Warbus 2 (1989)

This is yet another film with a bunch of names: Warbus 2, The Last Warbus, Warbus Commando, Afganistan Connection, and Afghanistan: The Last Warbus are all titles it went under. Good luck finding it if you seek it out.

In 1986, the “classic” Italian ‘Namsploitation action film Warbus thundered onto the silver screen in the wake of Rambo: First Blood Part II. So when John Rambo launched his personal war against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1988, what was Italy to do?

Release a knock-off! It’s Afghanistansploitation at its finest in Warbus 2, starring Italian 1980s B-movie action star Mark Gregory in his final film role ever! Here, Mark Gregory is sent in deep behind enemy lines to recover a hidden school bus and the government secrets it contains – or so he thinks. In reality, it’s a private mission to recover part of the deposed Shah of Iran’s personal fortune, to make a corrupt army officer played by John Vernon rich. But once Gregory goes in, he finds a pair of Afghani children who want to escape their ravaged country for the freedom-ripe shores of America as well as a pair of aging American POWs captured by a local warlord who want the Shah’s money for themselves. Will Mark Gregory be able to take on half of Spetznaz and the Soviet military, Afghani bandits, and greedy Americans out for their money while also driving a shit-tastic school bus nearly 100 miles to the Pakistani border?

Dude, he takes out two helicopters in this movie with small arms. You better believe he can drive a freaking bus. This is another one of those movies where the Americans never miss and almost never reload. It’s competent in its action scenes, with a decent amount of stuff blowing up, but it’s not what I would consider anything remotely close to believable. Ok, ok, I have to add that not only are the US soldiers perfect deadshots with every weapon they pick up, but apparently so are Afghani children, particularly little girls. A little girl helps out Gregory at one point by absolutely destroying an entire camp of bandits with an AK-47 she happened to find sitting around. Even after being shot, she mows folks down like it’s nothing. Not bad for a ten-year-old. As for the enemy, they couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn, though every now and again they do get lucky for dramatic effect. Gregory takes them on by the bucket load and stacks their corpses like firewood. Also Afghanistan looks vaguely like eastern Europe…

Unfortunately, this movie just doesn’t hold up to the first Warbus, just like Rambo III isn’t as good as Rambo: First Blood Part II. There, I said it. This is a sentence I never thought I’d say, but it’s the truth. Warbus 2 comes off far more confusing than the straightforward plot of the original. Rambo was better in Vietnam than in Afghanistan, and so were tales of people driving school buses.

After this, Gregory apparently got tired of acting…or whatever you want to call what he does. He was admittedly never very charismatic in front of the camera, likely because he never felt comfortable in front of it. His career lasted just slightly over a decade, rounding out to 11 films total, most of which were action movies of one kind or another.

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