09 September 2008

Silent Rage

1982 – United States
Director – Michael Miller
Good TimesVideo, VHS, 1989


For some reason, at some point in his career Chuck Norris decided to grow a perma-beard and assume the role of rugged strawberry blonde teddy bear. Indeed, it seems so evident to me now, that with his new look he seems to have abandoned any attempt at truly serious dramatic acting. Silent Rage however is from the age of naïve innocence, one of his last “honest” movies extolling the virtues of halfassery.

A sweaty, twitching gaunt dude staggers around a boarding-house, talks to his doctor on the phone, and then chops up his landlady with a fire axe. Shortly thereafter, babyfaced Dan Stevens (Norris) Sheriff of this small Texas town (a role I think he later reprises) shows up in his truck to coolly administer some justice. That’s right. With awkward determination, Stevens flushes the psycho out into the front yard where he is messily shot to ribbons by the rest of the police department.

Clinging feebly to life (in order to build tension) the psycho, John Kirby, is whisked to the hospital where a crazed doctor armed with a total lack of morality waits to inject him with an experimental (plot)reanimating formula. In the lobby, another doctor who can’t remember, um, what the, uh, hospital does, uh, um gives Norris the bad news;
“Sorry dude, uh this can only get more ridiculous.”

Sheriff Stevens goes to talk to Kirby’s (former) shrink Dr. Halman, and runs into his ex-girlfriend Alison Halman, the doctors sister. Are you kidding me? No. Back at the hospital, Dr. Halman argues with his colleague about morality, bah! Morality my ass, lets inject this serial killer with some super regeneration potion! I want to see that whiny Halman pussy dead in 15 minutes or less! As soon as Norris takes a shower and turns on the electro-disco tape to towel off, Alison turns up at his house to throw herself at his lovemaking montage mercy.

Inexplicably weakening his resolve, Kirby uses the time honored neck-snapping-to-avoid-explicitness murder technique. Thankfully Norris doesn’t soften, he takes Alison like a stud, and retains all his rigidity, exerting total dominance over all things living and (hopefully, I’m begging!) dead in this film. Nevertheless it’s one of Chucks few movies featuring boobs, and a Chuck love scene. The completely pointless and unrelated lawless-biker-gang subplot on the other hand is strictly an excuse to slip in some of that real life karate power between predictable plot slivers since none of these people can actually take the guy singly.

I needed it, and I have little to hide at this point, anything I could get made me feel better. I’m not sorry if it made me seem shallow, cheap and disrespectful. Just like Chuck I started with the best of intentions and became a mass of twitching sweaty nerves. When he was in films for his ability to actually kick ass, it didn’t matter that the films were cheap, almost sci-fi-horror thrillers lacking follow through. It just didn’t matter.



Another VHS cover, a UK VHS cover with a way older Norris, and a UK DVD cover.

1 comment:

régis lacher said...

What would happen if you split your writing persona into two personalities, one that loves the movie and the other that is just disgusted by it, and let them battle it out?