Sunday, January 26, 2020

ZONE TROOPERS (1985) Blu-ray Review

Zone Troopers (1985) d. Bilson, Danny (USA) (86 min)

In contrast to this month’s other KRYPTIC ARMY selection, while I had been aware of its indelible box art staring back at me for decades from the VHS shelves, Zone Troopers had never really struck me as “must-see material,” and being that I was never the biggest Empire/Full Moon fan growing up, it was never more than a blip on my radar. However, as the years rolled by and my tastes mellowed, I’ve learned to appreciate and enjoy quite a bit of Charles Band’s output, so it was with a mild degree of optimism that I pulled this one up off the interwebs. Happily, I was not disappointed.

Landing squarely in Empire’s patented wheelhouse of lighthearted creature feature fare, the story follows a dwindling squadron of American soldiers during WWII trapped behind enemy lines “somewhere in Italy” (funny, since this was the first Band production shot in his new Rome studios), led by the “unkillable Iron Sarge,” played by incomparable genre staple Tim Thomerson. Sarge and his grunts, which include young buck Joey (Timothy Van Patten, Class of 1984), battle-weary Mittens (Art LeFleur, The Blob), and intrepid war journalist (Biff Manard, Trancers), stumble across a band of Nazis who have big plans for the huge spaceship that has crash-landed in the Italian countryside, as well as its recently hatched bug-eyed occupant.

In addition to the script by Bilson and Paul De Meo (Eliminators, The Rocketeer,) there are numerous Empire regulars on hand, including Band as executive producer, Mac Ahlberg handling cinematography chores, John Carl Buechler on makeup and creature effects, editor Ted Nicolaou, and composer Richard Band (Charlie’s brother).

Light-hearted, wholesome, chest-thumping patriotic fun for the whole family, with our American boys befriending the ET and teaming up to defeat the bad guys, complete with Hitler getting punched in the face before the final reel.


Audio commentary with writer/director Danny Bilson and screenwriter Paul De Meo.

Interview with actor Tim Thomerson (11 min)

Theatrical Trailer

Trivia: Bilson’s only other directorial effort of note was the “1980s stand-up comedy stars movie” The Wrong Guys with Richard Lewis, Louie Anderson, Franklyn Ajaye, and Richard Belzer (which also starred Thomerson, LaFleur, Manard, and Van Patten).

Zone Troopers is available now on Blu-ray from Kino Lorber and can be ordered HERE:


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