Anchor Bay take us back to the genesis of an icon, in A Force Of One, one of Chuck Norris’ first major starring roles. Now remastered on Blu-Ray for the first time, alongside The Octagon, get ready for your very own Chuckfest.
So there’s a little problem. During a routine investigation, a crack narcotics team (excuse the pun) is taken down one by one by a karate chopping serial killer. Like all reasonable minded people, the police chief decides that all officers should be fully trained in martial arts. But who could train them? Oh, only Chuck Norris. That’s right, Chuck Norris, in the form of karate expert Matt Logan.
Unfortunately, Matt’s reluctance to get involved is finally broken, when his adopted son becomes the karate killers latest victim. Soon Matt driven by vengeance is thrust into an epic battle of good, evil and face-kicking.
Regardless of how dated the film may appear – courtesy of Chuck’s huge moustache (which dates back to the early 1800s) and surfer hair style, it is hard to deny that it looks good on Blu-Ray. You haven’t seen Chuck Norris kicking someone until you have seen it in high definition. Norris, who choreographs the film does a stellar job arranging the fight scenes with a sense of realism and precision, never looking contrived.
A Force Of One is an interesting hybrid of the martial arts feature with the police thriller, which proves to be a refreshing alternative to a simple cop drama or martial arts movie. The concept is silly, police officers being trained in martial arts? Why aren’t they just given bigger guns? But that is all part of A Force Of One’s seventies charm. Part of the joy of watching a film like this is that it does not take itself too seriously, with everything simply aimed to entertain the viewer.
Part of A Force Of One’s pulpy charm comes from Ernest Tidyman’s (Shaft, The French Connection) gritty screenplay. Whilst fun for the most part, Tidyman also captures the sense of tension and foreboding that every good crime thriller should come equip with. This paired with Paul Aaron’s surprisingly violent direction – especially in the film’s final showdown between Chuck and the karate killer, creates a highly memorable watch.
Praise must also go to Chuck’s competent acting ability as well as his expert choreography. We feel that Logan is a man driven by revenge and hurt, with Norris also managing to have some fun with the role – particularly through the relationship between him and his colleagues.
A Force Of One is a surprising entry in Chuck’s back catalogue. A somewhat silly concept proves to be a bloodthirsty, well executed fusion of the martial arts feature and a gritty cop drama. Norris choreographs with a strong sense of realism and manages to both convince and entertain in the role.
Stars: Chuck Norris, Jennifer O’Neill , Clu Gulager
Director: Paul Aaron
Release: 6th August (UK)
Certificate: 15 (UK)