Felt a little chop-socky lately, so it was back to the archives for a little different offering from the early '80s: Chuck Norris in his one and only pseudo-horror flick, Silent Rage.
It's no secret I love horror films...maybe it's not quite as well-known that I like martial arts films, also, admittedly no where near to the same degree, but I do like them. I dimly recall seeing this movie years ago, but had largely forgotten about it, however, an epiphany struck me, and I was sure I recalled ath a "horror" film starring Chuck Norris...
My memory held only scant tidbits of the flick, but I figured with Norris, I pretty much knew what to expect, but was interested in revisiting his foray into my favorite genre. So, without further ado, I settled in for my "critique".
Now I don't REGRET it; the film is enjoyable in it's way, and has that perfect 80s vibe that any good Chuck Norris film has (middle-of-the-road acting, simple plot and dialogue, bordering on softcore porn love scenes, over-the-top fight scenes, and a hilarious score). However, in all honesty, I have to advise any of you kiddies wanting to watch it that it may not be what you expect.
The story borrows a lot from "Halloween" in it's execution as others have pointed out; the main heavy skulks silently (and we're talking NINJA silent, a la Michael Myers) in the shadows, turning up where you least expect it, and can take multiple gunshots and keep coming back for more. He is different, however, in that we are at least given a reason for why he's off his nut, and why he's virtually (perhaps even literally) unstoppable. There's a bland attempt to infuse a little comedy as well, as Stephen Furst, "Dorfman" from "Animal House", garners a chuckle or two in his comic relief role as deputy, but it really seems kind of forced for the most part.
Of course, there's the staple "big fight" scene (actually TWO, although one is not in any way associated with the plot, it's just Chuck), which is what you really see a Chuck Norris movie for, but be warned: the martial artistry is really kept to a minimum...so if you're one of those looking for a "Chuck Kicks @ss" movie like "The Octagon" or "Good Guys Wear Black", you're going to be disappointed. There is some gore (the first ten minutes is actually pretty good in the horror vein; with a bit more of a deft hand on the script, the beginning could kick off a really good slasher flick), but other than a little stalking about, there's not much to be had in the "scary" vein, either. Some of the plot devices are so contrived they progress to ridiculous; as Our (as yet unarmed) Killer is stalking a particular victim, we see the unfortunate soon-to-be-deceased is making himself a snack...now how many of you out there slice your salami with what amounts to a machete? Seriously, I've seen smaller bayonets...
...convenient for our silent baddie, I guess.
Finally, I felt the ending was both predictable and dissatisfying. For it to be a Chuck flick, I totally expected something more.
So in fairness, unless you're a fan of Norris' films, you probably won't dig this one much; if it's horror or martial arts you crave, this attempt at combining the two dilutes both to the point where you'll feel cheated when the credits roll.
In my capacity as a "bad" horror guru, I see it as one of those sideshow oddities of the genre...and maybe in twenty more years I'll have the urge to blow the dust off of it and watch it again...but it's not one for multiple viewings.