6/4/11

A Zoltan Review: Silent Rage (1982)


Science Created him.  Now Chuck Norris must destroy him.

When Banacek mentioned he might want to do a Bronson vs. Norris week I took a look at some possible films to review.  I had seen almost all of Bronson's work but there were a few films in Mr. Norris' filmography that I had yet to screen so I finally settled on Silent Rage (1982).

I was initially jazzed to see that the director, Michael Miller, had a couple of exploitation flicks under his belt before he made Silent RageStreet Girls (1975), was a spiritual predecessor to Paul Schrader's Hardcore (1979) that Miller co-wrote with Barry Levinson of all people; and Jackson County Jail (1976), was a jailhouse rape drama that I recently added to my collection.  Not a bad resume up until that point.

I was quickly anti-jazzed to see that after Silent Rage, Miller made a string of 20+ made for TV movies including a bunch of Danielle Steel adaptations with such romantic leading men as Robert Urich, John Ritter, Patrick Duffy, and Bruce Dern.  Ugh.  This movie was obviously a game changer in Miller's career.

A Danielle Steel fantasy moment.
The plot of the film was very simple.  Chuck Norris plays a small town sheriff (a big leap for him) who takes down a mentally ill axe murderer.  The poor mental patient is presumed dead, but is brought back to life by some morally bankrupt doctors who are experimenting with a new drug they are designing that can rapidly cure injuries.  The patient awakens, kills a bunch of people, and it is up to Chuck to take him down a second time.  Here is the rub: this time, due to the super drugs running through his veins, the killer patient is an indestructible juggernaut.

This film suffers greatly from aesthetic fatigue as Miller pulls heavily from other genre directors.  The beginning of the film opens with a hand held shot from the killer's point of view.  Now this technique has been used to great effect by such masters as John Carpenter (clown mask opening to Halloween) or Brian de Palma (sorority killer opening to Blow Out) but Miller's camera keeps jumping from first person to third person serving only to break the suspense and confuse us.  He reprises this POV gem two more times to little effect.  Later in the film, Chuck's love interest (played by a decidedly un-sexy Toni Kalem) is subjected to the standard parade of corpse discovery, one after the other, that so many scream queens before her have walked.  I hate to say it, but some of the best shot scenes in the film are the love montages.  You can literally see Miller gearing up for his future fornications with Danielle Steel.

The story is basically the Frankenstein cautionary tale with some round house kicks thrown in to spice things up a little.  That in itself would seem to have merit if it was done with a little imagination.  The team of mad doctors for instance are stereotypical and tired.  The lead researcher is a modern day Victor Frankenstein, obsessed with the promise of his work.  He has an ugly assistant.  They refine their formula in a laughable laboratory that Roger Corman would be proud of, complete with dry ice meaningless oscilloscopes and green fill lighting.  Ron Silver plays the lone dissenter on the team.  He perpetually whines about the moral implications of their actions but is too much of a pussy to do anything about it.  The Monster (a.k.a the mental patient) that was supposed to represent a warning message to society, ends up being well, just a violent psycho.

Chuck is Chuck in this movie.  He is always awesome and pulls out some of his best acting manoeuvres to try and save this train wreck.  He showcases his crotch as much as possible, hits on Toni Kalem by sticking his finger in her ear, boot-rapes some disrespectful bikers, and spends at least 30 minutes of the film wearing nothing but his Wranglers.  When his pathetic deputy, played to perfection by fat funny man Stephen Furst, expires in the sheriff's arms, you can watch Chuck's thoughts change from grief to determined rage.

The last 15 minutes of the film were fairly exciting.  Chuck tosses the maniac out of a thirty story building, runs him over with a truck, drags him behind said truck, and lights him on fire.  The film ends with the heroic sheriff performing a perfect flying side kick and judo-flipping the maniac into an abandoned well shaft.  If there was more of this in the film it would have been wicked.  (Reviewed by Zoltan)

Movie Rating 2/5
Chuck Rating 2.5/5
Violence Rating 2/5
Booby Rating 2.5/5  


18 comments:

Dave said...

That was a great review. I dont think Chuck Norris is as good as Bronson.

D4 said...

This sounds 'okay'. But not okay enough for me to start looking for it right away.

Breakingbrokers said...

hated the movie, loved the review.... odd

Biff Tanner said...

I love this movie, Chuck Norris is the man.

ed said...

are you refering to yourself in 3rd person?
chuck norris seems cool in this movie

Dejch said...

chuck norris!!! lol :) nice review

HujoThug8825 said...

ooooh, topless norris

Rob said...

That was awesome! I gotta see this flick.

Jay said...

lol, danielle steel reference. :)

bb31 said...

chuck, chuck, chuck!

Zander said...

Hey, great blog you have here. Followed, MC-hammer status!

Colin Biano said...

sounds like a.. movie i don't want to see :x

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Charles will always be greater than Chuck in my book.

JayPower said...

Chuck norris is so badass ;D

Speedy Ed said...

only 2 / 5 ? mght have to give this one a miss.. cheers for the review man ! saved me wasing my time :P

Magixx said...

true BEASTS, keep it up, nice blog!

BTN Hip Hop said...

haha classic chuck norris tag line

Laughing Vault said...

hahah hilarious movie

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