I’m not going to claim to be some sort of Chuck Norris connoisseur or anything. My experience with his movies up until now was Sidekicks, yes the Sidekicks starring Jonathan Brandis. I do know that long before he became a catchphrase and Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris starred in all sorts of action flicks in the late 70s and 80s, with some big hits like The Delta Force and Missing in Action. The movie on the cutting board today isn’t one of those movies, but another action flick that is running on full Norris, Invasion U.S.A. Directed by Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter director Joseph Zito, with special effects by Tom Savini, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger, Invasion U.S.A. stars Chuck Norris as the lead ass-kicking hero of the movie. However, the real winner of this movie is Richard Lynch, who plays the evil to the core Mikhail Rostov. He’s a man that doesn’t mess around, doing whatever it takes to create chaos and destruction. The movie itself has some pacing issues, jumping from one action scene to another with not much story in between, but we’ll get to that problem in a bit. In the meantime, let’s see what the movie is all about…
DISCS: 1 RUN-TIME: 110 min ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1 RESOLUTION: 1080p AUDIO: DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo LANGUAGE: English SUBTITLES: English REGION: A/1 RATING: R PRODUCTION DATE: 1985 RELEASE DATE: Mar 15, 2016
When America faces invasion for the first time in history, it’s up to one-man army Matt Hunter (action superstar Chuck Norris) to wage war upon the enemies of freedom. On suburban streets, in shopping malls, and even in churches, the firepower explodes in megaton fury… and death-defying stunts escalate into a heart-stopping climax when Hunter, America’s doomsday weapon, launches his final plan.
An army of terrorist mercenaries led by Soviet agent Rostov (Richard Lynch, Bad Dreams) catches America unprepared and makes it a war zone from sea to shining sea. Only one man can stem the rising tide of violence: retired agent and martial arts expert Matt Hunter. Leading the United States Army into guerilla warfare on its own turf, Hunter won’t stop until every last bazooka-wielding enemy is taken out. From the director of Missing In Action, Joseph Zito, comes one of Norris’ most action-packed films.
The plot for Invasion U.S.A. is right there in the title. A maniacal madman, played by Richard Lynch, is determined to invade the U.S.A. and create destruction and panic, killing anyone that gets in his way. The only person to have ever stopped Rostov before was the bearded wonder known as Chuck Norris, who has an unhealthy affinity for walking around with his shirt undone.
After Rostov decides to level an entire suburban neighbourhood, during Xmas no less (what’s with foreign baddies and Xmas?), the government calls in Matt Hunter (Norris) to take down Rostov once in for all and Matt is determined to finish the job this time, as he previously spared Rostov’s life. Matt makes sure to let Rostov know that, this time, he is going to die, going so far as to spout the line “Time to die” during an interview on TV, just to enrage Rostov. After being called out on TV like that Rostov stubbornly puts aside the invasion plans to take down Matt instead, but you can’t kill what can’t be killed and Chuck Norris is unkillable. Rostov, plus his numerous henchmen, go head to head with Matt on several occasions, be it destroying an entire shopping mall, chasing down an explosives-rigged school bus full of children, or a high rise building with dozens of tanks surrounding it. The movie isn’t short on explosive action sequences.
The film does have some issues with the pacing, though, as some scenes come across as disjointed. One scene, in particular, has Matt randomly showing up at a fairground, which was the site of one of Rostov’s attacks – an attack we didn’t get to see – which makes the scene feel completely random and out of place with what came before it. Writer James Bruner does mention in the special features of the disc that the script was trimmed in places, which resulted in a pieced-together story that hops from one action sequence to the next. In fact, an entire character played by Melissa Prophet, who at first comes across as a love interest for Matt, is suddenly dropped from the movie with no warning. It’s been said that she just wasn’t working, so they just reduced her character down to what can only be described as a cameo. Ouch.
In the end, though, this is a Chuck Norris action flick we are talking about, so be damned the story I say and serve me up that delicious action and incredibly cheesy one-liners. In that, Invasion U.S.A. throws me so many rights my way, I was begging not only for a left but for more.
Invasion U.S.A. could have easily been a bare-bones Blu-ray from Shout! Factory, but the company was gracious enough to give us two new features with writer James Bruner and the effects crew Tom Savini, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger. The feature with Bruner runs about 29 minutes and has him talking about his days with Cannon, who produced Invasion U.S.A.. It’s a rather informative interview, with plenty of fun tidbits about the movie and Cannon’s wonderful way of promoting a film with only a title and no script. The interview with the effects crew is also a lot of fun, clocking in at almost 18 minutes. Tom Savini is his usual sarcastic self, but both Nicotero and Berger do provide some fun info. The movie doesn’t have a ton of special effects, so the three basically sat around or went to Disney for four months. Rounding out the features is a brand new commentary with director Joseph Zito, a trailer, TV spot and Still Gallery. As for the audio/visual side of the disc, the movie is looking pretty damn nice. It’s a bit soft in areas, but nothing terrible. The audio also works the speakers with a solid DTS-HD Master Audio Stereo sound option.
NEW Audio Commentary By Director Joseph Zito
NEW Loose Cannons – An Interview With Screenwriter James Bruner
NEW Cannon Carnage: The Make-up Effects Of Invasion U.S.A. – Interviews With Special Effects Makeup Artists Howard Berger, Greg Nicotero And Tom Savini
Invasion U.S.A. delivers a super fun action romp, but with a paper-thin storyline. Chuck Norris brings home the goods, unbuttoned shirt and all and Richard Lynch is the definition of what a bad guy should be, throwing people out windows and blowing up neighbourhoods. Shout! Factory gives us some solid features, video and audio. The disc comes recommended.