Scientists have worked tirelessly since the invention of Blu-ray looking for a way to capture the essence of Chuck Norris onto a high-definition disc. No matter how hard they tried though his fists, jaw and body hair refused to be contained long enough for the transfer to take. But finally, in the year of our Lord 2012, six years after the format’s debut… they’ve succeeded.
Seven of Chuck Norris’ classics are now available in HD.
The Delta Force (1986) is a step down from Chuck Norris‘ previous film, Code of Silence, in more ways than one. The action leaves more realistic gun fights behind in favor of cartoonish, over the top, shoot from the hip gun-play. The script ignores real drama and conflict for explosions and pro-Americuh jingo-isms. Most detrimentally, it trades director Andrew Davis for Menahem “Ahem” Golan.
A jumbo jet in Athens is hijacked by Lebanese terrorists (led by Robert Forster, obviously) and redirected towards Beirut. The US Counter-terrorism unit, Delta Force, is called in to assess and perform a rescue with Maj. Scott McCoy (Norris) and Col. Nick Alexander (Lee Marvin) leading the team. Rockets will be fired from motorcycles. Karate will be used in the desert. And Ronald Reagan will experience his first erection in a decade.
“I spent five years in Vietnam watching them do the planning… and us do the dying.”
The film opens with Delta Force’s disastrous attempted rescue of American hostages in Iran modeled on the real tragic undertaking from 1980. Fed up with the questionable decision makers back in Washington, McCoy retires to open a horse farm. Presumably it’s a place for riding and not for glue production, but the guy is pretty irked so who knows. His early retirement comes to an end though when a plane-full of actors from the 60s and 70s is hijacked in the skies above Greece.
Abdul (Forster) and his men head the plane towards Beirut with the end goal being Iran, and they separate the American soldiers and Jews from the rest of the passengers with plans for execution. They’re forced to hop between airports as nations see the plane as a political hot potato, and when they arrive in Beirut Delta Force is waiting.
Initially the mission goes as planned, but the team quickly learns that the hostages have been split up across a few locations. Luckily they came packing some serious heat including dune buggies, Mad Magazine paperbacks and motorcycles armed with rockets.
The Delta Force is not a good movie by any stretch, but it is most certainly a ridiculous one. The first clue that all is not well here can be found in the passenger itinerary for the hijacked plane. Shelley Winters, Martin Balsam, George Kennedy and Joey Bishop all appear to have come straight to the set from a gig on The Towering Adventure ’77 or some other old school disaster pic. Balsam is actually a fine actor, but the other three are personalities at best.
Balsam does provide the film’s only affecting scene as the Jews are culled by the Muslims for imminent assassination. He makes it clear that he’s faced far worse when he shows his concentration camp tattoo from WWII. The scene works even as it contributes to the broad identification of all Middle Easterners as heartless terrorist bad guys. The one guy in Beirut who helps out Delta Force? A Greek Catholic of course.
Action-wise the film is mixed bag. It’s filled to bursting with gun fights, explosions and the occasional hand to hand combat, but viewers hoping for realistic Delta Force tactics and efficiency will want to look elsewhere. Seriously. Chuck fires rockets from the front and rear of his dirtbike, he dodges return fire with a wheelie and the team is able to take down baddies with fully automatic from-the-hip firing. It’s still entertaining of course, but it’s a level of goofiness rivaled only by Norris’ film the prior year, Invasion USA.
Norris is no stranger to patriotic movies and themes, and at the end of the day this is one of his most blatant hoo-rah endeavors. (Not even Larry the Cable Guy’s Delta Farce can diminish the patriotism it’s spoofing.) He and his men are heroes, without exception, but when they’re done they receive no accolades or parades. They do celebrate on their own with Budweisers and a rousing sing-along of “America the Beautiful” though.
And now, the only stats that matter:
- Chuck beats up – 4 bad guys!
- Chuck kills – 32 bad guys!
- Chuck gets shirtless at the – never mark!
As is the case with all five of MGM/Fox’s new Chuck Norris Blu-rays the image is good, and the extras are not. You only get a trailer.
The Delta Force is an entertaining enough diversion for those looking for a mindless shoot em up wrapped in an American flag. The action and stunts are fun, the two minutes of emotion on the plane are unexpected and the motorbike with rockets will make you wish someone would hurry up and remake Megaforce already.
Buy The Delta Force on Blu-ray from Amazon