Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Top 5 Chuck Norris Movies: #4) The Delta Force (1986)

Top 5 Chuck Norris Movies

 Yesterday, I started a new Top 5 paying tribute to one of the greatest asskickers of all time, the one and only Chuck Norris.  My choice for the #5 spot on this list was Firewalker, a somewhat goofy adventure yarn that shows a lighter side of Chuck.  Today, I'm unveiling my choice for #4, a decidedly more solemn action film that was also released in 1986.

#4) The Delta Force (1986)

Early on, in a move that distinguishes it from standard Chuck Norris action films, The Delta Force takes a serious approach to the carnage on display.  This is likely due to the parallels between the terrorist attack depicted in the movie and the actual hijacking of TWA Flight 847 a year prior to the film's release.  The restraint is perhaps most evident in Robert Forster's cold and calculating performance as the villainous Abdul, though it also presents itself when the standard disaster film trappings (to include the presence of one George Kennedy in the cast) are never allowed to become overly sensational or melodramatic.  Having said that, things change once Lee Marvin hits the scene, expertly playing a grizzled leader of men with a certain blonde-haired and battle-hardened human dynamo at his disposal.  That's when the The Delta Force becomes standard action fare with an emphasis on good old American heroism and big ass explosions.  The execution is top-notch; this is a slick production and Menahem Golan's direction is perfectly acceptable for a rousing shoot 'em up.  This would prove to be Lee Marvin's final performance, and it is fitting that he went out playing the sort of tough guy role that he was famous for.  Truthfully, the first half of this ode to beating up terrorists is riveting and tense while the second half is more of an idealized love letter to patriotic vengeance punctuated by a trademark Alan Silvestri score.  Still, The Delta Force showcases an action icon in his prime alongside a cinema great and hits all the notes that it sets out to hit.  The cast is loaded with familiar faces and while the picture would have benefited from a shorter run time, it's still a rip-roaring kick in the pants that showcases Chuck at his very best. 

Final Grade: B-
Yes, there is some restraint shown in portions of The Delta Force, but not in the "Chuck Norris driving a motorcycle outfitted with a rocket launcher" portion.

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