Val Verde is a fictional country or city used by Hollywood filmmakers (mostly 20th Century Fox) when they require a South/Central American locale without getting into legal or diplomatic disputes. The name translates as "Green Valley", as "Val" is the Portuguese and Spanish apocopic word, the old-fashioned French word, and Friulian, Galician, Romansch and Venetian words for "valley".
Val Verde has principally been used as a plot device or location in place of real Latin American countries in action and adventure movies, as a particular result of the United States' rocky relations with many nations in the region during the 1980s.
When glimpsed in Commando, it appears to be a poor nation, where subsistence agriculture (i.e. livestock) is side-by-side with military propaganda and constant military presence. Inhabitants appear poor but happy, and there is evidence of a trade embargo reminiscent of that placed on Cuba in the presence of battered but functional vintage 1950s cars.
While the meaning, if any, of the name of the fictional Val Verde is not definitively established, many real-life places named Val Verde derive their names from the Portuguese or Spanish for "green valley".
- In Commando, the country is presided over by President Velázquez, an apparent puppet leader installed by an American-backed revolution assisted by Colonel John Matrix (Schwarzenegger) and Captain Bennett (Vernon Wells), during which the nefarious General Arius was deposed. Bennett later aligns himself with Arius when Matrix discharges him for disregard for order, and they force Matrix to help him reinstate Arius' dictatorship, but are thwarted when Matrix fights back and kills them all. In the movie, the country is an 11-hour flight from Los Angeles International Airport, which places it approximately 5500 miles from California and is likely to be near Chile, Paraguay or Brazil.
- In Predator, the country is described as being invaded by communist inspired revolutionaries. The rebel camp attacked by the team has at least one "Russian Advisor". The novelization of the 1987 film claims the country is in fact Val Verde though.
- In Die Hard 2, General Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero) is a General in exile, awaiting trial in the United States. He is aided by former special forces members to escape from his prison plane (prior to landing, Esperanza himself strangles his prison guard and steals his handcuff key and gun, then shoots both of the pilots and takes the controls). Esperanza is wanted by the U.S. government for drug trafficking, but the leader of the rogue special forces unit, Colonel Stuart (William Sadler), wishes to free Esperanza because he "stands up to communist aggression", and takes over Washington Dulles International Airport's air traffic control systems to rescue Esperanza.
Background information and notesEdit
- Writer and originator Steven de Souza has also set the Devil's Due comic book Sheena in Val Verde and described his reason for using it: "It's something like Guyana, a country which encompasses lush Caribbean resorts popular with tourists, an unexplored mysterious rainforest, and a mix of Anglo, Spanish, African, Creole and indigenous cultures. This is a country of the imagination I've used in several films and TV programs, which I thought was my little inside baseball joke, but Eric Lichtenfield, the author of 'Actions Speak Louder,' recently sent me a Wikipedia page on it! Seriously, my Dad's family is from that part of the world and it's something I can write about with some familiarity."
- Shared personnel link all appearances: Commando, Die Hard 2 and the short-lived series "Adventure Inc." (starring Michael Biehn) were written by Steven E. de Souza, Commando and Predator both star Arnold Schwarzenegger and both films, along with Die Hard 2, were produced by Joel Silver; de Souza produced the ABC TV series "Supercarrier" in which that country also makes an appearance.