03 December 2009

Code of Silence

United States - 1985
Director – Andrew Davis
Good Times Video, 1993, VHS
Run time – 1 hour, 41 minutes

Made in the same year as Joseph Zito’s epic Invasion USA, Code of Silence is as completely different from that as two Chuck Norris movies can be. Nevertheless it starts off well, Chuck is in his element here, the role isn't too demanding, all the supporting characters and plot are just entertaining enough to keep us from noticing Norris' sundry flaws.
Norris plays Eddie Cusack, a Chicago Police Sergeant known throughout the precinct as "Stainless Steel" for his fanatical adherence to procedure. During the opening scene sting against the Columbian mafia, the Italian mafia busts in and shoots everybody wrecks the whole thing before Eddie and pals can close in.

The Columbians are not pleased to say the least, and Eddie’s interference raises the personal ire of their boss Henry Silva who joins the pantheon of Norris’ anti-heroes.
“Someday I would like to give you a gift of a Columbian Necktie, it's very special. You slit the throat, and pull out the tongue, and on you it would
look beautiful.”

Chuck actually has a pretty good comeback for that one though;

“Why don’t you give it to me right now?”

Returning to the station, Eddie watches a demonstration of a newfangled remote controlled police robot crimefighter unit called the Prowler, a primitive 2 year predecessor to Robocop’s mecha crime-fighting robot equipped with an assortment of completely impractical weapons. Cue joke about Eddie being unorthodox and dumb but effective, and robots being the future. However, with one simple demonstration and stony unflinching grimace, Eddie reclaims the throne of emotionless robot king, relegating the rickety Prowler to a humorous final scene re-appearance.

Eddie’s despicable do-gooder cowboy attitude even pisses off all the other cops when he demands the removal of a corrupt old cop named Craigie. But betwixt all the office pranks and hazing ol’ Stainless Steel still finds time to simultaneously take down both the Columbians and Italians, with only the Prowler to back him up. In retrospect the entire film was basically a greased chute from prologue to finale. With the supporting cast sidelined into ineffective do-nothing roles, Chuck just slips unobstructed from one end to the other with his fists and feets plowing the way.

What I can’t get is the sudden change of heart everyone has. You’ve spent at least half of the movie building this bitter dichotomy between crooked burned out Craigie, and the 100% fraternal support he gets from the precinct, and Eddie’s solitary voice of dissent. Even the weasely partner punks out in the end, and then just because Eddie shoots his way through two mafias, and rescues a not-so-good looking girl (Molly Hagen) everybody thinks he’s the golden boy again? I don’t care how many shots of cops cracking sheepish smiles and shaking their heads in amazed admiration you show, I’m not convinced. I refuse to believe it.

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