"Bat 21," about the Vietnam jungle ordeal of an Air Force colonel (Gene Hackman), was the first American movie ever shot in the Malaysian state of Sabah, on the untamed island of Borneo. Hundreds of locals played Viet Cong extras in the film. And when it opened in Sabah recently, posters pasted all over Sabah's capital, Kota Kinabalu, boasted: "The Greatest Action Adventure of All Time . . . Shot in Sabah."
But "the ads were only half-right," commented local film critic Joe Fernandez. "We preferred the Rambo serial. When you are umpteenth in a line of Vietnam war movies, the going gets tough."