Another Chuck Norris movie. Another classic. Well, close to it. With plenty of Chuck action. Lots of shots without his top on. A karate school. The incentive to destroy the man who killed his loved one. His moustache. Singular facial expressions. Reverse kicks. A battle ring. Outrageous 70s hair. A sexy female counterpart.
And one liners that would trump any Arnie could come out with.
When two officers are found dead in the river bay area after a failed drug bust, the San Diego Narcotics division realise it was carried out by an assassin trained to kill without leaving any marks. Wanting to ensure it doesn’t happen again Lieutenant Dunne (Clu Gulager) sends Mandy Rust (Jennifer O’Neill) to see a world Karate champion and local martial arts instructor Matt Logan (Chuck Norris) to help train the officers in Karate.
Rust feels Logan has much to offer and could help out in the investigation however Logan feels reluctant to do so because of his commitment to his Karate school, the training required for a forthcoming match against rival Sparks (Bill Wallace) and his adopted son Charlie (Eric Laneuville). But unlike his father, Charles wants to be part of the action and undertakes his own investigation where his clues leads to finding the drug lord, the assassin and a cop who is much closer to the case then first envisaged. Only when Charles’s body is found pumped full of drugs, Logan swears vengeance against those who killed him.
The Force of One was one of Chuck’s earliest films and almost seems autobiographical. He too was an American Karate champion, owns a Karate school, was plucked by film scouts and after a slight reluctant gave into the beast that is Hollywood. Which also meant Chuck was in his comfort zone and that shows as this was one of the few films he seems to enjoy smiling – which is a rarity in any of his films.
Chuck seems more humane here, due to the fact the plot was simple and easy to digest, which can’t really be said for the others as the acting really is terrible. Laneuville gives off a performance that seemed like his only direction was to act like you have a superiority complex and never has a female lead in a Chuck movie looked so stiff like O’Neill did. The only performance that stood out was Wallace but that was only because he has an impressive bout with Chuck at the end which spanned from the battle ring, to a car chase and a climax that involves Chuck being sprinkled with heroine. Oh yes.
The action sequences, which is really why you’d watch this, are pretty good – albeit some shadow punches can be seen. It’s not as intense as some of his later movies (or earlier with Bruce Lee’s Way of the Dragon) but he’s able to flex his karate muscles due to the fact that he choreographed the fight sequences himself. And lets not forget introducing a little slo-mo action just to make sure you see the full brunt of the force.
Looking at the original trailers, the cinematography and the preservation on a number of these old movies were really poor. The grainy feel really affect the visual effects and haven’t aged well at all so it’s great to see every low punch, high kick, intimidating stare and Chuck’s hair in blu-ray crystal clarity.
This again is for the true Chuck Norris fan so its very likely they’ve seen this before however in this quality, it’s a treat to see it all again.
Making of featurette
“How America Changed Hollywood Forever” featurette
A Force Of One will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 6th August
Written by Vaskar S. Kayastha