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..
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.