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Still best known as a former world champion and for fighting (and losing to) Bruce Lee in Rome's Coliseum in Way of the Dragon at the time, 1979's A Force of One doesn't exactly tax fledgling action star Chuck Norris' limited acting abilities, casting him as a former champion who teaches martial arts who finds himself drawn into a murder case when he agrees to teach various cops self-defence after they start getting killed in the line of duty. Unfortunately his ass-kicking expertise is largely taken on trust for much of the film, which puts more emphasis on his input in the murder investigation - such as the dubious conclusion that the only people capable of breaking a victim's neck must be former Special Forces operatives with martial arts training - than his ability to hit people, which he does surprisingly rarely: following the Bruce Lee formula of having its hero resisting resorting to violence until pushed too far, with only three fights and one kill, this probably has the lowest body count of any of his films. Nor is the final fight, largely held in the ring (who could possibly guess that the killer is his upcoming opponent in a martial arts bout?), particularly well staged or directed. Instead for most of the running time it's a fairly average 70s low-budget cop movie with a decent enough supporting cast (Jennifer O'Neil, Ron O'Neal, Clu Gulager) to try to compensate for the leading man's limitations but stymied by join-the-dots plotting despite a script co-written by French Connection Oscar winner and creator of Shaft Ernest Tidyman. Aimed fairly and squarely at the grindhouse and drive-in circuit, its ambitions are modest and it just about passes muster as a Saturday night with a few beers movie, but it's pretty forgettable stuff.

Still, the Blu-ray offers a decent widescreen transfer and good extras: a making of featurette that covers the replacement of original director Ted Post after he dropped out in pre-production and replacement director Paul Aaron's rewrites of the ailing Tidyman's script, a somewhat self-congratulatory documentary on the rise and fall of exploitation producers American Cinema, from the days when they were a small outfit practically taking their films around from cinema to cinema and scraping money together from tax shelter investors to their downfall after getting too big too fast, a director's commentary, TV spot and theatrical trailer.
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on 9 August 2012
The Octagon / A Force of One

Distributor : Anchor Bay Entertainment (UK)

Considering the wealth of Chuck Norris jokes available online it becomes increasingly difficult to seriously review his movies without instantly referencing any of the material available.

Both of the movies reviewed here originate from the late 70's/early 80's Chuck Norris era (minus the beard) where he was just beginning to acquire a strong fan base which would ultimately result in a string of movies being released right up to the new millennium at the rate of at least one film per year. Chuck was certainly kept busy through this period and produced some memorable movies (some for more obvious reasons than others) all of which were pretty entertaining if not taken too seriously and together made up a decent wedge of some the best classic actioners of the time.

The Octagon tells the story of a terrorist organisation training Ninja assassins to do their bidding with Chuck Norris being the only one who can stop the killings. The film builds to a climactic showdown set within an 8 sided arena with Chuck vs an army of masked killers although there will be no prizes for guessing how this one turns out.

Presented fully uncut including a number of sequences involving lethal Ninja weapons which the BBFC previously took exception to, The Octagon showcases a 1080p 1.78:1 transfer which is actually a lot better than may have been expected. Detail is sharp and reasonably strong throughout, colours are vibrant and black levels show an impressive amount of depth throughout the proceedings. Although some minor print damage involving the odd scratch or blemish pops up from time to time this is easily the best presentation of the film to date and will no doubt be appreciated by fans of the film.

Audio is presented with a DTS-HD 5.1 option as well as a 2.0 channel for purists. The 5.1 track is easily the better of the two with sharp sounding dialogue and a fair amount of weight packed behind the various kicks and punches throughout the films running time. Once again fans of the film are in for a treat here.

Extras include an informative directors commentary, a making of feature and some trailers and TV spots as well as the excellent documentary How Hollywood Changed America Forever which is basically an overview of some of the many action titles from this period.

A Force of One tells the story of a world karate champion enlisted by the local police department to aid in the capture of a martial arts fighter who is secretly picking off members of the local narcotics squad in order to steal the confiscated drug supplies for himself. The film is a basic 70's cop drama with added scenes of high kicking martial arts mayhem and is perhaps a little more story driven than some later entries in the Chuck Norris archives. Once again there are no real surprises here although the identity of the killer may keep you guessing up until the final reveal.

Like the previous film, A Force of One is presented fully uncut restoring about a minute of previously excised footage not surprisingly involving those dreaded weapons that the BBFC at one time loved to hate. The 1080p 1.78:1 transfer is again impressive especially considering the films low budget roots with detail faring well supported by natural looking colours and rich black levels. As in the previous film, this Blu-ray release easily lends the movie its best ever presentation to date.

Audio is presented in DTD-HD 5.1 and 2.0 options with the 5.1 track having clear and well defined dialogue throughout the film giving the movie a new lease of life.

Extras include a directors commentary a making of feature, trailer and TV spot as well as the exact same documentary How Hollywood Changed America Forever recycled from The Octagon Blu-ray

All things considered, both films are presented in top notch packages with excellent picture and sound quality making for easy purchases. Worth noting however is that both titles are locked to region B so US collectors will require multi region capability. For fans of old school martial arts action these will certainly be welcome releases and at a cost of around £9 per title this really is a no brainer for collectors of the Chucksters back catalogue. So what are you waiting for?

On one final note, if internet rumours are to be believed Chuck Norris is himself a big fan of Blu-ray movies as his 1080p HDTV can display a resolution of 2160p.

BLU REVIEW OBSCURA - For reviews of the less mainstream Blu-ray releases find us at blureviewobscura .yolasite .com and join the discussion at our Facebook group.
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on 3 January 2013
As a martial artist myself I am a big Chuck Norris Fan and have been a watcher of his films since The Good Guys Wear Black.A Force of One will never win any awards for its script but the fight scenes,arranged by Chuck himself,probably with a little help from brother Arron were first class for their time and contain top class martial arts action both in and out of the ring,without the silly noises of the Chinese Chop Sock Kung Fu films of the time.
At the time this was released you could see that the 6 time undefeated World Karate Champion was still struggling with his actual acting but he more than makes up for it with his actions and lets face it with Chuck that's what most fans want.I'm just starting to replace all of my CN videos with their DVD equivalents as I find them and as this has always been one of my personal favorites it was the first.More will follow as there's nothing better than a good old Chuck film.Plenty of action without the gratuitous sex and bad language of more modern films.
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on 21 March 2014
This Is An Excellent Transfer Of A Great Early Norris Flick. The New Cleaned Up HD Audio Is Excellent, & The Video Is Also Looking Great In HD, I Love The Fact That The Video Still Has Some Minor Age Spots, Giving It A Totally Classic Feel. The Film Itself Features A Bad Plot But Is Saved By It's Script, Atmosphere & Martial Arts Scenes.

Making Of - 15 Mins (Approx.)
How American Cinema Changed Hollywood - 40 Mins (Approx.)
TV Spot
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A Force of one is a very good action film. and if you love seeing Chuck Norris kick ass then you will love him in this film.

The Blu-ray quality is very nice it gets a 4/5, but the sound which you can have in 5.1 DTS Master Audio is awful, it was that bad I turned it off and changed it to 2.0 Stereo, now I did have to turn my sound system up but it was ten times better. But still this is a great film.

You get 45 minutes of bonus features.
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on 17 January 2016
Chuck Norris in one of his early acting outings stars as Matt Logan, karate school instructor and heavyweight champion. When the local narcotics squad start to get killed off by a lethal martial artist he is brought to teach them self defence techniques, however when his adopted son is killed by the very same killer and the tide of drugs starts to increase he begins to wage his own war on the men responsible.

Bluray looks surprising good for a budget film of this age. Picture is sharp and clear, evening during night scenes. Audio has plenty of punch in the action scenes. Certainly a worthy upgrade to consider if you already have the DVD.
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on 8 May 2013
This is a Good Old Chuck at his best, Norris Movie. Plot simple, yet enjoyably ridiculous none the Less! Cops Killed in a strange way, leads cops to check out Karate as possible means of Killing, Chuck hired to teach cops Karate so they can defend themselves, Chuck does some of his own sleuthing, his adopted Son gets Killed, Chuck now out for revenge!!! Chuck finds drug smuggling in the Karate World, turns out his Title fight opponent Sparks (Bill Wallace) is the Killer, and head drug runner, finale fight to the Death match between Chuck and Sparks ensues. This is one of the Best and most believable, of the Chuck Movies in my opinion! I love Chuck Norris and his Movies, even if a little Daft and Dated now. He was after all one of the early action Hero's, and the first proper Western Martial Arts Actor! He alone paved the way for the rest, this alone makes him and his Career special. This Movie also Stars good old Bill Super Foot Wallace!!! This only adds to its Fun and class of this Movie Madness. As for the Blu ray, excellent picture and sound quality for a Movie of this age! I also heard, when Chuck is with a Lady, he doesn't need to get Hard, instead She gets soft!
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on 31 March 2014
Chuck Norris is one of the best original Martial Arts from the 70's only one better Bruce Lee back in the days
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on 14 October 2015
the film is aged overall its not bad
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on 5 February 2013
i was very pleased with the item that i received i originally had it on video but is now trying to get all videos on dvd has been told they are
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