When the detectives of an undercover police unit are being mysteriously killed by a martial artist, a professional kickboxer is hired to assist them.When the detectives of an undercover police unit are being mysteriously killed by a martial artist, a professional kickboxer is hired to assist them.When the detectives of an undercover police unit are being mysteriously killed by a martial artist, a professional kickboxer is hired to assist them.
Chuck Norris had had a few starring roles up to this point, but really started to kick things off with this action flick and its predecessor, Good Guys Wear Black. From here on in, big Chuck was on a role delivering a kick-ass action film annually and making a name for himself as America's action hero.
At times, its like watching an episode of Cagney and Lacey - but that's not a bad thing of course. As with all his films, Chuck's soft talking but genuine performance as the martial artist brought in to help the police find a killer, is refreshing to see compared to what we get with most Hollywood modern action heroes who are normally loud, angry and swearing all over the place.
There was something genuine with most actors - main roles or not - from this era. They could act! Even the worst ones still came across better than most extras and bit-players in today's blockbusters. Director Paul Aaron doesn't do too bad with his second feature film project. At the time of production, he was stepfather to a certain Keanu Reeves, who had reportedly encouraged him to take on the project as a fan of martial arts movies...
Well known character actor, Clu Gulager plays the chief of police, making the most out of every scene he gets - over-acting in style as we've seen him do many times before in Return Of The Living Dead, A Nightmare On Elm Street 2, and any amount of classic TV shows from the 70's and 80's. Superfly, Ron O'Neal, gets some great moments as one of the cops helping Norris and O'Neill who, incidentally, doesn't do too bad herself!
While its not the fastest paced film ever, it never lulls too much to bore. I was never a huge fan of the early Chuck Norris films in my teen years - hypnotised by the wonders of Hong Kong cinema respectively - but I have to say, I'm enjoying going back to see them after all these years. The fights aren't overly spectacular compared to what was coming out from the East at the same time, but they pass the time alright.
Bill 'Superfoot' Wallace gets his first starring role, getting to show his stuff in and out of the ring and obviously getting a big finale with Chuck. It's nothing compared to his fights in 1985's The Protector - and even more so, the re-shot fights Jackie did for the Hong Kong version - but its good to see him in action (and with hair).
A Force Of One is hardly one of the greatest action thrillers of all time, but it is a good watch and simple entertainment. For me, watching it on this VTC unrated VHS just adds to experience, but I wouldn't say no to a widescreen HD version. I'd say it was most definitely the inspiration behind the fun martial arts project, Bloodmoon, starring Gary Daniels and Chuck Jefferys from 1997...
Overall: As to be expected with Hollywood's late seventies cinema, A Force Of One still passes the time today and isn't all that bad!
- Feb 10, 2020