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Film / Phantom Soldiers

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If you can see it, you're already dead.

Phantom Soldiers is a 1987 military-action film produced between Philippines and the United States, starring Max Thayer (Mac from No Retreat, No Surrender 2).

In the aftermath of The Vietnam War, a powerful, dangerous team of black-clad operatives - dubbed "Phantom Soldiers" by locals - are indiscriminately killing civilians and soldiers alike, and slaughtering whole villages without any clear motive or intent. Sergeant Daniel Custer (Max), whose brother is reported missing in action while in Vietnam, volunteers to be sent to investigate, and ends up facing the most powerful and dangerous of enemies ever encountered by the US Army.

But what are the Phantom soldiers, whom do they serve? And who can live to tell their encounter with these terrifying, gasmask-wearing killing machines?


Phantom Soldiers contain examples of:

  • Antagonist Title: The Phantom soldiers serves as the main threat of the film, going on a rampage across villages and leaving scores and scores of dead bodies everywhere they go.
  • Badass Crew: Daniel and his team of marines.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: When the Marines, Daniel and his crew included, gets caught in a battle halfway through against the Vietcong. And at the end of the film when the heroes have to break out of the Russian base, battling Spetsnaz and Phantom soldiers everywhere.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The most effective method to kill a Phantom solider is by aiming for their noggin'.
  • Elite Mooks: The Phantom soldiers are far more formidable and dangerous than regular Vietcong and Russian soldiers, and can soak up plenty of damage before going down. Right in the opening, two dozen of them are shown slaughtering a South Vietnamese stronghold located in a village, killing everyone while suffering zero casualties.
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  • Feel No Pain: The Phantom soldiers, which are implied to be injected with pain-suppressing drugs on top of being heavily armoured. One gets shot in the chest right in the opening, and keeps going forward and resumes gunning down civilains.
  • Flamethrower Backfire: In the finale, Daniel took down a flamethrower-wielding Phantom soldier before said soldier can use his weapon, by shooting the flamethrower's tank. The results are as explosive as it sounds.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: The Phantom soldiers are clad in face-obscuring gasmasks whenever they're on a rampage.
  • Hidden Villain: Commander Hammer, the Spetsnaz operative in charge of developing the Phantom soldier program, doesn't show up until the film's last twenty minutes. For most of the film Daniel is running around the jungles of Vietnam while evading Vietcong and Phantom soldiers, until he finally get caught and sent to the hidden base.
  • Language Barrier: Daniel overhead Cook cursing in Russian after accidentally cutting his finger. Which made Daniel realize the base he's currently in is actually owned by the Spetsnaz, and that he's in enemy territory.
  • Leave No Survivors: In the aftermath of the opening village massacre, the Phantom soldiers had maybe a hundred or so villagers corralled on a beach, all of them unarmed and down on their knees. Despite the villagers' pleas, the soldiers instead blasts them with toxic gas, killing all of them.
  • Moe Greene Special: Whenever a gasmask-wearing Phantom soldier get shot in the face, many of them tends to get it in their eyes. Complete with a close-up of the lens popping out with a bloody squib.
  • More Dakka: The amount of shots fired in the movie is ludicrous.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: Cook, the... uh, cook, calls himself the "best chef in the area". He's also the only one.
  • R-Rated Opening: The film opens with the Phantom soldiers raiding a village, and gunning down civilians, resistance fighters, women and children, and blowing up huts and buildings, non-stop, in an uninterrupted 5-minute long massacre montage with at least a hundred onscreen deaths. And then the survivors gets executed by Deadly Gas.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: A Phantom soldier is about to shoot the audience in most versions of the film's poster and VHS / DVD covers.
  • Slashed Throat: Another possible method to kill a Phantom soldier. Since their throat area underneath the mask isn't as heavily armoured, slashing their jugulars can also defeat them.
  • Shooting Gallery: Daniel displays his accuracy with firearms in one of these, repeatedly nailing a target's head. This builds up his efficiency in taking down the Phantom soldiers in the climax.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Commander Hammer have several skulls displayed in his office, many which have holes punctured in the craniums.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Basically the whole movie, which has an average of at least two explosions per minute. From mortars to grenades and rockets and the tank rampage at the end.
  • Tank Goodness: In the breakout climax, Daniel have to do battle with a tank sent by Commander Hammer, which he took out by leaping on it, blowing out it's hatch, and firing his rifle inside.
  • Tap on the Head: How Daniel finds out about the Spetsnaz's secret Phantom soldiers project; when he gets knocked out from behind by one of those soldiers and then waking up in a Spetsnaz cell.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The only possible way to properly defeat a Phantom soldier, is to inflict injuries on them capable of killing regular mooks many, many times over. Special mention goes to the Phantom soldier Daniel kills by shoving an assault rifle underneath his gasmask and pulling the trigger, and another who got a grenade, sans pin, shoved down his vest.


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