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Scott's life is plagued by two kinds of flashbacks. First are the childhood memories of the rigorous training he and a friend endured under a martial arts master. The second is of a mission Scott went on that ended with him watching his friend get murdered. Scott later becomes drawn closer to a vicious crime ring known as The Octagon. As he gets closer to the truth, Scott learns that these may be the men that murdered his friend so long ago.Written by
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"Karen Carlson implodes across the screen as Chuck mutters to himself like a psych ward patient !!"
I just can't see this as a review excerpt - it wouldn't draw a lot of viewers - but it sums up "The Octagon" pretty well.
I actually would have rated this movie much lower, but the final 20 minutes, where Chuck invades the Ninja training camp and confronts his 'brother' almost saves the film. ALMOST.
Aside from Lee Van Clief, Chuck Norris is the best actor in the film, which ought to set off warning bells in your head. Chuck does his usual stoic, quiet-spoken tough guy shtick here. He at least isn't actively annoying as an actor, and he still can move impressively when the time comes for a martial arts smack down. (One thing you can say for Norris, he did improve somewhat as an actor, and by the time 'Code Of Silence' appeared some years after this, he was considerably more expressive.) However, the screenwriter and director apparently never passed Screen Writing 101, because they make poor Chuck narrate almost every scene with intrusive whispered voice-overs (in a layered echo effect, no less) where he endlessly explains his moral dilemmas and his anguish and anger at his estranged brother...to HIMSELF...over and over again. You just aren't supposed to do this, people...you're supposed to SHOW the viewer what's going on, not TELL and TELL and TELL and TELL the viewer.
Also, nothing against Karen Carlson personally, but at this stage in her career, she was one of the worst actresses alive. We are talking 'Hayden Christianson in Star Wars II' bad. To call her performance here 'wooden and stiff' is to insult the concepts of 'wooden' and 'stiff'. Some of this probably isn't actually her fault - she is plays an extremely contrived character with some really awful lines that she has to deliver with a straight face. I kept telling myself this, but it didn't help - every scene she was in made me want to drive to her house and leave a flaming bag of dog poop on her front porch.
There are serious pacing problems here, too. There are moments here and there where something exciting starts to happen, but these moments are smothered in endless, tedious scenes where people stand around and emote at each other. Even the early scenes set in the ninja terrorist training camp, which were probably meant to engage the viewer and keep the interest up, bog down in stupid inane dialog and exposition.
But, as other reviewers have mentioned, things perk up considerably in the last bit, which actually has suspense, atmosphere, and drama. In fact, it is obvious that the last 20 minutes of the film was the real point of the film, and that everything before it was just puffery and exposition. Too bad the whole movie couldn't have been like this, but I suppose that watching 2 hours of Chuck Norris infiltrating a Ninja camp would have been like playing "Metal Gear Solid" without a controller.
3.5 stars out of 10.
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