A small town Sheriff (Chuck Norris, Lone Wolf McQuade) is faced with the challenge of protecting his community from a psychopath (John Kirby, The Shawshank Redemption) who has been made virtually indestructible through genetic engineering.
Reaction & Thoughts:
During the 1980s, I was literally forced to watch any kind of action film thanks to my mother’s commitment to this popular film genre. Chuck Norris happened to be one of the old lady’s favorite actors, a fascination that still somehow puzzles me to this very day.
I’m a very forgiving person, so I must say I don’t hold any grudges towards my mother for putting me through the psychological torture of watching all of Norris’s films, one after the other — I must admit, by the time I finished watching half a dozen of his films, I realized that I had kind of grown fond of his deadpan approach to kicking butt. Some of his films are indeed quite entertaining!
Breaker! Breaker! (1977) and Good Guys Wear Black (1978) started Norris’s winning streak at the box office, quickly followed by Forced Vengeance (1979), The Octagon (1980), and An Eye for an Eye (1981). All of these films were very similar, story wise — a man trying to bring order to society using his martial arts skills.
One notable exception was his 1982 film Silent Rage, which steps aside from the proven winning formula. Combining Norris’s usual karate movements with the conventions of the slasher genre, the end result is a film that could be described as either a strange martial arts film or a peculiar horror film — this is “Texas Ranger Walker meets Michael Myers.” Although not a great movie by any standards, this film should provide a good time for those viewers who enjoy B-movies.
Obviously inspired by the success of horror films like Halloween and Friday the 13th, Silent Rage, written by Joseph Fraley, directed by Michael Miller, is a very strange mixture of martial arts, backwoods humor, and horror. There are a few good things to be said about Norris’s honest attempt to try something different from his usual action packed films. I did wish that the film had stuck to one genre (horror or action), since the resulting mix doesn’t work.
Conclusions & Final Thoughts:
As I said before, despite my obvious reservations, I believe Silent Rage should provide a good time for those viewers that enjoy B-movies. For any fans of strange horror films and admirers of Norris, you may find yourself compelled to sit through it. Color, 103 minutes, Rated R.