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Can you go wrong with ninjas, Chuck Norris and Lee Van Cleef?
lost-in-limbo29 January 2007
Scott James a retired martial arts champion gets caught up in a complicated web involving a wealthy heiress trying to hire him for an assassination job that includes an international terrorist group of ninjas and their training ground called 'The Octagon'. Who's actually led by his brother, turned nemesis from his youthful days. His friend A.J. takes up the offer of the job, but Scott does he best to convince him out of it. Although he finds himself stuck in it, when A.J. goes after the group. Along the way he gets help from an old friend/work buddy McCarn.

Whenever you got a ninja problem, Chuck Norris is your man. Though, I take it you already know that and will be relishing in every sequence involving Norris putting his boot into some ninjas. He's here to punish those who abuse their ninja abilities. It's too bad that many of those moments are very few and far between. As Norris wants to play detective, have flashbacks of his past, go for job interviews and constantly listen to his pondering voice in his head. And what's with the echoing lisp to it… I couldn't stop myself from laughing whenever he decided to take some time out to express his thoughts… in his head. Just brilliant! Only Norris could pull it off with such grace, ha-ha! This bizarre aspect only enhanced the unusualness and hazy cloud that formed amongst the over-populated material. I never thought I'll be saying this about a Norris film, but it has too much going on in the story and this makes it feel rather drawn out when its not shoving in those crackerjack martial art sequences. Otherwise with so much going on and it never truly being clear. From that it manages to rally up many random revelations and plot developments. Despite this its still a corn riddled outing on Norris' behalf and the junky script only goes on to prove it. The stupidity, machismo and ninja talk features rather heavily… to heavily in the woodenly talkative script.

This is one of Norris earlier features and one of his first lead roles. He's pretty much leaden in his acting abilities on this occasion (they gave him too much dialogues, when he should been kicking ass and having fun with it), but he would go on to hone down that charismatic appeal and personality he holds so greatly in the films that followed on. Or am I the only one of a few who thinks that? I find his presence to be far more engaging when his in more action-oriented roles that ask for some slight wit along the way. Anyhow this was probably made to turn him into the next American martial arts star, which would take him to Hollywood for even bigger roles. Oh no, that didn't entirely happen and he did get into some b-grade action flicks that flooded the 80s with the odd occasional big flick (Invasion USA, Delta Force). His acting is passable as a reluctant, but I must do it for the team Scott James, but when it came to the action. Those alert senses were brisk and flashy. When the film finally kicks into gear (in the latter end), up pops the very well choreographed and swiftly executed fight sequences capably directed by Eric Karson. Those final two fight scenes are a real blast. Too bad he couldn't get the pacing of the whole film to be like that, as it's downright sluggish for most part. Making up the rest of the performances is the wittily badass Lee Van Cleef (who steals the few scenes he's in) as the sneaky underhand McCern who feeds Scott with information he needs. Karen Carlson is horrible. Best leave it at that. Art Hindle is reasonable as Scott's go-getter friend A.J. Tadashi Yamashita nails down that venomously vile turn as Scott's brother Seigura. An elegantly biting Carol Bagdasarian turns up as a trainee terrorist who wants to make amends. Also in tiny, but potent parts are Jack Carter, Ernie Hudson and Richard Norton. The gloomily cheap b-grade production pretty much looks it. The lighting comes across as poorly dim and editing is quite haggard, but the beaming music score and stylishly vogue camera-work are competently suited into the picture.

A mildly amusing (and at times unintentionally rib-tickling) offering, but it just takes too long break out of it chains and the flat-nature to begin with for some might just be too hard to overcome. Really Chuck Norris' fans need only apply.
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In a world of choices, there is no choice…Chuck Norris must face THE OCTAGON.
HarryLags18 October 2016
The Octagon's premise is simple. Chuck Norris vs Ninjas. That's really about it. Norris is Scott James, a man haunted by memories of his growing up and rivalry with his former martial art brother Seikura, who now heads a Ninja training camp and is teaching international terrorists the ways of the Ninja. James must stop the organization and face off, once and for all, with his former brother.

There's little in the way of story, and sadly the film takes it's time in getting to the point where Norris finally takes out the Ninja trash. Like a lot of his movies, the lack of much plot means the film moves pretty slowly between the action. When the action does kick in, it's quite impressive. The real standout though is Norris infiltrating the Ninja base in the film's climax. It's classic Norris.

The cast are okay. Lee Van Cleef and Richard Norton pop up in small roles, Richard Norton actually has a few different roles here.

I would have rated it an 8 out of 10 if there was a bit more action in the middle half of the film. For the most part, only Chuck Norris and ninja fans will get the most out of THE OCTAGON (1980).

Overall worth watching..7 out of 10
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Octagon Of Death
videorama-759-85939114 December 2019
This one just joins that line of Chuck no brainers, but seriously, The Octagon isn't a badly made film at all. It takes itself too seriously, where chop suey kickarse action, takes a backseat between long bores and snores for some, and you can see it that way, but the serious element, only enhances the quality. The Octagon does have a few things going for it, like the extra hot Karen Carlson, a beauty who just sizzles up the screen, and enlists help of badarse bodyguard, Chuck, who doesn't put in a half bad performance, but there's still that stoic acting seeping through, and is outweighed by better actors and performances like Carlson's, and Art Hindle's, but Chuck holds his own. Hindle (Porky's) who plays Chuck's best buddy, AJ, is a real engaging reck-loose, fly off the handle character, and gives the downplayed movie, the buzz it needs. Carlson is on a personal mission of revenge, sort of using Chuck, who's mission here, hits a little too personal, as involving former family members. The Octagon is kind of patchy too, not a total clear path of story, and action fans, will fare better, renting many other Chuck flicks. Some quite heavy blood spilling violence, early in the peace, and again Lee Van Cleef is wasted as Chuck's former protegee, an old buzzard with an iron will, and is underused here. What's bloody annoying here, is the unnecessary use of Chuck's echoing voice overs, that echo that annoyance, I got out of all those QT'S unnecessary V.O'S. in Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. Here, it just adds self consciousness, and amateur feel, and this flick is a little self conscious. Watch out for fine character actor, Tracey Walter in a scene stealing cameo. Regardless of it's faults and it's restrained, short sheeted volume of action,The Octagon still warrants a viewing, especially Chuck fans, but sexy lass Carlson in that fur coat, a chick with class (Two Marriages) will remain imprinted in memory. Don't believe the way over hype about the end fight. It was saggy, and in no way memorable, like Carlson.
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Cheap and dialogue-heavy.
gridoon6 December 2002
Whether you can take this film or not will depend on your tolerance for B-movies. The production is very cheap (to the point that you can barely see anything during the night scenes), and the plot is pretty vague (Is Chuck Norris playing a mercenary? An anti-terrorist expert? A former karate champion? All three?), and the fact that we can often hear his thoughts in echoing voice-over doesn't make it any more lucid. But Norris is better than usual here (at least better than anyone else in the cast), and his fighting moves are as sharp as ever. (**)
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Chuck Norris show with a lot of noisy action , thrills , intrigue and violent combats
ma-cortes20 November 2013
In a world of choices, for one man there is no choice , a hero named Scott James/Chuck Norris must face The Octagon . A martial artist expert (Chuck Norris who sports a bushy mustache in this fourth starring role in a cinema movie of action) must defeat a plan by ninjas to create a worldwide training camp for terrorists . Scott later becomes drawn closer to a vicious crime ring known as The Octagon ruled by Seikira (Yamashita) . Along the way Scott James is helped by Justine (Karen Carlson) , McCarn (Lee Van Cleef) and A. J. (Art Hindle) . At the end takes place a breathtaking combat in arena , an "octagonal training compound of the Ninja cult, a school for terrorists of all types" (the set had a 12' foot perimeter wall and was built north of Los Angeles at a location known as Indian Dunes and spanned the size of an American football field) .

Action star Chuck Norris in this exciting picture filled with thrills , tension , suspense and violent as well as spectacular fights with high Body Count : 40 . The movie displays a plethora of martial arts fights , as Norris cleans up the nasty fighters by means of punches , kicks , bounds and leaps with struggles certainly slick . It's violent, frenetic and hectic and not particularly literary but worthy entry in Kung-Fu genre , although runs out energy surprisingly early . Average Norris-thriller , moving and tense at times with fine fight-work from Norris , Yamashita and Richard Norton . Impressive and fierce combats , as Chuck Norris kills eleven bad guys and beats up another twenty-one of them . The film belongs Norris's early period , during the 80s such as : ¨Code of silence¨ ,¨Delta Force¨ ,¨Silent rage¨ , ¨Forced vengeance¨, ¨Delta Force¨ I,II , ¨An eye for an eye¨ , among others with successful box office at cinemas and video-rentals . In the 90s and 2000s with exception of ¨Walker Texas Ranger¨, the Norris star has gone down .

Fighting Stars Magazine ranked the climactic fight between Chuck Norris and Tadashi Yamashita as #13 on their list of the 25 greatest fight scenes of all time . A few years after this film was made and released, the word 'Octagon' later became in 1983 the name of a caged enclosure used by mixed martial arts matches and the Ultimate Fighting Championship . Nice production design , cost approximately US $200,000 to blow-up "The Octagon" major arena and fortress set. This was cheaper and more cost efficient than dismantling and disassembling the gigantic construction and taking it away to the dump . First major Ninja picture of the 1980s popular ninja movie cycle which was first released in the 1980 year before Enter the Ninja in 1981 , the 1967 You Only Live Twice and Sam Peckinpah's 1977 film The Killer elite had both previously featured ninja characters . Thrilling screenplay by Paul Aaron , in fact the movie's finale was re-written to make the climax of the film a much bigger pay-off .

The movie featured three members of the Norris family in acting roles. These were Chuck Norris , Aaron Norris, and Chuck Norris' character of Scott James at eighteen years of age was portrayed by his real life son Mike Norris . Actor Richard Norton played dual roles in this movie , though he is completely mute and never speaks for the entire picture ; Norton portrayed both the characters of Longlegs and Seikura's enforcer Kyo . The motion picture was regularly directed by Erik Karson . This was debut theatrical feature film directed by Karson , an expert on thrillers and action movies . Action addicts will give this one a passing grade ,all others need not apply . If you're a previous Norris fans ,you'll appeal it but contains enough action and violence for enthusiastic of the Karate genre .
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Not top-tier Chuck, but not as bad as some people say.
Hey_Sweden8 February 2014
It's true that it may not appeal to martial arts movie lovers across the board because it actually has quite an involved, twisty plot and is going to be too slowly paced for some. There's not much in the way of action until the big finish. Still, for an undemanding B action picture, this viewer found the production values to be reasonably good, and there are some fine performances among the supporting cast. What lends "The Octagon" a high amount of unintentional hilarity is Chuck's overdone internal dialogue, all done with an exaggerated echo effect.

Chuck stars as Scott James, a former fighter with bad memories, particularly of growing up with a hostile adoptive brother, Seikura (Tadashi Yamashita), who as an adult is now running a training camp for terrorists. A beautiful young heiress, Justine (Karen Carlson), wants revenge against Seikura because her father was one of Seikura's victims, and tries to hire Scott for her purposes. Scott isn't too happy that somebody would try to use him, and doesn't particularly want to get involved, but eventually realizes that he must.

This is boosted to a degree by the engaging presence of Lee Van Cleef, who's a gas as an anti-terrorism expert / old friend of Scott's. Art Hindle ("Black Christmas" '74, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" '78) co-stars as Scott's buddy A.J., who makes a mistake in getting interested in a cause and gets in over his head. Sexy Carol Bagdasarian, daughter of composer / songwriter / actor Ross B., plays Aura, a terrorist-in-training who experiences a change of heart. Kim Lankford ("Malibu Beach") is likable during her brief screen time. B movie legend Richard Norton makes his film debut in two credited roles and several uncredited ones as faceless ninjas. (He's joked that he must have died a total of eight times in this movie.) And keep an eye out for people such as Brian Libby (whose next screen role was as Chuck's psycho nemesis in "Silent Rage"), Jack Carter, Ernie Hudson, Chuck's son Mike who plays Scott as a teenager, and an uncredited Tracey Walter.

Good production design (by James L. Schoppe), cinematography (by Michel Hugo), and music (by Dick Halligan) help to make this a decent if unexceptional bit of entertainment. Chuck, as always, fares much better when kicking ass than when simply acting, but he still makes for a formidable hero. And the snarling Yamashita is a worthy bad guy. Some viewers may be amused to note how brutal the violence is at times.

Overall, this is fun enough to watch.

Seven out of 10.
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One of Norris's more interesting films
shmucking19 June 2016
Has a more complicated plot than most of his films, with more subplots than usual gradually merging together, and an effective inter-cutting between Norris and the Ninja training camp. Particularly effective are the initial scenes with Norris and Karen Carlson. They have a good rapport and her getting him to come back to her house has a mysterious, intriguing quality. Carol Bagdasarian is particularly beautiful, too. The main criticisms are that the women all seem to immediately fall in love with Norris, and he also is way too quick in winning all the Ninjas that he's fighting towards the end. However, Lee Van Cleef brings a certain authority to his scenes, and Norris delivers a better performance than usual. One of his better films.
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"Karen Carlson implodes across the screen as Chuck mutters to himself like a psych ward patient !!"
lemon_magic6 August 2005
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 HIMSELF...over and over again. You just aren't supposed to do this,'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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It is in fact a reasonable Chuck movie.
tarbosh220005 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Scott James (Chuck) is a man who looks spiffy on the outside (he wears a pretty sweet tuxedo) but seems to have a lot of turmoil on the inside. Not only is he constantly flashing back to his childhood and his initial Martial Arts training (the young Scott is played by Mike Norris), but the voices in his head are overpowering and seem to tell him important things. All this is going to come in handy when Scott James faces off against perhaps the ultimate foe: terrorist ninjas. Yes, terrorist ninjas. While protecting a woman named Justine (Carlson) from said TerNin's - which he does with the help of mentor McCarn (Van Cleef) - he realizes the true depth of what he's up against. The nefarious group trains in an octagon-shaped facility, and their organization is named...The Octagon. Will Scott James triumph over these squares? Find out today! While The Octagon contains no cage fighting, or Punchfighting of any kind, it is in fact a reasonable Chuck movie. It's not bad, but it's not great either. By today's standards, the pace might be too slow for some viewers, and at 104 minutes it's certainly on the long side. But what else would you expect from director Karson, who later was responsible for Van Damme dud Black Eagle (1988)? But the cast perhaps makes up for it. Besides the aforementioned Norrises, and of course the legendary Lee Van Cleef, we have Tadashi Yamashita of Sword of Heaven (1985) fame, whose hair steals his own performance out from under him. The great Gerald Okamura has a brief role as a member of The Octagon, as does John Fujioka, and John Barrett does stunts as well as a small role. There's even a young Ernie Hudson on board as a fighter. As is usual for a Chuck movie, Aaron Norris was stunt coordinator, and besides doing stunts, Richard Norton has a nice appearance as a baddie who gets in a fight with Chuck.

Norton's hair and mustache combo look awesome, and his blonde bowl haircut is so bright, it actually lights an entire dark scene all on its own. But back to Chuck, this movie definitely belongs to the era in his acting career where his performances were noticeably, obviously wooden. Or, WoodChuck for short. But beyond the fact that this is a WoodChuck movie, at least you can hear his thoughts, which is enlightening. There's a passing mention that Scott James was a Vietnam vet, and the baddies' training camp is seems like a dry run for the later American Ninja (1985) - which would also reunite Norton, Yamashita and Fujioka.
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So bad, it's good
Elbow1 June 1999
The Octagon on the surface is just another in a long line of not-so-great Chuck Norris karate pictures. But wait; there are differences.

Admittedly the quality of production is poor, but the addition of ninja assassins as chief antagonists was interesting. It should have intrigued us, but the film was just not meant to be great. The most entertaining aspect of the film is Chuck Norris' voice over narration of his thoughts. His voice echoes in whisper whenever he thinks of anything. This element may have been meant to be mysterious, but obviously it was just another part of the movie that may have swayed the viewer into thinking this was a comedy. This movie is at best described as a guilty pleasure, or something to watch on a night when you can't get to sleep. But for sarcastically humored people, or just undemanding viewers, The Octagon is fun to watch.
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Mommy, can I please go to Ninja Training camp this summer?
Coventry20 July 2021
There's nothing else in the universe of cinema that looks and sounds so cool, but is - in fact - as dreadfully boring as "ninjas". Seriously, the only remotely worthwhile concept I can link to ninjas is that of a bunch of turtles living in the sewers, but everything else with ninjas I ever watched is pure nonsense; - including this hopelessly dull and inept Chuck Norris vehicle. "The Octagon" is an overly ambitious, needlessly convoluted and substantially void piece of waste. There are a whole lot of meaningless supportive characters and far too many lame sub plots, but basically the plot simply revolves around one aspect: Norris facing his childhood buddy with whom he went through the long ninja training, but who eventually betrayed him and became his enemy. That guy - Seikura - now runs a clandestine training camp for aspiring terrorists. Great actors, like Lee Van Cleef, are aimlessly wandering about whilst Norris' supposedly integer performance is really poor. There are many irritating details about "The Octagon", but the one thing that annoyed me the most was Norris' constant and pointless brain-narrations. His head whispers to itself, and the stuff he wonders about are not at all interesting.
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worth watching for the fight scenes
disdressed124 May 2010
i rather enjoyed this Chuck Norris vehicle.the fight scenes are pretty well done,and the y are a quite few of them.the acting is is good enough for the genre.the story isn't anything special,but it works for the genre.the one thing that did irk me,though was the stupid echoing voice over whenever we were subjected to Norris's character's inner thoughts.the effect came across as stupid and cheesy in my would just take me out of the movie. i wouldn't say it was bad enough to to lower my rating on the film.but it was distracting,and wasn't necessary.other than that though,it wasn't that bad.if you can get around that one annoying factor,then i'd recommend the movie.for me,The Octagon is a 6/10
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Too bad the first hour is so dull
bensonmum214 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The plot in The Octagon hardly matters. Trying to follow the nuances of the story is enough to give you a headache. The plot deals with a lost brother, ninja training, a woman who has something to do with a group of terrorists, and some other hokum. It makes little sense. But that's not why people watch movies like The Octagon. The main purpose of the movie is to see Chuck Norris fight a bunch of ninjas.

I recently revisited Norris' A Force of One. Chuck's acting improved dramatically between the time he made that movie and the time he made The Octagon. He still had that unnatural style of delivery, but there was improvement there nonetheless.

The big problem with The Octagon, though, isn't the acting – it's the complete lack of anything interesting. The first hour or so is, in a word, boring. Nothing much happens. Chuck spends most of the time, like the audience, just trying to figure out what's going on. I don't think he was any more successful than I was.
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Oh well...
kerottes13 May 2002
It was one of those nights. I had slept till about...late that day, and thus, my brain was functioning at a very high level, higher than the average 2 in the morning brain at least. I turn to the television for comfort, as i usually do when my friends have all left me, and I'm alone and sad. Amazed I find there's nothing worth watching as I flip through the 4 non-cable-TV channels in my room. The sadness and grudge towards my friends fades away as the opening scenes of The Octagon jump in my face. At this point, I'm wide awake and thrilled. "At least it's good for a few laughs".

And it was. The plot is fascinating:

Chuck's character was adopted by some Ninja master, and a rivalry is born between Chuck and his new fathers son, Seikura. When Seikura cheats in a race between the two, and thus dishonors the whole family, he is vanished by his father.

We meet Chuck's character Scott James, some sort of mercenary. Seikura is now training terrorists in some camp in South-America. And so the plot thickens.

As the end draws near I am vast asleep. The Octagon has served its purpose and dozed me into dreamland. Never mind the sandman. As long as Chuck's around, there's no need to fear insomnia!
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Not bad Norris vehicle ( says I in a whispering tone)
coltras358 October 2021
Scott James, a veteran martial arts expert, is recruited as the protector of the wealthy and beautiful Justine after she becomes the target of a ninja clan. When Scott finds out that his ruthless arch-nemesis, McCarn , is involved with the stealthy and dangerous criminals, he is eager to settle old scores. Soon Scott is facing off against McCarn and the entire ninja horde in an effort to take them all down.

Chuck Norris takes on the ninjas in this well-choreographed martial arts film that is full of mysticism, whispering words in Norris' character's mind and an air of menace, especially when Seikura ( the chief villain and the protagonist's half brother ) and his enforcer Kyo are in the picture, however it can be very talky, slow and dullish at times, but with repeat viewing it has grown on me and it has gone up in my estimation. And that finale twenty minutes where Chuck Norris enters the training camp, fights the ninja and takes on Kyo - Seikura's enforcer - is brilliant - the fight between Norris and Kyo is well-choreographed, energetic and exciting.

Overall, it's far from the worst Norris film (Firewalker, Invasion USA, and Hitman are the contenders for that), and it's quite intriguing and watchable. Plus there's Lee Van Cleef, who is always reliably great.
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Part of the 10 year window where Chuck was on a role
damianphelps26 February 2021
What works for me here is the atmosphere and the mystery they put into the Ninja aspects of the story.

I've always had a romantic soft spot for Ninjas (sounds weird I know) but I still feel that they are a character that has yet to be captured successfully. The Octagon does a good job of building the mystique although some of the action is a little stilted, which was the style of the time.

Chuck is still a little wooden (probably still recovering from the Bruce Lee beat down) but I'm not watching this to make comparisons to Pacino!

Its a great late night movie!
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It grows on you...
Gislef21 July 1999
...after the 500th repeat on TBS. It involves Norris in his best non-acting minimalist role. But Lee Van Cleef is having a grand ole time hamming it up in a role which seems to have nothing to do with anything. Basically, it boils down to a set piece to A) feature ninjas (they were big in the early 80's), and B) feature martial arts sequences. And...well, it features a lot of ninjas.

The plot seems to have something to do with ninja training terrorists in some kind of summer camp for bad boys. And the head ninja has killed someone in Chuckie's past. Or...something. It's hard to tell, really. Chuck does so little "investigating" that it's hard to figure out what's going on. Nothing really leads to anything.

The martial arts sequences are pretty fun, although you kinda wonder why ninjas (and just some of them) are running in grey robes like oversized Jawas. The main bad-ass ninja is pretty cool, and wields a mean pair of sai. And the main antagonist wields a mean pair of scythes (or whatever they're called - the Japanese term escapes me).

But basically, Octagon is an early Norris showcase. He gets a lot of whispery flashbacks (probably the inspiration for that Airplane bit where Robert Hayes hears baseball announcers in his head), but is pretty much humorless. He does get a couple of cool fight sequences, though, so give it a looksee.
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Norris vs. Ninja
sveknu27 November 2005
Personally, I wouldn't say that this is an action movie. It's more of a thriller. The movie is in fact really slow and a bit boring most of the time. The decent action doesn't kick in until just before the end. If it hadn't been for that scene, this movie wouldn't have got more than 3 stars from me. But since the last scene was pretty good, I give it a 6. Just remember that this is an Chuck Norris-movie. Norris isn't exactly the best martial arts actor, he hasn't got any spectacular moves and I get a little tired watching him wear the same type of jeans in almost every movie. There are a bunch of ninjas in the movie. The movie tried to establish them as skilled and feared fighters, but it didn't succeed with that.
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One of the best fight scenes in a martial arts flick
nickchang78016 May 2005
The fight scene inside the Octagon between Scott James (Norris) and Kyo the Enforcer (Norton) is one of the most impressive and best choreographed fight scenes I have ever seen in any martial arts flick. No wire works, nor special camera shots...just one fluid scene of swift exchanges of blows combining Katana sword play and hand to hand combat between two badasses. This scene is perhaps the next most memorable Chuck Norris fight scene, besides him duking it out with Bruce Lee in 'Return of the Dragon'.

I'm not a big Chuck Norris fan, but I consider 'The Octagon' Norris at his best.
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Making money for the ninja school
bkoganbing22 February 2018
Chuck Norris fans and martial art film fans in general will love The Octagon. He seems to be going for a record number of casualties in dispensing bad guys in this one.

As seems to be usual for occidental actors in these films Norris was adopted by a ninja master who raised him as his own and after his blood kin disgraced him in competition with young Norris kicked him out.

Now the ninja school is being used to train mercenaries and terrorists and the rules there are mighty strict. Counter terrorism honcho Lee Van Cleef wants to put them out of business. But Norris has to have and gets a personal reason for getting the job done.

A little bit of Eugene O'Neill's self analysis and introspection dialog is done by Norris in voice overs. Believe me it worked a lot better in Strange Interlude.

Enough action for any martial arts fan here.
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An awfully dull film with a pretty good action climax
Leofwine_draca6 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Previously to this film, the only other Chuck Norris movie that I'd viewed from this period had been AN EYE FOR AN EYE. This was a fast-paced action movie, with lots of martial arts and even the added bonus of having Christopher Lee as a villain. I automatically assumed this film was a typical early '80s Chuck Norris movie, and that others from the period would be the same. As I had enjoyed it a lot, I immediately bought this two-for-one tape containing THE OCTAGONand A FORCE OF ONE. I sat down, looking forward to a fun night's viewing...and the rest is outlined below. I can only hope that A FORCE OF ONE is more enjoyable.

THE OCTAGON is a very dumb, poorly-made action movie. Among the worst I've ever watched, at least up until the action climax. I consider myself as having a high tolerance for rubbish of this variety, but even I have to draw a line somewhere. Maybe it's just the transfer I have, but THE OCTAGON suffers from poor picture quality (so it's difficult to see what's going on) and terrible sound volume. You know, when you can't hear what they're saying but when you turn it up a loud action scene comes on blaring out and you have to turn it down again.

The confusing plot starts off with a murder occurring for no apparent reason, with Norris conveniently hanging around to fight off the assailants. The screen is 90% black here, so it's impossible to make out much of what's going on. We learn about a secret training centre in the woods, run by an old Chinese guy and another man who really, really wants to be Bruce Lee. One guy who tries to leave dies when a shuriken is thrown through his neck. This doesn't have much to do with the rest of the plot, though.

Unfortunately for us, Norris meets and falls in with a female.. reporter? I can't even remember who or what she is as she serves no purpose. Also hanging around is a barely-used Lee Van Cleef, complete with an earring, who runs a squad of vigilante killers. Van Cleef doesn't even appear in many of this film's action sequences, and his role is a completely extraneous one. Eventually, after what seems like an eternity, Norris goes undercover to infiltrate the ninjas. He then travels to their base and takes all of them on, causing a revolt at the same time.

Well what this movie has is cheap-looking sets, stupid music, and poor acting from the entire cast. Van Cleef looks to be slumming it, Carlson is clumsy and irritating as the female lead, and Norris is his usual wooden self (never thought I'd see an actor who makes Steven Seagal look animated). A character (Norris' partner) who has been hiding around in the background for the entire movie suddenly decides to take justice into his own hands at the end and gets slaughtered. The action throughout the film is fairly typical, nothing to get excited about. It's not even that violent. It's worth watching out for one hilarious scene which has a ninja killer abseiling down a brick wall getting shot and falling to the bottom. The way they filmed it makes it a priceless moment and had me in stitches.

Now, the only worthwhile part of this movie is the last twenty minutes, so if you have the misfortune to rent or buy this, fast-forward until here. The ending sees Norris infiltrating the enemy base and fighting a hundred or so ninjas. It's great, it really is. One guy gets kicked in a fire but still tries to fight Norris, burning all the while. They all use these fancy weapons but none of them are a match for Norris' deadly hands and feet. Eventually he has to fight the Bruce Lee-wannabe leader, who just happens to be his estranged brother too. You can guess what happens. In these last twenty minutes, the body count is quite high and there's a lot of action, death, and explosions to enjoy. Sadly these cannot make up for the monumental dullness that the rest of the film has to offer. Avoid it like the plague.
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This film is awful
mm-395 March 2002
Well, I do not rate too many films a 1, but this film sure is. I did not like anything about this film. Bad story, and the acting is not as bad as with some of the other Noris movie, but its not that good, and the ending too is awful. Well, its hard to sit through this one. Avoid at all costs.
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Chuck Norris's Best Movie
tkdlifemagazine16 April 2022
This is the pinnacle of Chuck Norris's film career. This movie combines a good story with great action. It has been imitated many times but never equaled. Norris goes undercover to discover whether Ninjas are real and to uncover their plot. This borrowers from many Asian films but proved that Hollywood could do high level martial arts films if it tried. Richard Norton is the masked Villain and he is great. I just saw this recently and it really heard up.
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Norris and Ninjas? Excellent
gavin694226 March 2013
A martial artist (Chuck Norris) must defeat a plan by ninjas to create a worldwide training camp for terrorists.

Art Hindle's hair is the star of this film. If you think the star is Norris, you are sadly mistaken. Hindle is not appreciated enough -- great guy, awesome in "Brood" and "Body Snatchers"... and here his hair is pretty epic.

But I suppose Chuck Norris is alright (even if his hair is also a bit off in this film, and he looks awkward with a mustache). I still find the whole concept of "ninja terrorists" to be pretty amusing. Not sure exactly how those two things blend together...
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