Bullet Points: The Silent Force
On July 30, 1962 one of the unsung heroes of the action entertainment genre was born. That unsung hero was none other than Loren Avedon. Avedon’s entry into the world of action movies was by pure happenstance. One night when the Los Angeles native was practicing at the Jun Chong Tae Kwon Do Karate school, producer Roy Harron showed up and was looking for a martial artist to star in No Retreat, No Surrender 2. Avedon auditioned and soon found himself signing a three picture deal.
In this edition of Bullet Points, I’ll be taking a look at Avedon’s 2001 film, The Silent Force.
- Stakeout: Our movie begins with Frank Stevens (Loren Avedon) and his partner Billy Lee (Clint Jung) in a speedboat on a stakeout. Frank and Billy are agents with a special division of the police known as The Silent Force. This modern day version of The Untouchables are watching the yacht of a known drug dealer and the leader of The Dragons, Hue Gung Pao (George Cheung of U.S. SEALS II fame). When they spot a guy leaving the yacht with what appears to be drugs in his possession, the two are in hot pursuit of the alleged drug courier on his wave runner. When they catch the guy, their suspicions are confirmed. But they don’t just bust the dude, they break his nose, tie a rope to his hands and drag him behind the boat calling him shark bait. What they didn’t realize at the time was that this dude wasn’t just any dude, he was Pao’s son, Kim (Brian Tochi of Revenge of the Nerds fame). The maverick actions of Frank and Billy now make things personal between The Dragons and The Silent Force.
- Touched: With the help of a big busted mole on the inside, The Dragons infiltrate the secret headquarters of The Silent Force, they abduct Billy and Captain Hallard and slaughter everyone else, even the mole with the nice rack. How’s that for gratitude? Now when I say The Dragons slaughtered everyone else, I of course meant everyone but Frank Stevens, who left HQ for a while to do some grocery shopping. When he returned he is knocked out by The Dragons, but wakes up just in the nick of time before the explosives go off. Obviously they couldn’t kill off the star of the movie.
- The Unrelenting Power of a Black Trenchcoat: Frank becomes a one man force and you know he means business because he’s dressed all in black now. He walks right into one of Pao’s establishments and kicks some major ass, sending a message to Pao and The Dragons that The Silent Force was not completely silenced. Frank is not all on his own on this mission of vengeance. The good guys had a mole of their own on the inside of The Dragons. Her name is Natalie Woo, she was the wife of Frank’s first partner on The Silent Force, Tony Woo. Tony Woo was killed by The Dragons and Natalie went deep undercover to find out exactly who killed her husband. Natalie has been working as a bartender at Pao’s club and is romantically attached to one of Pao’s top men, Jimmy Thai. Ironically, the same Jimmy Thai that killed Tony Woo.
- Happy Ending: The one thing that seemed a little off to me about The Silent Force was how everything shakes out at the end. Shortly after Frank goes on his vigilante spree, the FBI intercedes and convinces Frank to do things by the book. AND Frank actually goes a long with it. So… SPOILER ALERT… the bad guys that viciously murdered all the cops in The Silent Force are arrested and will stand trial. We do not get the usual eye for eye, vigilante justice that action movie audiences have come to expect. It is like at some point The Silent Force changed from an R rated feature into a weekly action adventure series on TV. The Dragons are blood thirsty cop killers and they have an almost comedic end?! It really felt out of place.
Aside from a less than satisfying ending, The Silent Force was an enjoyable movie. On the Loren Avedon Spectrum, with the best being The King of the Kickboxers and the worst being Fighting Spirit, The Silent Force is definitely closer to the former.
I hope these bonus Bullet Points make the end of this review a little more satisfying…
- Memorable Quote #1: “A woman on the rag can be a very tough opponent.”
- Give the Man Some Credit: Matthias Hues shows up towards the end of the film giving us some Avedon vs. Hues action! Hues’ role in the film is uncredited and his character doesn’t even have a name and I’m almost positive his wardrobe was just the tank, the jeans and the high top sneakers he had on when he showed up that day. In fact, if you told me he was just visiting his buddy Loren Avedon on the set and then the producers asked him if he wanted to do a scene and he agreed, I’d totally believe it. Perhaps Mr. Hues can confirm or deny this theory on Twitter.
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Loren Avedon put a guy’s head through a wall, then this is the movie for you.
- Talented Family: Loren Avedon is the nephew of famed photographer Richard Avedon.
- Don’t You Mean Re-introducing?: Robert Clements, who played Captain Hallard in The Silent Force, gets the special “Introducing” credit. Once I researched Mr. Clements I found that he was actually in two other movies prior to The Silent Force, so the introducing credit is a little confusing. Clements has not had much of an action movie career, but he did star in the 2003 horror comedy, Rectuma. The tag line for the film… “The terror lurking behind you could be your own behind”. The movie is about a man who is infected by a Mexican butt humping bull frog which causes his ass to grow 20 feet tall… and no I am not making this all up.
- Memorable Quote #2: “This thing sticks out like tits on a rooster.”