Saturday Matinee: High Velocity


“High Velocity” (1976) is an obscure b-movie starring Ben Gazzara and Paul Winfield as Vietnam vets hired by a corporation to rescue a CEO kidnapped by an underground resistance group in the Philippines. On one level, it’s an early version of the heroic mercenary film which had a resurgence in the 80s after the success of Rambo and Missing in Action, but it’s also unrelentingly cynical with a surprisingly astute depiction of colonialism, government/corporate corruption and the power elite. The film is further elevated by a great lead performance by Ben Gazzara and atmospheric soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith (famous for his work on Star Trek). Interestingly, High Velocity was the first film produced by Takafumi Ohashi, who later produced tons of great (and not-so-great) Japanese genre features.

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