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Silent Rage

It would be easy to compare Chuck Norris to Steven Seagal as both had their best movies directed by Andrew Davis (Code of Silence, Under Siege), but perhaps it's more interesting to consider the B-grade action heroes as little more than male porn stars. There's the extremely limited acting range; the fan-base that somehow escapes the mainstream; the macho kung-fu theatrics; and the fact that, when these actors try to work outside of their genre, it becomes that much more clear just how limited their talents are. Silent Rage (1982) finds Norris leaning away from his martial-arts background, and failing miserably. He plays Dan Stephens, the sheriff of a small Texas town with a medical facility that performs genetic experiments. When Sheriff Stephens has to take out psychopath John Kirby (Brian Libby), the criminal winds up in the hospital where — the horror — he receives an experimental drug that gives him amazing regenerative powers. Once Kirby is loose, neither firearms nor car accidents can stop him — only the taste of steel delivered via Norris's cowboy boot to his ass. Directed by Michael Miller, Silent Rage seems a combination of popular horror sequels like Halloween 2 and the Friday the 13th series, as well as Norris's martial-arts films. The baddie murders his victims in true slasher-style (with a roaming Stedicam), while Norris treads familiar ground (with a barroom brawl), and he's even saddled with a lovable but ultimately doomed fat sidekick (Stephen Furst). But despite his martial-arts skills, Norris never makes for much of a leading man in this outing. Furthermore, too much plotting gets in the way of the hiney-kickin', which leaves Silent Rage registering a flatline. Columbia TriStar's DVD presents the film both in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and pan-and-scan transfers with audio in DD 2.0 mono. Bonus trailers, keep-case.

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