Bullet Points: The Octagon
The Octagon is one of those films that probably makes for a much better book. The movie had a few scenes that were really cool, namely when Chuck’s character gets to the whole South American ninja training facility and starts tearing guys new assholes. From that point onward, this movie kicks ass, but the 90 minutes before it are hit or miss; mostly miss. It’s worth a watch if you’re a die hard Chuck Norris fan or for a special day with the lady (ladies love ninja movies) but if I had to choose between The Octagon or a different Chuck movie like Lone Wolf McQuade I’m going Lone Wolf everyday baby.
The Gist: Karate champion Scott James (Chuck Norris) has retired from competitive action after almost killing a man in the ring. Now, James finds himself involved with a secret group training terrorist agents in the ways of the Ninja. James was raised and trained by Master Isawa (John Fujioka, same role as American Ninja) along with his “brother” in ninjutsu Seikura, who it turns out becomes the leader of the ninja training organization. James must now protect his friends from the imminent threat of the NINJA!
The Cast: First of all, Chuck Norris as a badass, to the point, all-business martial artist is just perfect casting for him. The man can throw a roundhouse but he isn’t exactly an expert thespian. He really got his break as one of the villains in Bruce Lee’s Way of the Dragon but he has made a career as a good guy and not as a silent killer. Art Hindle plays Chuck’s best friend A.J. who chases girls and eventually gets James in more trouble than he already would have been. A.J. spends a considerable amount of runtime trying to find the bad guys compound to be captured literally seconds after getting there. He is notable for his hair being thick and lustrous but never actually throwing a punch, which is not good for an action movie. There are several good looking ladies here to swoon over James and his OBVIOUS charms and mustache but they rarely do anything of note other than tell him that he needs to kill Seikura. Lee Van Cleef is a cool character who recruits for a mercenary group but he doesn’t add much when it comes to story.
Try to find something wrong with this picture…you can’t.
The Villain: We definitely don’t get enough on Seikura and his guys to make them too interesting. I don’t know why they put their ninja compound in Central America and not on some Japanese island. The Red-Hooded ninja was cool (played by Richard Norton) but I don’t even remember if he got a name. That and the almost absolute worthlessness of the ninjas and other trainees just make The Octagon a laughable place to train.
Easily the best part of this movie.
The Action: The fight scenes between Chuck and whoever he was kicking the shit out of were decent. They looked more real and Chuck is obviously smooth and swift with his technique. The movie itself spends far too much time trying to tell a bad story and not nearly enough time giving us sweet ninja killing action. The fight between James and the Red-Hooded ninja is pretty good and ends with a charred corpse but the final showdown with Seikura was disappointing as hell. Most of the movie we have to sit through listening to Chuck ask himself if he’ll be able to kill Seikura and clearly it was much easier than he thought.
Take it Home:
- Shoulda got Morgan Freeman: There is an unexplainable narration by Scott James that only he can hear. It’s weird to say the least.
- Keep it in the Family: The teenage Scott James in the movie is portrayed by Chuck Norris’ real son Mike Norris.
- Oscar worthy: Chuck Norris’ mustache goes uncredited in this movie but I like to call it Manny.
Scott James: Master of Denim.
So that was The Octagon. The fourth lead role of Chuck in his impressive catalogue of films. There isn’t much action in this puppy but I have to say that I wasn’t that disappointed with the dialogue. My problem was that it went on for far too long. Kinda like this review….