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on 31 October 2012
The Octagon (UK Region B Blu-Ray) Anchor Bay
1980, 104 mins

Scott`s (Chuck Norris) life is plagued by memories of his accidentally injuring a friend during the rigorous training he endured under a master arts master. A wealthy heiress, who seeks revenge against an international terrorist camp known as The Octagon, enlists his help through suspense and intrigue, because he is the only one who can defeat his adopted brother running the operation.

If you like Chuck Norris this Blu-Ray is essential also starring is the beautiful Karen Carlson who`s not afraid to get her hands dirty and fire a few rounds and Richard Norton has a funny one on one with Chuck Norris and is part of the Chuck Norris stunt team for this movie and makes an impression for his debut, the picture is very clear a few spots of grain but hardly noticeable.

The audio comes with 2.0 Stereo and a very impressive 5.1 DTS which makes good use of the gunfire and explosions.
Aspect Ratio for this movie is a nice 1.78:1 Anamorphic (16:9)
The special features are the same as the region 1 dvd but a first for UK buyers:-
Making of The Octagon (39 m 27s)
Trailer - Tv spot
Directors commentary (Alan Belkin)
How America Changed Hollywood Forever.(28m 58s)Also on "A Force Of One"

Anchor Bay have out done themselves with this release and "A Force Of One" also on Blu-Ray and hope thay can release "Good Guys Wear Black" which was also made by AMERICA CINEMA CORP, INC. 10 OUT OF 10.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 December 2015
The Octagon was one of the first Chuck Norris films I have seen, and i did think it was good at the time but my second viewing wasn't the best, I think it was because of the annoying scenes when Chuck Norris talked to himself, I don't mean he was talking out load but in his head.I could not understand what he was saying, sorry thinking most of the time, to be honest with you a taped past most of it.

The big positive was the fight scenes when the Ninjas attack, and I enjoyed the late Lee Van Cleef(Escape from New York) he was a brilliant actor and was great in this film and also the main man himself Chuck Norris who acted his part well. The Blu-ray was very good in parts but I have seen better, it gets a 3/5, plus the sound which is in 2.0 DTS sounded great, and there are 70 minutes of bonus features.
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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 25 January 2016
This film is a total mess. For a while it's funny listening to Chuck's inner dialogue as he uses his Ninja Intuition and checking out the randomness of the situations but it doesn't take long to get dull. The script is sprawling and makes no sense. Nothing is really explained. Fights scenes are on the whole pretty dull. Characters have no persona or reason for being - I had no clue as to what half of the people in this film were doing in the story. There are some cool Ninja outfits though. The transfer is ok but it does have some fairly subtle edge enhancement that drags it down. If you are after some Chuck Norris I recommend something like Code of Silence over this.
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Chuck Norris vs. an army of ninjas – no wonder many regard The Octagon as the Gone with the Wind of Chuck Norris movies. It’s not, of course: it’s really the Hamlet of Chuck Norris movies with our hero and his often indecipherable echoplex interior monologue prevaricating when asked by Lee Van Cleef’s anti-terrorist agent to help him stop Chuck’s Japanese brother who is now training international terrorists and mercenaries in the nin-ja (as people keep on pronouncing it) way in his octagonal arena, prevaricating when Karen Carlson’s heiress asks for his protection from nin-ja trained mercenaries, prevaricating when repentant would-be terrorist Carol Bagdasarian asks his help to get away from the nin-jas who not only kill their failures but their entire families as well… In fact he spends so much time prevaricating before he learns that inaction is also an action that he doesn’t get to kick much ass until the last twenty minutes. And just in case you don’t get that Chuck’s just like the Prince of Denmark, Carlson even takes his best dead meat buddy Art Hindle to see Hamlet so he can make a quip about the hero not making his mind up (though not, curiously, commenting on the fact that just like Hamlet he’s absolutely crap at saving anyone’s life).

The kind of action film that nobody goes to see on the big screen anymore, the plot makes very little sense unless you’re very, very drunk and even then you might find yourself asking just why all the terrorist recruits turn on their nin-ja tutors at the end (answer: to up the body count). Being an exploitation film, there’s a lot of shorthand at work: Ernie Hudson turns up in one scene just to give us some back story on why Chuck doesn’t want to fight anymore, Chuck’s brother became evil because he lost a obstacle course race as a kid while we know one of the recruits is an IRA terrorist because he has red hair and another is PLO because he wears a tea towel on his head (wrong pattern, but who’ll notice?). But it does end up with Chuck Norris taking on an army of nin-jas, and that’s all its target audience could ask for.

The Blu-ray offers a respectable widescreen transfer with making of documentary, audio commentary by director Eric Karson, trailer and TV spot and the same documentary about the rise and fall of exploitation outfit American Cinema Productions that's included on the A Force of one Bluray and DVD..
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on 21 March 2014
Chuck Norris Stars In This Somewhat Laughable Martial Arts Thriller. Laughable In It's Bad Script. Norris Takes On Ninjas In A Film About Terrorists Learning Martial Arts. Norris Has No Firearms In This Classic Often Overlooked Martial Arts Thriller & One That Benefits From It's HD Upscale.

Extras:
Trailer
TV Spot
Making Of - 30 Mins (Approx.)
How American Cinema Changed Hollywood - 40 Mins (Approx.)
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on 16 April 2016
Scott a retired Martial artist is drawn into a investigation into some recent terrorist activity. He begins to suspect that his half brother maybe involved in the training of Ninjas when he is attacked after taking home a girl he met at a dance show. During his investigation he teams up with an old mercenary friend and will eventually meet his brother who holds a grudge against him.

This is genuinely noted for been the very first film that kick started the Ninja craze in the early 1980's. Other films that followed this include Enter the Ninja (1981), Revenge of the Ninja (1983) and American Ninja (1985). Not only where these films been made by American company's but also by Chinese as well such as Chang Cheh's Five Element Ninja (1982) and Ninja the final Duel (1986).

In the lead we have cult action star Chuck Norris as Scott. Here he plays his usual do good self but with a bit of an edge added to his character by having a lot of his dialogue been spoken through his thoughts. This is done by a voice over which is the best aspect of the film. Other actors include Spaghetti Western legend Lee Van Cleef as his mercenary friend McCarn who is after the terrorists but doesn't believe that Ninjas still exist. He looks pretty old in this movie but he had been suffering from alcoholism around this time. Norris would go onto star with two other old school actors in Lee Marvin in Delta Force and Henry Silva in Code of Silence.

The Ninja's are holding secret training camps where people cam apply to join so they can be trained in the art of Ninjutsu. Here they are forced to go through rigorous training and members are even killed if they decide they want to leave. Eventually after a lady finishes her training she goes in search of Scott and the two work together too take them down.

The fight scenes as expected are well staged. We have Norris taking on various bad guys throughout the film before he eventually arrives at the Ninja training camp hell bent on taking them down. At the films climax he has to take on various Ninja's as he works his way through each section of the training course, before he eventually takes on the most lethal Ninja, who wears red opposed to the black outfits of the traditional ones. They have a great samurai sword duel which makes the final duel between Scott and his half brother a little bit of a let down.

Overall a decent and entertaining Chuck Norris movie.
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on 30 March 2014
I hadnt seen anything this corny for years. It's very old school. It is a very slow film, but there are some good fight scenes towards the end of the film. If you like corny martial arts films, this is worth a look.
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This early film from Chuck Norris, made before his trademark beard came into existence, has so many things wrong with it that it should be a complete disaster. But for somereason it all works. The plot made no sense to me whatsoever. I really can't summarise it. For some reason Norris is hunting down some ninjas, one of which he seems to have some psychic connection to. Lee Van Cleef pops up for no other reason than to try and add a bit of star power. People are assassinated or kidnapped for the sole purpose of getting the hero into action. The hero has so many personal demons to overcome before he can bring himself to act that it should drag the film right down. There are badly made dream sequences where the dialogue is incomprehensible. There seems to be no reference to octagons anywhere in the film. And Norris's acting is wooden in the extreme.

But such is the star quality of the all conquering Norris, that even without his beard he can make this turkey fly. I don't know how or why, but his presence turns what should by all rights be a complete drag into something quite fun. The action sequences are plentiful, and well staged. And Norris showing off his karate skill is always entertaining. It's watchable brain at the door stuff, and worth 4 stars.
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on 3 May 2013
This Movie is pretty much about Ninja's! This Movie was made back when the Martial Arts where still new, and Mysterious to nearly all Westerners! And Ninjutsu even more so. I am going to educate you a little if you would be so kind as to let me, as Hollywood has never done the Martial Arts or Ninjutsu any favors, instead it has Bent them over and Raped them Deep & Hard as it doe's most things, so Here goes. The Martial Art Ninjutsu was the creation of Peasants, their were a few Clans but the Two main Ninja, Village/Families in Japan, from the Mountainous region that is the Province of Iga! Where called the Ryo and the koga, they would sell their Service and Abilities to anyone who would pay i.e a Wealthy village, Lord or even the Shogun Government! These two Families where Enemies as they were in direct Competition with each other for their Services. Hollywood portrays the Ninja as Assassins! But although Assassination was something they did, they were mainly hired as Spies and to do Espionage mostly. You can actually learn some of the Ninjutsu Fighting Art still today, but it is very watered down, so watered down you cant really call it Ninjutsu! The reason for this is simple, the two Families never divulged their Arts Secrets to anyone, unless they were a Blood family member, also their Art was far more than a Combat/Fighting technique! it covered vast amounts of things, most of which are not even Physical in any shape or form, so it has been Lost to Time almost completely. Now back to the Movie Plot, Scott (Chuck Norris) was trained as a Ninja from Childhood to Maturity by his Japanese Master, along side the Masters own Son Seikura, and trained Equally. This part of the Plot is not explained and nor would it ever happen i real life,Hilarious!!! But these to Martial Arts Brothers Grow into Men, and have to Pass an Endurance/Assault Course to prove themselves, and the Winner gets the Ninja Family Sword. This Passing down a Sword is a Spiritual act, that belongs to the Samurai and not the Ninja, as Samurai hold the Sword so dear that it is like their Soul! whereas Ninja hold no attachment whatsoever to any Weapon, as they see attachment as Vulnerability and a Weakness, and an Enemy could exploit this, plus to a Ninja a Weapon is just a Tool and nothing more! Again Hilarious!!! Anyway Chuck beats His Japanese Ninja Brother to the Sword Fair and Square! But Seikura says he cheated! and then trows a Tantrum! Again Hilarious because if he did cheat, he is a Ninja and they don't follow a Code of Honor! Whatever it takes to Win! They are not Samurai! Back to the story, Seikura is Banished from the Clan as an outcast for his Dishonorable behavior. Skip forward a couple of Decades and Chuck is no longer a Ninja, nor part of the Clan with no Plot Explanation for this either. You are born into the Clan and Never stop Training or Learning the Art of Ninjutsu until the day you Die, also you never leave the Clan, Hilarious!!! But anyway Chuck is now a Martial Artist stroke Ladies Man, with a new Non Japanese Martial Arts Buddy, who never does any Fighting in the Movie might i add, again Hilarious!!! Chuck however is drawn back into the Ninja World when he finds his Ninja Brother Seikura, is the leader of a Ninja Terrorist Clan of Death & Doom from the Shadows! He takes American and Mexican, Red Necks & Hicks in, and Trains them the Art of Ninjutsu in a Two Week Course, impossible and Hilarious an idea!!! Cutting forward, a Woman in Ninja Trouble who Chuck wont Help, as he has left this all behind him gets his New buddy to help her, and off he goes as you do to Fight a Ninja Terrorist Clan, that you know nothing about or have anything to do with might i add! Hilarious!!! Forty Minutes of this Crazy Ass Movie drags on as Chuck, comes to terms with the fact he has to Stop Running and Face his Ninja Brother once and for all! Ninja's are sent to Kill Chuck at his apartment, so to gain access to the apartment they use Climbing Claws! (Metal Hooks that attach to the Palms, Feet or Inside Leg to aid Climbing) This is Hilarious as these only work on Wooden surfaces and not Masonry, plus you can see the safety Ropes attached to the Stuntmen! Hilarious!!! Anyway once in the apartment Chuck quickly Disposes of them Norris Style!!! And in the apartment scene later, where he is talking to the supposed Hot Chick of the Movie, and his Pal (Lee Van Cleef) you can see the Film Crew and Cameras, in the Reflection of the Mirror behind Chuck! Once more, Hilarious!!! Anyway Chuck Knows its time to Kick Ninja Ar*se so sets off to Fight Seikura who also now has his Martial Arts Friend imprisoned. Chuck once in the Ninja Camp Fights loads of Guards, who never at any point shout to Alert the Camp of the intruder, as you do, Hilarious!!! Eventually Chuck is Captured and not Slain by his Ninja Brother/Enemy because that is far to easy! So instead Chuck has to Fight his way through the Octagon, a Ninja riddled Death Course! Chuck makes it though with ease as he is a Ninja! But he has to Fight the Second in Charge of the Ninja's with a Sword. All the way through this Movie the Ninja all have Katana's (A Samurai Sword with a long slightly curved Blade) This to is Hilarious as the Ninja Sword was a straight Blade, and much shorter so they could Wield them in a confined space, against their Foes who were Samurai, the Samurai were much better Swordsmen but in a confined space, their Swords were to long & Cumbersome, this gave the Ninja the Advantage! Also i question the Second in charges Ninja Swordsmanship Skills! as he leaves his Scabbard in his Belt after he has drawn his Sword, this is a Total NO NO!!! As the Scabbard can be used to trow you of balance, lock you or even be used to Choke you if your Apponent knows Swordsmanship. Plus at one stage the Second in charge trows away his Sword, so he can use his Sai's (A Pair of Metal three pronged, one handed Weapons for use against Swords mainly) putting himself at a total disadvantage, WHY? But at least in this Movie the Ninja use Shuriken (A straight Metal weighted throwing Blade) and not just Trowing Stars (A Metal Star shaped device, with the points sharpened) as in most Movies, the Trowing Star in reality was not really a Weapon! It was used to cause distraction, Whereas the Shuriken was a Weapon, however it was not meant to Kill by stabbing into you when thrown, but was Poison Tipped so even just a graze would be Fatal! But Hollywood portray it as Stab to Kill Weapon. This is also Hilarious!!! The Force and Accuracy needed to turn this Throwing Weapon into a Fatal injury without the use of Poison would take Luck and Superhuman Powers! I also find it Hilarious that Chuck being a Ninja, also means he has Senses like Spider Man in this Movie, Making him able to sense a threat before it even occurs! Try to remember that Ninjas were Men and Women that can be Killed, just like the rest of us! Yes they have learnt incredible Skills and Abilities but they are not Superhuman, they are Mortal! lol. You would/might think that this Review was from someone who Hated this Movie, but you would be wrong!!! I Love this old Movie! it is from a Time when Mad Plotless Crap was the done thing in the Movies, they were simple Times, they were better Times! A time when a Woman could be the best in her Field of Expertise and the Man would say "Shut up! I don't want nor need to Hear anything you have to say as your a Woman, and know Nothing!!! Now Kiss me Baby! I know you Fancy me! Now hear this Hot Hunk of Man Roarrrrrrrrr!!!! Meow" and the lady would say "You must find me Stupid being a Woman an all! And call me Crazy but, even though i only met you Ten Minutes ago, i think i'm in Love with you!" Hilarious, but that is the Acting Role required of the Poor Women in this Movie. You got to love this old Pile! You know i heard Chuck Norris Died Twenty Years ago! But Death is to Scarred to tell him.
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