo Gods and Bionic Boys with comments from obscure cinehoundist Jack J. of En lejemorder ser tilbage telling of how rare Victor Corpus is on video. Doing some more research didn't prove too fruitful and I couldn't tell if this flick was more action set-piece or docudrama. Nonetheless, I was drawn to its obscurity, seeming to only be known on VHS in Greece and Germany until this U.S. tape was uncovered.

So what provoked my bewilderment? After an English-text disclaimer purporting the "true story" aspect, the film begins with a brazen raid of an armory with men dumping stacked armfuls of rifles into the trunks of cars. The opening credits roll written in English and we're treated to a roomful of rebels watching a newscast spoken in English. The next scene shows a roundtable of military brass discussing what should be done with Corpus and the rebel forces, in English, but suddenly switches in mid-dialogue to Filipino. No subtitles or anything. As the film progresses, more Filipino...with English inexplicably scattered throughout.

If that's not strange enough, the English doesn't sound spoken by a different actor or crudely inserted from a different source. Being so talky, I soon couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. Just Filipino language, someone saying something like "orders are orders" or "it's not the uniform, but the people wearing it", and more Filipino in response. As you can see, the cover (and cassette labels) make no note of the language. As for the film, it seems like more of a docudrama with some gun battles sprinkled throughout. There is one semi-nasty scene of a hand-removal of a bullet to the leg in close-up. It would have been nice to have subtitles and maybe that's why this tape is so scarce being basically worthless to an English-speaking market. Weird!

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