5 Questions: Not Another Mistake
Austria gave us Arnold Schwarzenegger. Belgium gave us Jean-Claude Van Damme. Sweden gave us Dolph Lundgren. England gave us Scott Adkins. Thailand gave us Tony Jaa. Chile gave us Marko Zaror. Redondo Beach gave us Michael Dudikoff and Australia gave us Richard Norton.
Recently while I was perusing Amazon Prime for a movie to watch, I came across the 1988 film Not Another Mistake STARRING Richard Norton. That’s right I said starring Richard Norton. Not Richard Norton sidekick, not Richard Norton villain, but an actual starring role for the Melbourne native.
I didn’t know Richard Norton ever was the star of his own action movie, but here it was just the push of a button away.
1. Why wasn’t Richard Norton the leading man in more action movies?
The answer to this question became obvious as I watched Not Another Mistake. I’m not here to blast Norton’s acting ability, but let’s face it not all actors are created equal. Some actors are better off in supporting roles. I enjoyed Norton’s work as Cynthia Rothrock’s sidekick in the China O’Brien movies and as one of the heavies in the Don “The Dragon” Wilson movie, Cyber Tracker. But Norton as the action hero in Not Another Mistake felt forced and I never really fully invested. Maybe it is because it is because his character Richard Straker had to pay for sex. No real action hero has to pay a hooker to sleep with him. They are action heroes for a reason. Women can’t help themselves. Ironically Norton, who proved to be a strong supporting player to many of his action movie contemporaries, has little to no help from his supporting cast. This didn’t help Norton’s cause. Not Another Mistake was an example of art was imitating life. In the movie, Norton’s character Richard Straker is leading a ragtag group of soldiers into Vietnam to rescue some prisoners of war. And one could say that Norton himself had the mission to make a movie with a ragtag group of actors. Which lead me to my next question…
2. Where did the term “ragtag” derive from?
From my exhaustive Internet research on this most riveting question, I learned that the answer to this question isn’t all that riveting and that I should have referred to Straker’s unit and and the supporting players in Not Another Mistake as a mongrel team instead.
3. Who had the bright idea to film an escape scene on a train?
My favorite scene in Not Another Mistake was when Straker and his crew try to get the prisoners of war out on a train. I thought this was a really unique scene and set it apart from the more famous Rambo and Missing in Action movies that centered around POW rescues. But the scene also put a spotlight on the fact that this movie had an extremely low budget. The idea to use the train was great, but the unfortunate part of filming the scene on and around the train is you could barely hear the dialogue. If you believe Missing in Action is a poor man’s Rambo, then Not Another Mistake proved to be a homeless man’s Missing in Action thanks to scenes like the train escape. Good idea. Poor execution.
4. At what point is enough enough?
The prisoners of war Straker and his men are rescuing are in rough shape when they find them as one might expect. Not only are they weak and malnourished, they also have contracted Leprosy. I fully understand Straker’s motivation to rescue these men diseased or not. His sense of loyalty to his fellow soldiers should be commended. What I don’t understand is why did the Viet Cong keep these guys around? While Leprosy may not be highly contagious, there’s still a chance the men you have guarding the infected prisoners of war could end up with Leprosy themselves. I get it, the captive soldiers were at one point your enemy, but this grudgetastic decision by the Viet Cong reminded me of the old saying “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. And the Leprosy could have actually caused the nose of one of the guards to fall off making that saying all the more appropriate.
5. Was watching Not Another Mistake a mistake?
Not Another Mistake did have its moments, but at the same time I don’t think I would ever watch it again. Norton did the best he could with the material and co-stars he was working with. Perhaps I picked the wrong Norton starring vehicle to watch. In that case I did make a mistake. Maybe Return of the Kickfighter would have been a more entertaining choice… which leads me to a bonus question, why is it called Return of the Kickfighter when it is not a sequel to a movie called Kickfighter?