Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Movie Review: The Delta Force (1986)
One of the more ambitious Cannon Film efforts, The Delta Force teams veteran Lee Marvin with expressionless Chuck Norris, throws a lot of once-famous names at the screen, and achieves some engagement by taking its time to develop a story and a dose of drama prior to the machine guns opening up. But once the shooting starts, it quickly disintegrates into the mind-numbing excesses that made most Golan - Globus productions infamously bad.
The elite counter-terrorist Delta Force, under the command of Colonel Alexander (Marvin) and Major McCoy (Norris) is dispatched to mount a rescue. Alexander and McCoy were part of the shambolic 1980 operation that spectacularly failed in an attempt to extract the American embassy hostages in Iran. Determined to make amends, the Delta Force launches a daring mission within Beirut to rescue the hostages and retrieve the hijacked plane.
The movie does exhibit an increased level of professionalism and care. Scenes and characters are given appropriate time to breathe and develop, and the earlier part of the hijacking saga hits some promising notes in building the on-board tension between assailants and victims. But the final third of the film retreats to the Neanderthal cave where most of Cannon's action films dwell. Norris' McCoy character in particular contributes to an elevated amount of nonsense, killing hordes of terrorists on a motorcycle filled with an endless supply of lethal rockets, and an uncanny ability to never miss a single target.
But saddest of all is Lee Marvin's frail appearance in The Delta Force. In his farewell performance, he undoubtedly elevates the movie with an injection of distinguished talent and sheer presence. But he is also undeniably fragile and too old for the role, going through the motions in almost visible discomfort.
The Delta Force is not without its point of interest, but the production's limited tool set confines the experience to the cramped economy class, near the dank rear of the plane.
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