USA - 1986
terrorism. Not really a bold
statement, when considering recent events,
but what I find surprising is how many people link this hatred solely to
events in the not-so-distant past. The fact of the matter is, we’ve
hated terrorists as far back as 1986.
A lot has changed in the “War Against Terrorism” since then.
Nowadays we utilize an intricate system of intelligence to track
these nuts down. Once found,
we then utilize an intricate system of weaponry to blow their crazy asses
up. Back in 1986, however, we didn’t have the benefit of such
advanced technology. Back
then folks relied on Chuck Norris.
I admit, today’s
methods of destruction are fairly impressive.
It’s pretty darn cool watching from the point-of-view of a
missile slamming into an underground bunker in Afghanistan.
But when was the last time you saw a fancy missile knock a bad guy
off his motorcycle with a roundhouse kick?
Impractical, you say? Well,
trivialities like “practicality” go right out the window after
witnessing the grace of a sweet
axe kick to the back of someone’s head; especially when said axe kick is
shown in slow motion.
Sadly, The Delta
Force lacks the same terrorists-having-their-collective-asses-kicked-
by-Chuck-Norris scenario that I envisioned.
Basically it involves a group of bad guys with serious perspiration
problems taking over a plane for no apparent reason other than their
hatred of America. They fly
around some and wave their guns, all the while demanding that the
passengers “Sit down!” and “Shut up!”
Occasionally they utter a complete sentence along the lines of
“Sit down and shut up or I’ll shoot you!”
I have the same conversation with my dogs when trying to watch
television. I just don’t
threaten to shoot them. At
least not seriously.
While the terrorists
prance about various third world countries, Chuck Norris, Lee
Marvin and the rest of the Delta Force sit in a cargo plane and polish
their guns while awaiting orders. Action?
Forget about it. Perhaps I was mistaken when I assumed that The Delta Force
would, at least, be chock-full of terrorist-ass-kicking goodness.
I mean, the picture on the cover shows both Lee Marvin and Chuck
Norris sporting two of the biggest bazookas this side of Baywatch
(I can’t believe I’m not paid for this stuff!). There even appears to be some sort of an explosion behind
them. I mean, that’s action,
right?! Heck, the first car
chase isn’t until a whole hour into the film!
An hour! And by
the time the action does pick up (in the last forty-five minutes), I was
half-asleep. I should be
subjected to brainless action every ten minutes; every fifteen when
factoring in gratuitous nudity. But
even with a healthy dose of martial arts hijinks, 128 minutes still
constitutes a serious test of anyone’s Chuck Norris attention span.
The unusually-long running time might’ve been tolerable if the
film provided something along the lines of interesting exposition
or meaningful character development.
Empty threats against obnoxious hostages and meticulous firearm
maintenance does not make gripping cinema.
Instead of a
well-rounded script, The Delta Force tries to cheat by exploiting
such shameless stereotypes as the disillusioned soldier (Norris) who
returns to action out of his noble sense of duty; the persecution of the
Jews by their Palestinian captors; the abuse of a kindly priest (George
forget about the pregnant hostage who could go into labor at any
moment! And what about the
terrorists? They have no
legitimate motive (or objective, for that matter).
Should we assume that they’re evil simply based on the fact that
they come from the Middle East? This
tragic fallacy is proliferated enough by the idiots in the media.
And for a film that
lacks anything resembling exposition or story, there sure is a lot of
talking, which, considering this is a Chuck Norris film, can be a
problem. The man has a mean
spinning heel-kick, but his Shakespeare needs work.
The same goes for the majority of the rest of the cast (though
Shelley Winters’ spinning heel-kick is questionable).
And if mediocre acting
isn’t frustrating enough, when the dialogue isn’t bad, it’s in
another language. I have
absolutely no problem with subtitles - that is, when subtitles are
supplied. I guess the
filmmakers assumed that the typical Chuck Norris enthusiast can speak
Arabic. Here’s a newsflash:
Most of us Americans have problems with the English language.
And I think it’s safe to say that applies double to Chuck Norris
If nothing else, The
Delta Force can be admired for its star-studded cast; a definitive
“Who’s Who” of b-movie star-power: Martin Balsam (“Mitchell!”),
Robert Forster (as the head Palestinian terrorist!), Lainie Kazan (perhaps
not typical b-movie fodder, but let’s not forget about The Big Hit),
George Kennedy, Susan Strasberg (Bloody Birthday!
Mazes and Monsters!), Bo Svenson, Robert Vaughn (as a
four-star general!), Shelley Winters, Steve James (unheralded hero from
such classics as American Ninja 1, 2 and 3, Bloodfist
V: Human Target and Weekend at Bernie’s).
It’s like if Terrence Malick made a b-movie!
How To Make Your
Terrorist Compound Easy To Infiltrate
multitude of convenient manholes. It
makes sneak attacks for the infidels much easier.
Supply a multitude of
strategically-placed ramps from which the enemy can jump their motorcycles
and/or jeeps. It makes sneak
attacks for the infidels much cooler.
cronies that have no business shooting a gun.
cronies that like to nap at the same time.
The Perils of Pete
(Episode 1) - In the beginning of the film, Chuck Norris saves Pete (no
rank or anything, just Pete) from a burning vehicle just before it
explodes. Despite being told
that Pete can’t be reached from where he’s trapped within the
wreckage, Chuck finds him conveniently right next to an open door. I guess they meant Pete couldn’t be reached unless you used
the obvious door, but where would be the challenge in that?
Perils of Pete (Episode 2) –
At the end of the film, Pete is shot (and ultimately killed) by Abdul
(Robert Forster). This, I assume, is meant to evoke anger from the audience
being that we care so much for Pete after his dramatic rescue in the
beginning of the film, regardless of the fact that Pete has hardly any
screen-time in between the two incidents.
Two minutes after his return from
voluntary resignation, Chuck Norris is promoted from Captain to Major.
First off, I didn’t realize it was so easy to simply quit the
military on a whim. Secondly, promotions in the military usually aren’t that
easy to come by; especially for deserters.
At one point, a terrorist explains
to a six year old girl that he too has a daughter about her age.
I guess the filmmakers felt a trivial tidbit of useless information
was needed to enhance the scene. My
favorite color is blue, in case you care.
requisite pregnant hostage.
The terrorists claim to be a part
of the New World Revolution. After
trying their hand in terrorism, they went on to become Prince’s back-up
The tasteless sorting out of Jewish
hostages by the reluctant German stewardess; yet another cheap tactic to
evoke an emotional audience response.
Ooh, now those nasty terrorists are revisiting the Holocaust!
They sure are evil!
See if you can pick out the Chris Penn and Val Kilmer look-alikes!
terrorist punched a priest! How
evil can you get?
Endless Arabic dialogue without
subtitles. Heck, we’re not
given any exposition in English, why start now?
Requisite fruit cart smashing.
I’m not a Special Forces expert,
but wouldn’t a covert operation be comprised by a line of jeeps sitting
in plain view on the beach, awaiting our sneaky elite forces?
Once assembled on shore, Colonel
Lee Marvin orders his men to slap on their “badges” - Velcro patches
of the American flag that adhere to their shoulders. Wouldn’t it be a lot less complicated just to sew (and
leave) said patches permanently on their uniforms?
I guess you could argue that their trying to keep their ethnicity
secret, but I’m pretty sure the jig would be up after one look at Chuck
trying to catch a plane to freedom while being shot at by several
terrorists, Chuck Norris still finds ample time to pop a few wheelies with
his motorcycle (which can also shoot missiles, but unfortunately, not fly.
Flight, I assume, is limited to real action heroes like Barry
Pete’s deathbed monologue and
Chuck Norris’ stony (yet deeply saddened) countenance afterwards.
I’m proud to be your Bud!
Taking off and landing in the same
How did we end up back in Beirut?
And on second thought, why does the Beirut skyline look like