During the production of "Last to Surrender", an entire set was ruined in a flash flood, three trucks carrying film equipment nearly fell off a cliff, shooting was interrupted by a local anti-government riot, and a pilot died when his plane crashed into the jungle. While I won't suggest that the roughness of the production foretold the quality of the finished film, it's a shame that all this had to occur in pursuit of such a very unremarkable movie. Director David Mitchell (The Killing Man) had a lot going for what could have been a very enjoyable actioneer, but in the end, underutilization of his actors and over-spotlighting a nonsense script spelled doom for one of the last genuine entries into the 90s-style action B-movie genre.
The story: when the partner of maverick cop Nick Ford (Roddy Piper) is killed during a failed bust on a Chinese drug syndicate, he pursues his murderer (Andy Yim), but much to his chagrin, he's partnered with straight-edge Chinese cop Wu Yin (Han Soo Ong, Bloodsport 2). Together, they follow their target to Burma, all the while trying to overcome their racial differences and personal dislike of eachother.
Prior to this film, Han Soo Ong had already made a name for himself as an exotic kickboxing villain in a number of kung fu films. Piper wasn't new to teaming with martial artists, having performed alongside Billy Blanks, Sonny Chiba, and Don 'the Dragon' Wilson in the past. They both had some pretty decent outings under their belts when they paired up for this one, and I had bountiful expectations for it...but I guess I should have known better. I hate to admit it, but Han Soo Ong simply doesn't deliver: while his three extremely short, lackluster fight scenes can be blamed on the director, it's his uncertainty with the English language that keeps him from developing any kind of chemistry with Roddy Piper and makes their inter-character banter so tough to endure. Piper, the B-movie mule, really knows how to work a hammy character and is definitely the best asset the movie has, but inane writing makes even him hard to like. He and Wu Yin get into the most senseless arguments, especially the fistfight which culminates their hiking through the jungle while making stupid "Tarzan" references, eating snakes, and Wu getting attacked by a tiger while taking a dump.
To its credit, the movie has an admirable scope, going from North America to Java and the Burmese jungles without a hiccup. Production values are also strong and help give the film a real action-of-yesteryear feel with neat sets and on-location shooting. I don't know the size of this one's budget, but it seems respectable when the film quality in the jungle is this clean. Despite the disappointing martial arts scenes (including a couple featuring wushu master Qingfu Pan of The Shaolin Temple), there are two relatively noteworthy bits of action: when Ford rides the trunk of a speeding car, holding on for longer than anybody who's ever done such a stunt has, and when he and Wu attack the drug dealer's jungle camp a'la "Rambo" and start blowing everything up. Oddly, the token Oriental hottie Angela Tong (Bio Zombie) doesn't show up until an hour into the movie, when she and the 50+ -year-old Piper pull an uncomfortable Steven Seagal-esque moment by getting the hots for eachother.
The strength of production makes this movie worth collecting if you're a Roddy Piper fan, but the cumulative package was sadly wasted, here. Piper probably put this one out of his mind quickly while Soo Ong immediately fled show business afterwards to run his own gym, which probably presented more comfortable opportunities to bare his handsome butt than during an impromptu tiger attack.