Blu-ray Review – A Force of One (1979)

A Force of One, 1979.

Directed by Paul Aaron.
Starring Chuck Norris, Jennifer O’Neill, Ron O’Neal, Clu Gulager and Bill Wallace.


SYNOPSIS:

Matt Logan (Chuck Norris), a noted karate champion, is enlisted by the police to help catch a deadly assassin, and things become personal when Logan’s adopted son becomes the killer’s latest victim.


Chuck Norris rampaged his way through the 80s. Many a terrorist puke was vanquished with his feet and fists. Norris has become large than life. He’s an icon of pure masculinity and a source of great internet amusement regarding his toughness. Chuck Norris facts brought Norris back firmly into the public eye, attaining him a new level of fandom and a younger fan base who know him even more for the comedy facts as they do for his movies. Now with The Expendables 2, Norris makes a triumphant return to the cinemas and it’s the ideal time for some of his older flicks to get the spiffy Blu-Ray treatment. Going right back to the dawn of his career is A Force of One.

Chuck plays Matt Logan, a world Karate champion who teaches when he’s not fighting in the ring. When narcotics agents begin getting murdered by an assassin using martial arts techniques to kill his victims, the police ask Logan to assist them in their investigations. Logan helps but keeps himself distant, until the assassin kills his adopted son.

Norris has never been the most expressive actor, and in recent times, looking back on his films his stoic demeanor has been a large part of his charm. Throughout his career he’s stayed a steady level, neither really improving, nor getting worse. That said, as Logan, Norris plays a role very well suited to him. Obviously Norris has been a world champ. He’s also taught martial arts. It may not be a stretch but it works for him. Jennifer O’Neill is okay, if somewhat melodramatic, while Clu Gulagar is typically hammy. Then there’s Bill “super foot” Wallace. You kind of know what to expect from someone nicknamed “super foot.” Wallace is good at kicking. At acting, not so much.

The action is good. Norris has designed the fights himself, giving them a more authentic feel, whilst the slow-motion gives the viewer a chance to see some of the intricacy of certain moves. The finale is decent. The script is a bit too simplistic and there’s a middle third lull where the lack of plot slows the film, but there’s still enough here to satisfy action fans.

A firm favourite amongst Norris-ites, this certainly ranks as one of his better films and is slightly less cartoon like. It never goes into the comic territory of his 80s one-man-army films. That said, films like Invasion USA, Missing in Action and Delta Force are popular for their outlandish disregard for reality. It’s just nice to see Norris play it a little more grounded, although he’s still one tough mutha.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★

Tom Jolliffe