FROM JUNGLE HELL TO URBAN HATE
Nam, a green jungle hell. A terrifying place of death, violence and bloody war where seeing your buddies die in front of you is a daily event and getting your seed corrupted by Agent Orange is an occupational hazard. Poor Ricky came home with a messed up head and scrambled DNA, now he has a mutated baby, a nagging wife and a grim collection of junkie friends to deal with. In the dilapidated tenements of Staten Island, life is harsh and sanity is transitory at best.
Combat Shock is Troma s meanest, grittiest movie. A headfirst trip into the seedy urban trough where hookers, desperate junkies and slowly unravelling Vietnam vets crawl over each other just to survive as the movie jacks up the grime flecked horror on its journey to one of no budget cinema s most shocking conclusions.
You ve witnessed the Surf Nazis on the rampage, you ve laughed at the kids of the Class of Nuke Em High... Now take a trip into Troma s dark heart in COMBAT SHOCK.
We cut to Giovinazzo's flat where we learn of his reaccuring nightmares, (the effect of the atrocities projected on his face works excellently, giving a trully nightmarish impression.) and meet his nightmarish baby. (I couldn't decide who I would leased prefer to be related to, the bloated, nagging wife or "toxic" baby.) The scenes with the baby seem to be lifted straight from Eraserhead and seem a little out of place.
Our lead is given an eviction notice, so he takes to the streets of New York to find a job to pay the rent. This is what most of the film is dedicated to, Buddy Giovinazzo foucuses in, and attempts to magnify the violent, seedy and drug infested side of the city as he follows Ricky G. What we meet on the way is the usual ghetto despots, and druggies (some of which are acted so poorly they verge on the ridiculous, and with such a "cheesy" soundtrack you would be forgiven in thinking that at times this was being played for laughs.) This has been portrayed far more effectivly in films like Taxi driver and Bascketcase, where the Directors imply the tone, rather than adding a moralising monologue.
The end of the film is worth the money for the DVD on its own. After failing miserably to gain employment our hero is driven to stealing a ladies handbag (que more sanctimony "Ive been in the jungle." ie, concrete.) And, unfortunatly, gets beaten by a loan shark and his goons. But Ricky G manages to conceal a gun and kill the aggressors, and totally lose his mind in the process. Now equipped with a demented, God-head type ego, he goes back home, shoots his family and puts the babies corpse in the oven before putting a bullet in his head.
The final scene is very stark and unflinching, the realism just about compensates for the clumsy sanctimony and poorly acted stereotypes.
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