Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Forced Vengeance

“Fast, Hard, and Dangerous...Hong Kong is like a slap in the face that feels good.”

Long before Chuck Norris became a once funny, then not funny, then funny again and finally not funny internet MEME he was a joke. But before he was a joke he kicked all sorts of ass. Norris had a pretty decent run with movies like MISSING IN ACTION, INVASION U.S.A., TOP DOG, SIDEKICKS (ok maybe not those last 2). Before those, however, was Forced Vengeance. An oft forgotten gem of Chucks early career and I would argue one of his best films. Regardless of his character having one of the pussiest names ever.

Won't say that to his face though
Chuck plays Josh Randall, family friend and “crisis management” negotiator (read: face puncher and roundhouse kick delivery system) for a small Casino owner in Hong Kong. The film opens with an excuse for a fight, Josh is sent to L.A. To punch a dude in the face till he pays him the money owed. In return for their hospitaliano, Josh winds up hospitalizing the rest of the man's crew as well. I'm fairly certain he cripples a man with a kick to the balls. Once home in the good old, China, Josh winds up in the middle of a hostile takeover attempt from another casino. His boss and his boss' son, Sam and Dave (no not THAT Sam and Dave) are brutally murdered after they reject the offer and it's up to old red stache to deal with the situation.

That's really about as deep as the story goes. Forced Vengeance is basically a 106 min excuse to show Chuck do what Chuck does best, no not acting! Norris delivers a myriad of punches and kicks throughout the movie's 12 or 13 fight scenes. The action never lets up either, normally in a movie like this it suffers from the mid movie lulls, but Forced Vengeance delivers face punch after beautiful face punch until the end. And when I say to the end, I mean even over the credits which goes back and edits together all the best devastating punches and so brutal they should be illegal kicks and puts them in slo mo!

he wears the FUCK out of those shades
One of my favorite aspects of the movie is that Josh is not a superman. He gets hurt several times, gets caught unaware and even comes dangerously close to being put out. This gritty realism makes the fight scenes all the more brutal when Chuck wraps a rope around a man's neck and tosses him off the second floor of a ship only to have his head cave in on the side of the boat leaving a horrifying, yet cathartic red smear on the side. Josh also fails a lot in the movie. He fails to protect his friend Lee, a lovable sassy black man and his wife who is brutally raped and Lee is forced to lie there with a broken back and watch. Another fight scene that immediately comes to mind is an amazing ¾ speed fight that takes place in front of a giant red neon sign. The sign is behind them as they fight and the roundhouse kick ballet that goes on for the way too brief scene is shown in silhouette and it's just gorgeous.

The movie is not without it's humorous moments too. Chuck is just like any actioner, he quips one liners then punches you in the face, but I think my favorite unintentionally funny moment of the film is when he goes to visit a stripper who once worked for the baddie and in the background there's playing an Asian instrumental version of SUPERFREAK by Rick James. It's pure hilarity, I quite literally fell out of my chair the first time I heard it and that's not an easy feat. It's the perfect accentuation to an already completely ludicrous scene. Chuck brings the stripper/hooker up to her room. It's as clear as the waters of lake minnetonka that he's not interested in sex and she's getting herself read to BANG HIM!

Bras optional (thank goodness)
So if you like older Chuck Norris films and really, who doesn't?! You'd be doing yourself a disservice not to watch Forced Vengeance. With a climax you have to see to believe you better run out and find this one. Or if you want come on over my place and we'll watch and laugh together! This is a great movie for friends and booze!

5 fists of brutal fury out of 5

Drink up! We've got movies to watch

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