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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Silent Rage (1982)

"Science created him. Now Chuck Norris must destroy him."
- Tagline

Review By: Daniel Hirshleifer   
Published: December 18, 2001

Stars: Chuck Norris, Ron Silver, Toni Kalem
Other Stars: Steven Keats, Brian Libby, Stephen Furst
Director: Michael Miller

MPAA Rating: R for (violence, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:40m:20s
Release Date: December 04, 2001
UPC: 043396052772
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
F FD+C- D-

DVD Review

The blurb on the back on the DVD case claims that this is Chuck Norris' first suspense thriller. I mistook that to mean it was Chuck Norris' first film. Had it been Norris' first film, I surely could have forgiven the filmmakers, for how could they know what they were getting into? But since Norris had been making films for years, I can't excuse this tremendous waste of celluloid. Chuck Norris may be a six-time World Karate Champion, but that doesn't mean he makes a good movie star, and just because he's not a good movie star doesn't mean his movies have camp value. His films, Silent Rage included, seem to me to have no point. A movie like Rush Hour 2 has better fighting sequences, even Death Before Dishonor has better action than this.

As the movie opens, a mentally disturbed man name John Kirby (Brian Libby) goes on a rampage and kills several people with an axe (in a scene lifted directly from The Shining, sometimes even using the same exact shots). Sheriff Dan Stevens (Norris) is called in to apprehend the killer. Kirby is apprehended, but then amazingly breaks his handcuffs and attempts an escape, where he is shot several times. He is rushed to a private clinic where his doctors, Dr. Tom Halman (Ron Silver), Dr. Philip Spires (Steven Keats), and Dr. Paul Vaughn (William Finley) work on him. As it turns out, these doctors are working on an experimental serum that will give people incredible healing powers. Spires and Vaughn decide to use it on the near-dead Kirby, despite the protestations of Halman. The serum works wonders, healing all of Kirby's wounds. But Halman's fears worsen, as Kirby gets stronger and he remembers how volatile he was before. Meanwhile, Stevens fights with a biker gang and falls in love with Halman's sister, Alison (Toni Kalem) all over again.

The first thing you might notice about that plot synopsis is how tangentially linked Stevens is to the rest of the story. He's dating Halman's sister, and shot Kirby in the beginning. It's like watching two movies. The first movie deals with these scientists and their moral concerns, and the other is a typical Chuck Norris action film. Why we need to see an entire subplot about a rowdy biker gang is a good question. It does nothing to further the story. All it does is allow Norris to show off his fighting skills. In the end, when Norris goes against Kirby, it's really because he happens to be there. The script really doesn't try hard to connect Stevens and Kirby in a way that makes the audience care. In fact, in some scenes, I found myself saying "I don't care," out loud, to the television screen.

Even if the story tried to make the audience care, the acting pretty much assures that they won't. Chuck Norris is so amazingly flat you'd think he's roadkill. Kirby is supposed to be emotionless, but that doesn't mean it's fun to watch. Toni Kalem plays every cliché in the book, from brainless love interest to brainless damsel in distress. Only Ron Silver comes out looking good, because he's just an entertaining guy to watch.

Finally, the directing is just terrible. In addition to The Shining rip-off, there are scenes that echo other movies you may have seen (the ending will surely remind you of Carrie). The action sequences are a joke; not an iota of excitement is to be found in any of them. When Norris beats up the biker gang, the director decides to play it for laughs. When he fights Kirby, the directing style is as follows: Medium shot of Kirby looking wary, cut to medium shot of Stevens looking wary. Extreme close-up on Kirby's eyes, and then an extreme close-up of Stevens' eyes. Medium shot of a few exchanged blows, and repeat the formula. It gets tiring quickly, just like the rest of the film.

Rating for Style: F
Rating for Substance: F


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - P&S
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: This is a spotty transfer. The usual rule is that the interiors look good, while the exteriors look terrible. There is one particular exterior shot, where behind Norris all you can see is grain, with some specks of sky visible. That is an extreme case, however, and the rest of the transfer doesn't look so bad. However, the opening looks washed out, while some of the darker scenes are muddy. Overall, the well-lit interior scenes look good.

Image Transfer Grade: D+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is a serviceable 2.0 mix. There is some hiss apparent, but overall you can hear all the voices, sound effects, and score clearly. The dialogue fares the worst of the three, as it sometimes sounds faded.

Audio Transfer Grade: C-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Bad Boys, Desperado, The Professional
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
2-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Trailers for Bad Boys, Desperado, and The Professional, but not for the film itself.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

Don't waste your time on this. I can't even recommend it for good karate fighting. If you want kung-fu, go to Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan or Jet Li. Chuck Norris just doesn't cut it.


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