Bullet Points: Silent Rage
Have you ever been watching one of those slasher movies and wondered what would happen if the homicidal maniac in the movie had to match up against an action movie hero instead of a bunch of sex crazed teenagers?
The 1982 movie Silent Rage gave us that exact scenario with a genetically enhanced maniac taking on the one and the only Chuck Norris.
- So I Rented a Room to an Axe Murderer: Our movie begins with an introduction to the movie’s antagonist, a troubled man named Jack Kirby (Brian Libby from Action Jackson and Platoon Leader). Kirby is renting a room from a family in a small Texas town. Kirby is also going through some things emotionally and psychologically. It doesn’t help that the family he is boarding with is extremely loud. There’s a bunch of kids screaming their heads off and their mother fights fire with fire by screaming her head off at the children. Kirby is on edge in the opening scene and it isn’t long before he goes to some extreme measures to get some peace and quiet. After the children are sent packing to the playground, Kirby goes out to the garage grabs an axe and the screaming mother has something else to scream about. The local police show up, Sheriff Dan Stevens (Chuck Norris) and his deputy Charlie (Stephen Furst). After a monumental struggle, Stevens takes Kirby into custody. But a handcuffed Kirby doesn’t last long in the back of the police car. Kirby breaks the cuffs and proceeds to kick the door off the cop car, but his escape is as temporary as his incarceration as the cops shoot Kirby full of lead. As the cops are taking Kirby down, one of the doctors who had been treating Kirby shows up, and this serves as our introduction to Ron Silver’s character, Dr. Tom Halman.
- The Monster Mash: Kirby was being treated at a local medical facility that specialized in experimental medicine. We meet Dr. Halman’s colleagues, Dr. Vaughn and Dr. Spires (Steven Keats of Death Wish fame). In the operating room, the trio of doctors try to save the life of Kirby but there was too much damage done. Spires however believes they should try the experimental serum that the good doctors have been developing, that speeds up the bodies recuperation process and would give Kirby a second chance at life. But, Dr. Halman objects, arguing that while the serum could physically bring Kirby back, Kirby’s mind is all kinds of f’d up and reluctantly concludes that Kirby is better off dead. Dr. Spires concurs with his colleague, but as soon as Halman heads home, Spires and Vaughn shoot Kirby up with the serum anyway and move him to a remote wing of the facility. What could possibly go wrong?
- The Boogie Man: A funny thing happened while at the experimental medical facility, Sheriff Dan Stevens bumped into an old girlfriend, Alison Halman (Toni Kalem). Alison works as a receptionist at the facility with her older brother. It doesn’t take long before the sparks to start flying between Alison and Dan and a whirlwind romance begins… but lets not forget, we also have a reanimated psycho killer to deal with. And when the romance is over, Silent Rage goes into full on horror movie mode with Kirby hunting down everyone in the film… he starts with Dr. Halman’s wife Nancy, then Dr. Halman, he even goes after the man who gave him life again, Dr. Spires, snapping his neck (that’s what you get Keats for referring to Charles Bronson as “dad” in Death Wish!) Kirby finishes up his murder parade by going after Alison and Dan Stevens.
One thing that really stood out to me about Silent Rage is how Chuck Norris was not yet invincible. Dan Stevens has to put the work in when he battles Jack Kirby and he gets his ass handed to him a few times. This makes for a much more compelling fight. The final battle between Stevens and Kirby is pretty epic, with crazy vehicular action, an explosion and even the hand to hand combat you’d expect to get from a Chuck Norris film.
No need for me to be silent about Silent Rage being a quality film with the perfect blend of action and horror. And no need for you to get in a rage, here are the Bonus Bullet Points you’ve come to expect…
- If You Ever: …wanted to see Stephen Furst do a Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver impersonation, then this is the movie for you. Yes, I’m talking to you!
- All My Rowdy Friends: At one point a biker gang is getting a little too rowdy at a local establishment, so Sheriff Stevens goes in to keep the peace. What ends up happening is straight out of Action Movie 101 as Stevens gets into the obligatory bar fight and kicks some serious ass.
- Montage: Another action movie rule Silent Rage followed was the inclusion of a montage. But this was unlike any montage I would expect from a Chuck Norris flick. We get to see a pretty lengthy “love making montage” with Stevens and Alison.
- Reunited: Chuck Norris and Brian Libby worked together previously in 1980’s The Octagon. The two would work together for a third time years later when Libby did a guest shot on Norris’ Walker, Texas Ranger television series.
- The Sequel: The ending of Silent Rage set things up perfectly for a sequel, but a sequel never came. Silent Rage was actually remade in 2009 as a straight to video horror film titled Indestructible.