Stars: 3.9 of 5.
Running Time: 103 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Chuck Norris, Ron Silver (TIMECOP, ROMANCING THE STONE), Steven Keats (DEATH WISH, THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE), Toni Kalem (SISTER ACT, THE WANDERERS), Stephen Furst (MIDNIGHT MADNESS). Written by Joseph Fraley (GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK). Music by Mark Goldenberg (HOT DOG THE MOVIE, TEEN WOLF TOO) and Peter Bernstein (HAMBURGER THE MOTION PICTURE, EWOKS: THE BATTLE FOR ENDOR). Hmmmm. Makes you wonder.
Tag-line: "Science created him. Now Chuck Norris must destroy him."
Best one-liner: "I don't care if he killed 100 people! We are scientists, not moralists!"
SILENT RAGE is your typical early 80's Norris flick, except for one thing: it's smattered with contemporaneously popular horror! We got long steadicam shots like HALLOWEEN, an axe-thru-door scene like THE SHINING, and a back-from-the-dead emerging-from-water scene straight out of the original FRIDAY THE 13TH.
Psycho killer puts the squeeze on Chuck...
...and Stephen Furst.
The plot is basically FRANKENSTEIN meets WALKER, TEXAS RANGER. Chuck is in fine form here: karate kicking bikers in the mouth (who all spew beer on impact), awkward buddy bonding with a greenhorn, overweight deputy (Stephen Furst, Flounder from ANIMAL HOUSE and the rich brat in MIDNIGHT MADNESS), and making love to a woman and then lavishing her with fruit platters and hammock-time.
CHUCK WILL TALK SMOOTH TO YOU
CHUCK WILL TOWEL HIMSELF DOWN
CHUCK WILL BE GENEROUS WITH HIS KISSES, FRUIT PLATTERS, AND UNINSTALLED PULL-UP BARS
CHUCK WILL LAVISH YOU WITH HAMMOCK-TIME AND A REPLENISHED FRUIT PLATTER
The noodling synth score (courtesy of Mark Goldenberg (TEEN WOLF TOO) and Peter Bernstein (the EWOK TV movies)) is whacky and frequently inappropriate, the anti-science message is whimsical and true to Norris form, and the suspenseful scenes laboriously drag in a manner that reveals an action director's sad first attempt at horror.
Look at how evil science is. Don't worry, though, science will get its comeuppance.
Then we got this moody psychiatrist played by Ron Silver, who obviously watched SERPICO like twelve times right before filming began.
We got two main characters (Norris and his gal) who evidently don't know how elevators work (they press the up and down arrows both, and in a crisis scenario, no less!).
Are you serious?
Up or down. One or the other. Please not both.
We got yet another Norris character with two first names: Dan Stevens. Even the villain has two first names: John Kirby. Then the whole thing ends on a pretty sweet freeze frame as well.
If you like Norris, you will like this movie. This is one of the stronger ones; as far as early Norris goes, I'd put it beneath LONE WOLF MCQUADE, but above THE OCTAGON. Four stars.
2009 Halloween Countdown
31. PROM NIGHT (1980, Paul Lynch)
30. PHENOMENA (1985, Dario Argento)
29. HOUSE OF WAX (1953, André de Toth)
28. SILENT RAGE (1982, Michael Miller)