08 June 2009

The Delta Force

Nice cut-n'-paste job on Lee Marvin's head

United States – 1986
Director – Menahem Golan
MGM Home Entertainment, 1998, VHS
Run time – 2 hours, 8 min.

Director Menahem Golan: one-half of the defunct Israeli power production duo Golan-Globus, owners of the belly-up Cannon Pictures Group and purveyors of slash and burn 80’s action cinema. From the meat-cleaver-to-the-face political subtlety in this and some other films directed by Golan, one might go so far as to consider him a gung-ho Arab-villifying Jewsploitation predecessor to Steven Spielberg.

Really, The Delta Force is two movies, who like reluctant lovers, slowly test the waters, coyly wooing each other until finally they mate in a cacophony of exploding grenades and video game music.

The first "movie" is a shock to behold, and really deserves custody of the offspring of this unholy and awkward union. Robert Forster (Vigilante, Alligator) plays Abdul, leader of a cell of Lebanese terrorists who hijack a plane departing Athens (based on the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847). Forster has the role pegged down to a science: he made my skin crawl pistol-whipping whimpering American-Pig-Dog capitalist passengers with the sickening and deeply satisfying wet crack of vindication. (also look for staple B-actors Martin Balsam, George Kennedy and "stone free" Bo Svenson on this flight)

Meanwhile, in doo-poop land, a general, encrusted with so many ribbons he needs to be taken into dry dock and scraped, orders up the magical Delta Force in one of those "Oooooo, WOW!" moments I think you're supposed to get awed and wide-eyed about – if you're 8. Led by the withered husk of Lee Marvin (his last screen appearance before he died a year later), the dopey ass-slapping extras playing Delta Force (including Chuck’s son Eric) wait on board their code named secret aircraft "Delta 1". Just as they’re about to depart, whew, retired DF Captain Scott McCoy (Chuck Norris) shows up to join the boy-scouts, and the sausage fest is airborne for a field trip in Beirut.

The coming conflict is glaringly predictable, and few of the details need to be fleshed out. Forster continues to dominate this picture, and the cuts from hijacking scenes to thinly-veiled patriotic cock-stroking, become less and less jarring, if only because the two forces - evil, brilliant Forster, and righteous, pallid Norris (and crew) - overlap with more and more screen time. Finally, with all the hot flying lead and NES music we’ve been dipping our feet into, it comes crashing down in a deluge of predictable mediocrity, until we slip all the way into the pot to have the flesh boiled from our bones. His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Norris’s piercing “American justice” glare is at head-exploding intensity here, and strikes fear in the hearts of all. Best of all, he gets to ride a dirt-bike with automatically reloading missles and machine guns on the front and grenade launchers on the back. I think the grenades are a metaphor for a deluge of fecal spray; they shoot out of the "exhaust pipe", and in any case I am sure that unlike real grenades, these ones are super grenades that explode instantly on target, all the time.

Now, with a conveniently placed ramp, Norris can dramatically leap and wheelie his way into the sunset, coating everything in his path with a fine spray of human waste; talented supporting actors unlucky enough to be caught in his shadow, and my poor weeping eyes, included.

Poster art from Film Cynic.

Soundtrack cover art from Ruthless Reviews.

1 comment:

brokennib said...

Wow, that is quite a cover. "Is that a bazooka your holding, or are you just happy to see me?"
Ba-da BOOM !