American Commando 3: Savage Temptation (1988)

Directed by: Charles Lee
Written by: Benny Ho
Producers: Joseph Lai & Betty Chan
Starring: Pierre Kirby, Sean Odell, Alan Cooper, Sean Paul, Ma Sha & Liu Hsiao-Fen


Acquiring the Richard Chen directed Temptation for their next entry in the unrelated American Commando series starring Pierre Kirby, the Liu Hsiao-Fen (mostly) comedy was yet another lazy cash in on her sexy image that oddly came about via a good dramatic performance initially. In IFD's hands, not a lot has changed and their additions lack snap, colour and fun.

For the English language re-edit, Liu is now Nora (and is also now Fonda Lynn for IFD's credits) who goes to the city with her brother Eddie and gets drawn into a blackmailing scheme using her as bait. The Hong Kong police department (led by the duo of Pierre Kirby and Sean Odell) are after a gang of criminals (Ronald, Bud and Stewart. "A nasty bunch" with rather mild names for hard criminals) with ties to the crew Nora is unwillingly involved with...

If anything American Commando 3: Savage Temptation is a more streamlined version of Temptation and some more broadly, comedic footage is edited out to make room for the modern action and martial arts. A good choice on paper but one that doesn't enhance Richard Chen's footage or Charles Lee's either as both sets of finished footage are pretty uninspiring. Kirby has the skill to elevate pretty pedestrian scenes however and clearly embraces the 80s action hero type he's asked to play but there's been better examples and greater freedom of this elsewhere. This American Commando is simply too serious where it instead should've tried a bit more of a wild and fun aura.

Otherwise IFD saw no reason to re-format the story of Temptation as the dialogue is sometimes verbatim. Some evidence of Liu Hsiao-Fen (unfortunately) being used as a comedienne is still intact, her intensity in more physical scenes versus Ma Sha is compelling but left is still the product that was only after the commercial appeal present in her. Not the skill. IFD puts the Taiwanese performers and themselves in the same room through editing on occasions but the trickery is so basic (plus the print quality varies between the movies) that it's a dead illusion before it even starts.

When IFD dumped the ninja line (and when Godfrey Ho eventually left the company), there was merely sporadic sparkles in their product. Gone was colour but gone was also creative lunacy, eye for action and this more gunplay infused product can't compete. Especially not since very few performers deliver action with any kind of timing. A stale nature is being spread across the product and attempts to punch up the product bounces back hard into IFD's faces.


reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson