|TDK's full frame Japanese VHS entitled "REGAIN"|
The career of the embodiment of one of those Chinese knock-off action figures, Reb Brown, can be likened to the fast fall of heavy metal's mainstream prominence to grunge in the early '90s. Starting out in the '70s, the actor received steady work throughout two decades only for the bottom to fall out of his specific niche almost immediately after the dawn of the '90s. Either by this factor or perhaps by choice, Last Flight to Hell marked his last leading role before stumbling around in a handful of minor work before running cold for over a decade after 1998. David A. Prior's next upcoming masterpiece, Night Claws, marks his long belated return. (see Dread Central article here)
Surprisingly Chuck Connors, just two years before his passing, is always and obviously 100% game. With his chiseled visage holding up and hair perfectly coiffed, the best way to describe his presence can be summed up in a comment on the trailer on YouTube, "Chuck Connors acts the shit outta that shit." The veteran never sees any action sequences, but like a pro never once seems above spitting out his trite lines with unexpected zeal. Mike Monty, who seemed to make an '80s dayjob out of jumping between every Italian/Filipino production imaginable, cashes his check and is naturally dependable. Another Bruno Mattei vet, David Brass, gets more than a walk-on as a member of Brown's extraction team.
The action (to the recycled tune of Strike Commando's music) is where you find it with a few gunfights, remote hut denotations, venomous viper stand-offs, and Brown making teeth find stomachs through force. Instead of his patented scream n' spray, Brown uses almost entirely controlled machine gun bursts with zero vocalization. The only time that he breaks out the rebel yell is in the climax and is immediately shot in the guts. Almost as if that little touch acts as a (probably) unintentional rejection of Brown's God-like panache for surviving even the most intense onslaughts untouched in prior features. Last Flight to Hell begins and ends on a whimper much like its star's career and the bygone industry that produced it. Still, I can't say I wasn't entertained despite my sides not hurting from laughter afterward.
(trailer uploaded by fellow awesome tapehead blog, The Scandy Factory)