Saturday 7 July 2012

Movie Review: Silent Rage (1982)

A sometimes astoundingly bad mishmash of warmed-over horror, superfluous martial arts, and oafish romance, Silent Rage temptingly flirts with the "so bad it's good" category but settles for just plain incompetent.

In an unnamed small Texas town, former mental patient John Kirby (Brian Libby) loses his grip on reality, gains enormous physical strength and murders two people. Eventually overpowered and injured by Sheriff Dan Stevens (Chuck Norris) with no help from his incompetent and overweight deputy Charlie (Stephen Furst), Kirby is hospitalized seemingly close to death.

But the local hospital has a secret wing controlled by three doctors experimenting with powerful cell regenerating drugs. The ring leader is the egotistical Doctor Spires (Steven Keats), who overcomes the objections of the more reasonable Doctor Halman (Ron Silver) and injects Kirby with a super-healing formula that renders him nearly indestructible. Kirby is soon loose and spreading terror killing everyone in sight, with Halman and his wife among the targets. Stevens has to interrupt a revived romance with Halman's sister Alison (Toni Kalem) to put an end to the carnage.

With production values that rival the best efforts of dim high school kids, Silent Rage throws an unending assortment of derived ideas at the screen in a malarkey mix of ineptitude. The premise revisits Frankenstein, the horror elements are a poor attempt to mimic Halloween, the main martial arts sequence (Stevens takes on a gang of bikers) has nothing to do with the movie, the attempts at sidekick humour in the person of Charlie the Deputy are painfully unfunny, the so-called romance between Stevens and Alison must have been mechanically scripted by a machine fed on all wooden lines that could possibly infiltrate a relationship, and the movie is sprinkled with gratuitous tits just to emphasize the standard of ambition.

Directed by Michael Miller, whose talent subsequently consigned him to a career helming cheap made-for-TV movies, Silent Rage accurately describes the burning anger at Chuck Norris and Brian Libby for prolonging the movie with an endless final confrontation. When things are this bad, it does not matter who lives and who dies, or why: the credits just can't come soon enough.

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