McBain is an entertaining slice of early-1990s action schlock, a brutally dumb riff on the “Vietnam vets brought back into conflict” archetype that was already getting a little tired by the time. Christopher Walken stars as Robert McBain, a Vietnam POW rescued at the end of the conflict by a ragtag group of fellow Americans, including Dalton (Jay Patterson), Eastland (Steve James, the best of the bunch), and Santos (Chick Vennera). Two decade later, Santos is killed while leading a revolution against the drug-running president of his native Colombia, so McBain gathers up the squad to seek revenge and also stop the drugs that are ruining American civilization.

For the most part, McBain lives up to the promise of a film about Walken as a violent, psychopathic veteran leading a guerrilla insurgency in South America. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Fans of the genre will be happy to see Michael Ironside appear as Frank, one of McBain’s old contacts who tags along as their quartermaster of sorts. Ironside is always a welcome presence in pretty much any film, and here he shows up with a ponytail and particularly bad attitude.

Writer-director James Glickenhaus tries to infuse his tale of hyper-violence with a little bit of social commentary, with delightfully goofy results. To fund their mission, McBain and company take on local drug dealers. And by “take on,” I mean “outright massacre in broad daylight.” It’s a ludicrous scene made even sillier by the conversation they have with the lead dealer, surrounded by his dead enforcers and dope slingers. He explains to them in blunt terms the endless cycle of poverty, addiction and inequality that leads a young person to explore crime as the only way to a comfortable life. It’s the sort of lecture a movie that actually cared might try to deliver before killing each and every other person in the room.

What actually does work is the way Glickenhaus has fun with the fact that these movies are, in part, escapism pictures for middle-aged men seeking the sort of adventures young men have. He makes that subtext text with constant jokes about the way McBain’s crew doesn’t necessarily know how to use some of their most destructive gear or relying on gold cards to buy escape vehicles. It’s never the sort of film to punish them for being such dopes; this is still a fantasy, but it’s funny when it fully and proudly engages with its target audience with such self-awareness.

Aside fromm those flourishes and a fun turn by Walken, there are only a few action beats that make McBain stand apart from its voluminous action-adventure competition. It’s not a classic, but it’s worthwhile if you’re looking for something of its ilk or simply curious what it looks like when Walken plays a Rambo type.

Synapse Films is releasing McBain on Blu-ray as a fairly barebones release with a new 5.1 surround soundtrack and a commentary by Glickenhaus and film historian Chris Poggiali.