Saturday, August 4, 2012
Avenging Force (1986)
Let's talk a little about one of the best Cannon films not available stateside. Avenging Force is, unless I am mistaken, meant to be a sequel to the Chuck Norris classic Invasion U.S.A. Michael Dudikoff plays Matt Hunter (Chuck's character in the former) who ends up trying to protect his friend, politician Steve James, and said politician's family from a group of insane white supremacists led by Glastonbury, played by giant ham, and sadly departed, John P. Ryan.
Ryan was one of those actors who could give a subdued and layered performance, but it's so much more fun to see him cut loose and overact. Let me tell you, he does this like few others I have ever seen. Baring his teeth, snarling, whooping like a nut, shouting madly, the man hams it up in a way that is simply awe inspiring.
In addition to being racists, the bad guys also like to hunt people for sport in the swamps near their hideout so of course we get a little Most Dangerous Game thrown in along with the usual action. I love this movie beyond words. It's simply insane in how over the top it is.
Generally, you would expect the Steve James character to lose maybe a family member before joining up with Hunter to kick butt in the final showdown. Here? Not really. First off, one of the man's three kids is killed in the beginning sending him on the requisite butt-kicking outings with Dudikoff. About an hour later, the other two kids along with with his wife go down and then, he goes down!
I swear, this is a movie that just does not give a damn about character conventions!
James is his usual cool self and I've already spoken about Ryan which leads us to our hero for the day. Michael Dudikoff does pretty well, though his emotional range is somewhere between Chuck Norris and Dolph Lundgren.
Happily, this isn't a movie where you really need to act as we get loads of action and stacks of inventive killings throughout. If there is a downside to the film (apart from Steve James dying), it would be the rather odd open ending the movie goes with. Clearly they wanted a franchise out of this thing but for whatever reason, it never happened.
Avenging Force is, sadly, unavailable on Region 1 DVD. You can get it in Region 2 but unless you have the right equipment or want to splurge for the VHS, you're sort of screwed. I'd love for this to score a stateside release, it's truly one of the best 80's action flicks and one of Cannon's finest.