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INVASION, U.S.A.

       

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, July 22, 2016

EDITOR’S NOTE: Some Blu-ray upgrades are mysteries, such as the one given this Chuck Norris vehicle by the Shout! Factory. This review was published in the Deseret News on Oct. 2, 1985. On the other hand, the cynic in me feels that perhaps it was calculated to cash in on the current state of paranoia in the world, thanks to terrorist attacks.

After Chuck Norris gained some respect from the critics as well as the box office with “Code of Silence” earlier this year, you might think he’d try to maintain that modicum of credibility.

But credibility is thrown to the wind with “Invasion U.S.A.,” a ridiculous action picture that doesn’t have a brain in its slickly contrived little head.

The plot has Cuban (?) terrorists going around the country blowing up buildings and killing innocent people, turning America into a nation of paranoid crazies.

The terrorists land on a Florida beach at night, board a fleet of trucks and head for various key cities all over the country – but who they are, who they’re working for, or why they are doing all this is never explained.

Since there are Russian names sprinkled among the villains, we can assume the Soviet communist menace is behind it … I guess. 

     

                       Chuck Norris, 'Invasion, U.S.A.'

But the screenwriters  (assuming there was a script for this film, which I seriously doubt) repeatedly bring to our attention the lack of information they have provided by having the chief villains discuss their violence as for “our purpose.” They just never explain what that purpose is. (This picture makes “Red Dawn” seem downright sane.)

Enter Chuck Norris, this time as Matt Hunter, an ex-FBI agent who sneers to his former boss, “I work alone.” Yes he does, and he kills more people than any screen hero since Rambo … remember him?

The violence in this film is much more sadistic than usual, and for that matter, surprisingly, so is Norris. At one point he pins a bad guy’s hand to a table with a knife, so he can extract information from him. Then Norris hands him a grenade minus the pin. Now you and I know the bad guy can simply throw that grenade out the window possibly blowing up innocent bystanders, but that never seems to occur to Norris.

Of course, the villains are much worse — as evil as they come, in fact. The setting is Christmas in Florida, and we see these terrorists bazooka a household where a typical American family is decorating a tree, bomb a department store where innocent people are shopping, and, with Norris in hot pursuit, virtually demolish a shopping mall.

       

                          Chuck Norris, 'Invasion, U.S.A.'

In fact, more cars are destroyed in this film than any picture since “The Blues Brothers” … which also wrecked a mall, come to think of it.

The script tries to come up with clever, punchy lines of dialogue to finish off scenes of wreckage, but none work particularly well, and the film quickly becomes a numbing series of violent vignettes, some interesting, many not.

And in the end, there is the inevitable showdown — which seems to go on forever —between Norris and the top bad guy (Richard Lynch), who has an obsessive grudge against Norris.

“Invasion U.S.A.,” rated R for violence, profanity and nudity, is alternately incredibly violent and incredibly silly. And it will probably be a big hit. Worse Norris films have been made successful by his fans.