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SILENT RAGE (1982)
Columbia Pictures Corporation / FBS Inc. / Topkick Productions
Rated: Australia, USA: R / Finland: K-18 / France: -12 / Germany:BPjM Restricted / Iceland: 16 / Norway, UK: 18 / Sweden: 15
Want to see me do something dangerous? Something that puts me at risk of genuine physical danger?
Ok, here it goes: Chuck Norris is not the world's greatest actor.
Impressed? Or just outraged? Either way, allow me to explain.
SILENT RAGE (1982) was directed by Michael Miller (DETERMINATION OF DEATH, FACE VALUE) and written by Joseph Fraley and Edward Di Lorenzo (SPACE: 1999 [TV]). And at this point I want to say that the first fifteen minutes of this movie is kind of awesome.
The story opens with a vary large man named John Kirby (Brian Libby: THE GREEN MILE, THE MIST) wakes up in a tiny room in some sort of boarding house (or maybe it's a relative's house – that's not clear). There's a lot of activity in the house and all the noise seems to be pushing John over the edge. He gets a call from his doctor and begs for help, but it's too late. John gives in to his desires, picks up an ax and goes to work.
This all happens with very little dialog and minimal exposition and it serves to really draw you into the movie. You want to know what the hell is the story with this guy.
The Sheriff (Chuck Norris: THE OCTAGON, HERO AND THE TERROR) arrives but it takes more than his usual karate skills to bring this bad guy down.
At the request of Dr. Tom Halman (Ron Silver: THE ARRIVAL), John's doctor, John is moved to "The Institute", a research hospital where they also happen to be doing some genetic experimentation. That's where Tom's colleague Dr. Phillip Spires (Steven Keats: HANGAR 18) decides to use the very large psychopath to test a drug that alters your genes and makes you able to heal instantly.
Which is all very interesting but apparently the filmmaker's had other ideas because it's around here that things go off the rails. There are long segments of comedy-free subplots with comic relief character Charlie (Steven Furst: THE UNSEEN) and poorly choreographed obligatory fight scenes between Mr. Norris and a large group of bikers who foolishly attack him one at a time.
There's so much of this filler material that by the time you finally get back to the super-psycho-killer you're like, "Oh, right! That guy!".
The quality of the writing varies quite a bit from scene to scene as well. For example, when the sheriff (who has been told that John is dead) shows up to pick up the body, Dr. Spires tells him, "We're not done with the autopsy."
"Autopsy?" says the sheriff. "That;s the coroner's job."
"So it is," agrees Dr. Spires.
And that's it! The sheriff has pointed out that the doctor has no right perform an autopsy, the doctor agrees and they both go their separate ways.
Before I say anything else about the story, let's take a refreshing break for a
Think about what would have to happen for "instant healing" to work. Stem cells would have to arrive at the site of the injury immediately and divide incredibly fast. That alone just isn't possible because the cellular machinery simply doesn’t work that fast. But even if it did, where are these cells getting the nutrients they need to reproduce so fast? This guy would need a massively fast metabolism which means he'd need to eat constantly. Super powers have their price.
John the psycho killer is actually a very scary bad guy. He's merciless and completely silent but seems to enjoy his work.
A cool, scary killer is, you know, cool, but I have to balance that against the long, boring middle. Doing the math results in just two shriek girls, which gives Chuck Norris one more reason to kick my ass.
copyright 2008 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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