27 February 2009

Invasion U.S.A. (1985)

United States – 1985
Director – Joseph Zito
MGM/UA Home Video, 1985, VHS (Oversize Box!)

Clogged with a veritable host of 80’s action standbys like Billy Drago (who returned to meance Norris at least 3 other times), Invasion USA is one of the first Norris Brothers team-up films with Aaron scripting. (soon he would direct too, and oh boy, watch out) But here, hot on the heels of Norris breakthrough film Missing In Action, director Zito (also director of Friday the 13th: The Final Nighmare) has returned to grace another film with extremely senseless violence and glossy hyperbolic Americana. If you were a young boy in the 80’s you probably have fond memories of this film. I don’t, my parents were hippies and I didn’t get to watch violent movies until I was an adult. My fond Invasion USA memories are freshly fucking minted.

Some Cuban refugees in a set-dressed “shabby” boat drift about on the sea while a small child whines in Spanish. (thankfully this plot-critical dialogue is subtitled or I would have been totally fucking lost) Spotted by some American Coast Guard sailor-boys led by Richard Lynch, who no sooner greet them and welcome them to freedom than cut loose with a barrage of automatic weapons mowing them all down. Turns out the sailors are actually Soviet commandos after some drugs under the deck of the boat - and Bang! I get the feeling that’s how the entirety of this movie is going to play out, no fluff, all snuff.

Cut to a shot of quasi shirtless Chuck effin’ Norris driving a speeding air-boat through the Everglades, hair streaming back. Rostov, the clammy, skin crawlingly creepy Lynch, is as ruthless and self serving as backswamp macho man Matt Hunter (Norris) is helpful, assisting his hillbilly neighbor John Eagle with gator wrasslin’ and accepting Eagle’s offer of a freshly boiled frog dinner with a grumbled “I’m getting sick of frogs.”
“The Company” (we’ll leave that one up to you to figure out) comes to recruit Hunter for another mission, to take out Rostov, Hunter’s old Cold War opposite, but Hunter bitterly refuses and cuts logs with a chainsaw at his swampy retreat instead. Shortly after he smashes a bunch of faces in, that’s exactly where an equally bitter Rostov finds him. Explosions erupt killing John Eagle, but sparing Hunter himself of course, and reopening a festering grudge that he must obey.

Moments later, Rostov’s Soviet terrorist legions are storming up the beaches of Florida armed almost exclusively with American equipment and weapons. Wasting no time they instantly begin arbitrarily rocketing the homes of pasty American nuclear-families and attacking all the symbols of American freedom; churches and shopping malls. After charging like predatory insects into a fleet of waiting trucks, the Red Horde instantly distributes cells of perfectly coordinated guerillas across the continental 48, and a little later that night a nationwide wave of unfettered chaos and unrest erupts, leaving the civil authorities to bumble around and look confused. Hunter meanwhile (and I have to say I love the subtle irony in that name) is working his own brand of subtle tactics, bashing heads at the local biker bars and trading base insults and measured and blunt one-liners with fellow jaded ex-mercenaries.
“Where’s Rostov?”
“Where’s Rostov?
Ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

Luckily for Hunter, even though the entire United States is under siege, Rostov has cleverly decided to keep his dirty Commie headquarters right down the street, and every time the filthy reds pop up with a clever scheme to overthrow capitalist social order, like putting a magnet bomb on the side of a school bus, Matt Hunter is there in his big truck to deter them at top speed and full auto and with equally reckless disregard for human life. (except that he’s a god fearing Christian so in his case they’re just collateral damage.) Hunter just doesn’t quit, but even all of his impeccable timing, perfect aim, and creepily rigid coppery cascading mullet-mane can’t keep him safe from the Feds who finally bust his muscly vigilante ass.

At last, Rostov has his chance and orders his army to storm the jail and eliminate Hunter once and for all. Leave it to those dumb subhuman Commies to fall for an old trick like that. And Rostov? Well that guy’s no smarter than his towheaded lackeys, a dude like Hunter, and I do mean dude, isn’t going to walk away without administering a little personal bearded bayou bad-boy beating, the long drawn out all American way.
John Eagle boiled the tastiest frogs in the swamp you ungracious Communistical savage, and somebodys gots’ta pay! Throw the fuggin’ truck in 4-wheel-drive and lets go meat-and-potatoes Commie stompin’. The thoroughly gnawed bone of action genre meat, roasted, boiled down to its basest potent essence and glazed with the rustic golden sauce that is Chuck Norris.

Watch the Invasion USA trailer at CultTrailers.

It might be easy since they have the same plot, but don't confuse this with the 1952 film with the same name.

Some alternate covers, the first for the novelization (!), the second, Hungarian VHS, and the third, the poster that later remained the VHS art and also in modified version the DVD cover art.

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