Archive for the Chuck Norris Category

Review: A Force of One (1974)

Posted in Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, Chuck Norris with tags , on August 27, 2013 by Michael S. Moore

Force of one 3

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…

force of one 4

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.

forceone

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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Review: The Expendables 2 (2012)

Posted in Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Scott Adkins with tags , , , on August 18, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Jet Li, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Scott Adkins, Liam Hemsworth, Yu Nan

Fight Choreography by Don Theerathada (also as Don Tai)

Directed by Simon West

The first Expendables film was a modest hit, showing that the old aging action stars still had what it took to carry a film. More must be better as more stars are added and Stallone, while co-writing the story handed the directing chores to Simon West (Con Air) and even had some new talent play with the ‘boys in what amounts to a far stronger film than the previous effort, but not without a small problem or two.

Expendables 2 catches up with the crew of Barney Ross (Stallone) Lee Christmas (Statham), Toll Road (Couture) Hale Caesar (Crews) Gunnar Jensen (Lundgren), Yin Yang (Li) and their newest recruit Billy the Kid (Hemsworth) as they break into a south american base to rescue none other than Trench (Schwarzenegger) who had been embarassingly captured while trying to extract a wealthy Chinese businessman. The Expendables save them both, and Yin Yang takes the businessman back home.

Meanwhile the Expendables are sent on another mission by Church (Willis) whom you remember they screwed over in the previous film, so here is payback. Church has Ross and Co. escort one of his agents Maggie to a plane that has crashed in Russia to retrieve a computer. Their mission is failed when they are ambushed by Vilain (JCVD) and his henchman Hector (Adkins). Vilain kills one of the Expendables, and the group vows revenge, and takes the fight back to Vilain, but not without some high powered help…

As a film, The Expendables 2 has a much better story than the first, but the characters remain the same, with the most character development given to the character with the least amount of screen time. That’s not a bad thing though as we don’t need to know much more about them. The main stars are basically playing their most famous onscreen personas, and no one takes the film seriously, which for a film of this type is a good thing. What is not so good is that there isa little too much winking at the camera as each character goes through their most famous lines, like Arnold with the “I’ll be back” which, in all fairness, is actually a long set up for a joke that comes toward the end of the film, and Chuck Norris plays on just about everything from his films to the Chuck Norris jokes.

The funniest scenes in the film involve Lundgren, and they actually weave Dolph’s real life chemical engineering degree and MIT background into the already twisted Jensen, now making him an insane genius. Van Damme is fantastic as Vilain, and really shows that JCVD can be a very good charismatic bad guy in action films, and he can still give those pretty jump kicks. Just like Stallone and Arnold, JCVD needs to return to A-list Hollywood films!  Scott Adkins (Undisputed 3 and Ninja) kinda channels Yuri Boyka as he plays another Russian bad guy. Jet Li is funny once again as Yin Yang but his part nearly amounts to a cameo, which was disappointing. Liam Hemsworth and Yu Nan, as the new young faces on the team are able to more than hold their own.

The fight choreography is much better than the previous film, because 1) Corey Yuen decided to stop slumming it in American films and didn’t do this one and 2) Simon West’s camerawork was MUCH better as was the editing so you can actually tell what is happening in the fight scenes, especially Jet Li’s, whose fight scenes are a lot better than what he did in the first film. Perhaps the most improved though is Jason Statham, who gets the lion’s share of martial arts fighting, and his duel with Scott Adkins is a highlight. Don Tai did the fight choreography, and that is a name you need to remember. Don is part of the Jackie Chan Stunt Team, and did stunts and some choreography for films like Blood and Bone, Rush Hour 2 and 3, Haywire, GI Joe Retaliation, Bullet in the Head (new Stallone film), and had even been offered a starring role in Ong Bak. What that means is that ALL the fights had a singular voice, as even Randy Couture had fight moments that were reminiscent of Hong Kong cinema, having him perform his fights a lot faster than he did in the first film. Don Tai is a new talent that I think we will see a lot more of, and soon.

Overall, The Expendables 2 is a fun time in the theater that finally tickles that 80’s action vibe that proves it’s still fun to watch Stallone and the boys crack a one-liner while blasting/punching/kicking/maiming/exploding the baddies at the same time!

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (8) Solid work all around, as Don Tai is able to give Jet Li a great fighting moment, as well as making Randy Couture look great, and especially for giving Statham a faster Hong Kong style of fight choreography which he did well with, and his duel with Scott Adkins was pretty good. JCVD never looked better.

STUNT WORK: (9) Bodies really went flying all over the place and the stunt performers did a great job during the fight scenes and dealing with explosions and nasty falls.

STAR POWER: (11) It doesn’t get much better than this, but I’ll say that it’s the young upcoming talent that has me intrigued, starting with Don Theerathada and Liam Hemsworth, who is in the upcoming Red Dawn remake and of course you know his brother Chris (Thor). Scott Adkins brought the goods for his first starring A-list film. Now get him his own damn A-list film, Hollywood!

FINAL GRADE: (8) The Expendables 2 is leaps and bounds better than the first film, with great new additions, funnier camaraderie, and a fantastic finale that will leave you in action hero bliss!

NEXT: Cliff Lok takes on Shaolin Assassins in Choi Lee Fut!

 

 

Review: Forced Vengeance (1982)

Posted in Chuck Norris, Richard Norton with tags , on January 2, 2012 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Chuck Norris

Fight Choreography by Aaron Norris

Directed by James Fargo

Chuck Norris stars as Josh Randall, a military vet now working for Sam Paschal, a Jewish casino owner in Hong Kong. Josh does work getting folks who owe Sam money to pay up. In most other films a character like this would be the villain, but here he’s the good guy. He has a smoking hot girlfriend Claire, who lives with him on a boat, and life seems to be good. And then once you remember this is a Chuck Norris film called Forced Vengeance, you just wait for things to head south, and they do really fast as Sam’s son David tries to make a deal to merge the casino with a local casino baron and member of a secret organization called Osiris. When Sam refuses, of course he and his son are killed, and Randall finds he has to protect the only other owner, Sam’s daughter Joy. Randall and Joy, along with Claire find themselves on the run until an ambush causes Randall to go on the attack, and now he’ll have to kill his way to the leader of Osiris to stop them once and for all.

Forced Vengeance plods along at the beginning until Sam and David are killed, then the film moves faster, but you’ll have to deal with bad acting until them. Chuck is…well, Chuck, and he’s not a good actor but he has a screen persona that works well in this. The women are there mostly for eye candy, and work well for that, but they don’t anything else but run around with Chuck bra-less and scream a lot. The villains are cookie cutter and the steps they take to kill Joy and Randall doesn’t seem to match with their ambitions.

The fight choreography is not too imaginative, and has no flow or any real complexity. Aaron Norris keeps things simple, and even the best fight toward the end between Chuck and a nameless thug is pedestrian at best. I take that back. The best fight is a fight we never really see as Chuck fights a guy that we only see as their silhouettes near a neon sign. Most American fight choreography of the early 80’s were like that, but there are still ways it could’ve been done better. Little did anyone in the United States know that at the time Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung were redefining what fight choreography was and could be.

Forced Vengeance is a mediocre film that doesn’t seem to aspire to be anything more. It isn’t even a good showcase for Chuck Norris’ skills.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best):

CHOREOGRAPHY: (3) Barely passable, but then again I’ve never been a fan of Aaron Norris’ fight choreography.

STUNTWORK: (5) The stuntmen don’t really have to do much here. They take a few spills, but not much more than that. Their stuntwork matches the film’s ambition.

STAR POWER: (7) Chuck Norris, and that’s it. Still potent, however. It must be the moustache. Richard Norton has a small role, but no martial arts.

FINAL GRADE: (5) Forced Vengeance is an average film that has no ambition except to be a by the numbers action film with Chuck Norris as the star. Chuck is the only thing quality about this film.

Review: The Octagon (1980)

Posted in Chuck Norris, Richard Norton, Tadashi Yamashita with tags , , , on September 13, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Chuck Norris, Lee Van Cleef, Tadashi Yamashita

Fight Choreography by Aaron Norris

Directed by Erik Karson

The Octagon is a heartfelt story of one man’s quest to live the rest of his life never having to see or deal with that normal affliction many 80’s action heroes had to deal with…ninjas. Okay, so heartfelt is a strong word…but it kinda is. The Chuck Norris love is on full display here, as the film opens with Chuck standing silhouetted in from of a setting sun, talking a lot of nonsensical shit that still won’t mean much later. The film then jumps to a group of lively looking folks walking in the forest toward a village, followed in the brightness of day by ninjas wearing black, because of course they want to blend in with the forest surroundings which makes perfect sense, assuming the person you are following is color blind.

We then cut to a rich old guy leaving his mansion in a limo only to get shot like 15 times point blank by assassins, who aligned with the ninjas. We then meet Scott James (Norris) a karate champion, who goes on a night out on the town with a pretty yet vapid woman named Nancy. He takes her home, and dammit, before he can charm her into the sack with that moustache of his, ninjas attack. Now, to this point I thought this film might be autobiographical, but alas it wasn’t. But it would be fun if it were. What occurs during this fight, and after, and throughout the whole damn film is hearing Chuck’s inner monologue, which is his voice speaking in a whisper for no damn reason. Does an inner monologue have a whisper? Any time ninjas are around, that monologue goes off like some sort of damn ninja-spider sense kind of thing.

To get back to the moment at hand, they do jump Chuck, and he makes them pay, but they do kill Nancy, and to be honest, he must really not have cared for their date too much as he didn’t seem too broken up about her getting stabbed to death. In fact he seemed kinda relieved.

Actually, how the hell did he know they were ninjas other than his ninja sense? They looked like a bunch of douchebags wearing black clothes that looked like those makeshift Halloween costumes you make when you find out you’ve been invited to a party at the last second and rifle through your closet to put something together.

The next day James goes to see an old mercenary friend named McCarn played by Lee Van Cleef, who seems to only exist in this film to tell James to watch his ass, and to shoot a few bad guys in an attempt to protect James. Meanwhile, and throughout the first half of the film we are treated to really weak scenes of ninjas trying to train the new douchba-I mean recruits on how to be ninjas. I’m not sure the guys teaching them know how to be ninjas, but at least they dress like them.

We then meet another rich lady named Justine who was related to Nancy (I think) who tries to get James to help save her from the ninjas, but what she doesn’t realize is that James knows that the ninjas were trained by a childhood ninja classmate named Seikura, who dreams of ninja domination. Just as all ninjas do, I think.

Soon, after an inexplicable car chase that must have been left on the cutting room floor from Smokey and the Bandit, he goes back to see McCann and realizes that McCann knows about the ninjas too. Back at the ninja ranch, once French dude figures out that while being a ninja is cool, training to be one actually sucks ass. He tries to leave, but a well placed shuriken in the back of his neck says otherwise in a hilariously bad acting scene as he dies. Jeez, I know it was this guy’s only scene, but damn, dude!

James then attends a merc rally in an attempt to be recruited so he can get to them from the inside, and who should turn up but Richard Norton (City Hunter, Shanghai Express) as one of the recruiters. Of course this doesn’t work, and Justine winds up getting killed, and his buddy CJ kidnapped by the ninjas, and James goes to free him, but must go through the ninja maze known as the Octagon to meet Seikura for one final duel…

Ugh. I know this film helped start the ninja craze of the 80’s, but our standards must have been low back then. Chuck acts like Chuck, and the story here is truly insipid, and the side stories with his friend AJ make no sense. The ninjas look like they are on a pledge drive for as much urgency they portray. The story plods along, as we get varying behind the scene things going on that really go nowhere and don’t really matter. Not to mention the fact that while James is the hero, he doesn’t save a damn person. Pretty much everyone he tries to save dies. Not a great track record for a hero, but since this isn’t a great film, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Oh yeah, and hearing Chuck’s internal monologue is truly headache inducing.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (4) Chuck pretty much fights everyone with the same trademark moves he uses in every fight. The best fight in the film isn’t against Seikura, but against his second in command, which is a great fight until the end of it. The rest is Chuck fighting a bunch of guys who really don’t know how to fight. It’s obvious Aaron Norris never watched a damn asian martial arts film, or else he’d know how much his choreography sucks.

STUNTS: (3) Meh. What weak stunts there are is combined with horrendous acting, which makes this almost a Troma flick. Actually Troma flicks have better stuntwork. No offense to Lloyd Kaufman.

STAR POWER: (6) Chuck Norris and not much else. Look out for Ernie Hudson (Ghostbusters, The Crow) in an early appearance, and of course martial artist Richard Norton, who made better films with Cynthia Rothrock.

FINAL GRADE: (4) If anyone wondered why Chuck Norris is such a movie icon, they won’t find it out here. A terrible ninja movie that takes itself way too seriously for the story they present.

Review: Way of the Dragon (1973)

Posted in Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Reviews, Robert Wall with tags , , on July 14, 2010 by Michael S. Moore

Starring Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Robert Wall

Fight Choreography by Bruce Lee and Unicorn Chan

Directed by Bruce Lee

Way of the Dragon is a bit of a different creature from some of Bruce’s other films. He tries to inject a bit more humor than we’re used to, and he succeeds for at least the beginning of the film, but it seems misplaced considering how the film progresses, which leaves the rest of the film…

The movie opens as Ah Lung (Lee) arrives in Rome from China (playing yet another country bumpkin. Remember, in Kung Fu films bumpkin=badass.) to help out a friend. He begins his stay by scaring the living daylights out of a poor kid by making crazy faces for no apparent reason. Bruce, WTF? He must really do that shit in his spare time. Kid looked like he crapped his britches when he saw Bruce’s face. I would too, and I’m a grown ass man. He soon meets the niece of his buddy, Miss Chen and together they go to the restaurant, where he is needed because he’s a fighter, and the restaurant has had a problem with the local crime lord who wants to buy the place.

Ms Chen runs him around Rome, and I got a little browbeaten with the fish out of water moments. Bruce, we get it. Country Chinese guy in Italy. Check. Soon he meets the waiters, a bunch of weak ass bitches practicing behind the restaurant with what one could call karate, but I would call embarrassing. Ah Lung is about to school them when they are interrupted. While Ah Lung is in the bathroom, the thugs show up, led by a frilly little bastard whose crew look like backup singers for Fleetwood Mac. They couldn’t block a punch if there was a wall between them. Which means the karate the waiters had learned wasn’t for shit. Soon they leave, but not before they toss an insult Ah Lung’s way that he didn’t understand.

Soon some of the same victi-I mean thugs return to start some crap. The waiters challenge them to a fight in the alley, and they agree, and one or two of the waiter get their asses kicked before Ah Lung shows up, and so help me it was a good thing YouTube didn’t exist at this time, else the ass-whupping the thugs received would have been seen from Iowa to Osaka. The fight is short, as it sure as hell should be. Of course the reserved Miss Chen takes a liking to him. Women dig a guy who can kick ass gracefully. The next day the waiters all want to learn kung-fu from Ah Lung, except for the waiter who was teaching them karate he saw on the Learning Channel, who has developed a case of bitch attitude, still not convinced that the mass ass-kicking he had witnessed the day before was worth a shit, so Ah Lung takes them out back and demonstrates kicks by having a guy hold up a pad, and it’s funny to see the look on his face as he realized that his doom may well be at hand, as that pad would not protect him from the kick, just let his body know through vibration a quarter second before he gets hit that the kick would be rather painful.

That night Ah Lung and Miss Chen are ambushed by a really crappy hitman, telling Miss Chen that the boss wants to see her. Two problems here: One, he says it in English. Two, he holds a gun, two things that Ah Lung doesn’t care for. A lot is lost in translation when someone holds a gun on Ah Lung. Suddenly “The boss wants to see you” instead translates into “ Please kick my ass repeatedly.” Which is exactly what Ah Lung does, and dumps his ass over the balcony. The hitman goes back to the boss, who is shocked that one dude was able to do this, so he sends them back, this time with weapons! The boss also comes himself to see if Ah Lung really is that good. So they take him out back to send his ass back to Hong Kong, and unfortunately for them he doesn’t want to, and beats up two of them, causing the rest to go into the alley to see what happened, and what does happen is a moment of epic asskicking, and sends the boss running for the hills.

That night, after that same silly hitman tries to kill Ah Lung and fails, Ah Lung returns home to find that Miss Chen has been kidnapped while he was out playing ‘pin the knife on the hitman’. We soon find her with the Boss ad his remaining men, all of whom were convinced that the multiple ass beatings they have received just weren’t enough. Ah Lung and crew do show up, but this time Ah Lung lets them beat on the thugs, embarrassing the boss again. This time the boss decides to fight fire with fire, and hires a group of karate masters led by the American champion Colt (Chuck Norris) to finish Ah Lung.

Soon Ah Lung, Uncle Wang and two waiters is led into their trap, with a Japanese and American (Robert Wall) waiting for them. Ah Lung takes care of them both, and the american gets the worst of it. In a complete left field moment Uncle Wang turns out to have been working for the Boss the whole time, and kills two of his own waiters.

Lung doesn’t see this as he is led to the Roman Coliseum, where Colt waits for him. The showdown here is incredible, one of the greatest one on one fights you’ll ever see in a film, and Chuck Norris proves to be no match for Bruce, but he’s close. After Ah Lung takes care of Colt, he returns to find out about Uncle Wang’s betrayal, who is in turn killed by the boss, who in turn is captured by the police. Ah Lung says his goodbyes and leaves to search the world for more asses to kick.

(On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best)

CHOREOGRAPHY: (10) All of this goes to the fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. A fight that is a classic the world over, one of the best ever, featuring everything you would think would happen in a battle between titans.

STUNTS: (6) Nothing to write home about, but adequate for what was asked of them.

STAR POWER: (10) Bruce Lee. Chuck Norris. What more do you need?

FINAL GRADE: (9) Not really one of Bruce’s best, but it gave us that terrific all time classic fight, and also a new talent who would become the primary ambassador in the USA to promote martial arts, Chuck Norris.