Silent Rage (1982)

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Silent Rage (1982)

Post  BoG on Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:22 pm

Martials Arts meets Frankenstein.  Though not even a superior Chuck Norris thriller, this mixture of two genres ends up as a surprisingly engaging action sci-fi/horror entry, simply because it just isn't done much. It seems that Halloween (1978) was a heavy influence on much  of the style and plotting: the first sequence is a long continuous shot (no cuts) of our introduction to the misfit villain (Brian Libby), as he goes nuts at the boarding house he lives at. Later scenes, notably of the psycho getting shot numerous times and falling through a 4th-story window to his apparent death, are a direct steal from the earlier film, which also featured an unstoppable killer. The main difference here is that a pseudo-scientific reason is established for the killer's ability to always bounce back from deadly damage.
In the plot, the psycho killer is very near death after a run-in with police in the first act, but a couple of local doctors/geneticists (Steven Keats and William Finley) decide that this is the right time to test their experimental serum. They give the killer the power to regenerate after almost any injury - a knife wound, for example, would heal in seconds; gun shot wounds, maybe a few seconds more. The doctors' goals were meant for the benefit of mankind, of course; this breakthrough would have meant a lot for healing accident victims. As it is, the killer, who was already psychotic before the procedure, now becomes a silent killing machine. Can even Chuck Norris the sheriff stop him?
This film contains the standard highlights of a Norris action thriller; he gets to kick serious butt as usual - an early big scene has him wiping out an entire motorcycle gang in  a bar. The weakness is a slightly over-the-top flavor to the comedy bits; actor Stephen Furst is mostly in the wrong movie as the stumbling, inept deputy, still in Animal House mode. Norris acts as his straight man in their scenes together and it just seems off, especially considering Furst's final scene. Norris also gets to relax more than usual in a revitalized romance, though Toni Kalem's girlfriend character is mostly frills. Ron Silver is very good, as usual, as the 'sane' doctor who rejects his colleague's plan. The finale, the expected big fight to the death, has an extra punch to it because we know that the villain supposedly cannot be killed.  BoG's Score: 6.5 out of 10

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