Review: A Force of One (1974)


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Starring Chuck Norris, Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, Jennifer O’Neill

Fight Choreography by Chuck Norris and Aaron Norris

Directed by Paul Aaron

Chuck Norris always brings a lot of images of a tough guy karate kicking (or throwing his patented spinning backfist) at some poor schmuck who spins helplessly away. Of course, Chuck’s claim to fame revolves around two things: Walker Texas Ranger and getting his ass handed to him by Bruce Lee in Way of the Dragon. Outside of those things, his films haven’t been good, at least with the one’s I’ve seen to this point. So is A Force of One, his fifth film, the one to break the mold?

Nope, and it isn’t because of Chuck himself. I’ll get to that.

A Force of One finds a task force of police officers trying to break up a drug ring, and the film begins as two of these officers follow a teenager on a skateboard , one they think is actually a drug delivery boy, to a sporting good store. Later that night the two cops break into the store only to be killed by a masked assailant using martial arts. One of the detectives, Mandy (O’Neill) has the idea that her fellow cops were killed by someone skilled with their hands. With the blessing of her mumble mouth boss, she goes to see Matt Logan (Norris) a champion karate master who is getting ready for his biggest fight against Sparks (Wallace). Eventually Matt Logan agrees to help the police officers by training them in martial arts, but Logan’s snooping around brings the bad guys take him and his family out, and of course Logan won’t allow that to happen, and must face corrupt cops, drug dealers, and the mysterious killer in order to save what family he has left…

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A Force of One really needed to live up to its title. Namely, it needed more, much more Chuck Norris. He’s the reason to see the film, and the film treats him as if he’s a guest star for the first hour of the film. What we are subjected to is boring cops we could care less about, half of whom get murdered off. Their acting is just terrible, except for Jennifer O’Neill, and she’s passable at that. Her boss, well, I couldn’t understand half a word of what he said. He rambled and mumbled crap I just couldn’t understand. Hell, it didn’t look like Norris understood a word he said either. The story is unexciting, and there are no real thrills or suspense in the movie. I blame the shoddy direction and poor cinematography.

The fights are okay, but nothing imaginative or worth really getting into. The one good fight was really ring fight between Norris and Wallace, and really gave both men a chance to showcase their patented moves, which they do and do well. They get one final fight at the end, but this fight committed two of my cardinal sins: the fight was mostly slow motion and was shot at night with too many shadows hiding the moves.

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All in all I just can’t recommend this film. Chuck has actually done better films, but this one just has no fun whatsoever.

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 4

The film had some decent ideas, but poor acting that WASN’T Chuck’s and characters I could care less about brought everything down. I barely want to call it a Chuck Norris movie.  That would require the star to actually be in the film.

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