As a kid growing-up in a "lightly monitored" household I got the opportunity to see plenty of movies I really shouldn't have been at an earlier age. I managed to see gory horror flicks (Friday The 13th), violent ninja movies (American Ninja), and comedies with the ever-so-sweet T&A (Porky's). I used to spend countless weekends in front of the tube soaking in whatever I could. It was during this time I had my first experience with Chuck Norris, a former karate champion who would have a decent run in the 80's as an action hero with such fare as Delta Force, Invasion U.S.A and Missing In Action. That movie was Forced Vengeance - and I loved it. Now, years later, I still enjoy it - but for different reasons.
By far the coolest thing about Forced Vengeance has to be the kick-ass opening title sequence (c'mon, you older B-movie fans remember this) where a silhouetted Norris fights a baddie in front of a neon sign as two women watch on from the sidelines while William Goldstein's awesome title music plays in the background. It's a scene that gets you ready for tons of ass kicking, and it looks good to boot - too bad they re-use it later on in the movie.
Norris plays Josh, a martial arts trained cowboy-type who's working as an enforcer at Hong Kong casino, The Lucky Dragon, which is owned by Sam (David Opatoshu), a Jewish man who took him under his wing after seeing him handle himself well in a bar fight while on leave from the military. Sam's his boss, mentor, and like a second father to him and when rival casino owner Ramandi (Michael Cavanaugh) muscles his way in to try and make Sam sell his business, Josh has to go seeking revenge when said baddies murder Sam (and Sam's son) while trying to protect Sam's daughter and his girlfriend from various baddies.
Yes, Forced Vengeance is your typical "guy seeks revenge" movie and it's filled with the seemingly random fight sequences you'd expect from this type of movie. But that doesn't mean it's not an entertainingly dopey time. Sure, Norris is about as wooden as they come in the lead role, but that really doesn't matter when all we're paying to see if him kicking as much ass as humanly possible as he's determined to take out Ramandi and all the scumbags who work for him. And take them out he does as he kicks his way to a finale that ramps up the violence as a big fight scene on a yacht ends with an accidental hanging and there's a final brawl with a broken English spouting baddie that piles on a whole slew of property destruction.
In that respect, the movie satisfies. It's what you'd expect from Chuck Norris (be it a little less over-the-top as he wasn't the huge action star his later films would make him into) and it's pretty fun - even if it could've used a little bit more in the way of action scenes (there's a few dull spots throughout), it should've lost the silly "internal monologue" narration Norris' character uses, and it could've done without the rape of his girlfriend... I mean, the dude's already lost enough people to piss him off, why add insult to injury?
If you're a fan of campy karate flicks or you, like me, have fond memories of watching this late at night on numerous weekend breaks from school then give Forced Vengeance a whirl, it's even more proof they just don't make stuff like this anymore. (Chris Hartley, 10/11/06)
Directed By: James Fargo.
Written By: Franklin Thompson.
Starring: Chuck Norris, Mary Louise Weller, Michael Cavanaugh, David Opatushu.