The Delta Force/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
As I've said in my earlier reviews, Cannon Films specialized in making exciting Hollywood studio films on B-Movie budgets. Their action movies were really fun and entertaining no matter how ridiculous the plots were. The Delta Force is a great example that represents the over-the-top style of the studio really well. It stars Chuck Norris (one of the biggest stars of the Cannon era) and Lee Marvin.
We start the movie with a flashback 10 years earlier in which an operation to rescue some hostages fails and Captain Scott McCoy (Chuck Norris) doesn't get to save his friend. The movie then cuts back to the present day of 1985. We see a group of Lebanese terrorists hijack an American Travelways airplane and of course our hero Scott, who decided to retire after the failed mission, has to cope with this situation all over again. Led by Colonel Nick Alexander (Lee Marvin), the main mission of The Delta Force unit is to rescue the hostages and hunt down the terrorists. Will it be easy as they plan? No way! Abdul Rifi (Robert Forster, Vigilante) the leader of the terrorists, decides to land the plane once to bring more armed terrorists on board and send the Jewish hostages somewhere else. Next, they land the plane yet again to release the women and children. This ensures there will be a lot of chase scenes, gun battles and explosions to satisfy the audience.
Surprisingly The Delta Force has a pretty decent plot. At least, this film has a more realistic set up than previous Cannon flicks like Invasion U.S.A. or Death Wish 3. The motivation that makes Abdul decide to hijack the plane is his brother was killed by the US army, so he and his friends want to take their revenge on the American and Jewish people. Wait a minute, I'm kinda confused here, WHO'S THE REAL VILLAIN OF THIS FILM?. It has a pretty good build-up in the first half because we see and know a lot of these hostages' backgrounds. Although this is a super cliche method (when I watch Die Hard 2 I know exactly which airplane will crash because of this type of storytelling), it creates a lot of tension. For instance, there's a couple who try to hide they're Jewish after they know that the terrorists are Islamic by putting away their rings that feature Hebrew language. Another great example is when an air hostess (played by Hanna Schygulla, I was really impressed by her performance) refuses to co-operate with the hijackers because she's German and it reminds her of the Nazis. It all gives us a really great perspective of each of the characters.
Since this is another "patriotic" movie, we also have three US Navy guys as hostages. There's no better way to build tension and anger among the audience than killing one of them. When Nick and Scott arrive, we have explosions, terrorist death scenes, car chases that show us how tremendously awesome Chuck Norris is (because he kills tons of army guys), more explosions, and some awesome one-liners. This is what we remember as being typical of the classic 80s "popcorn action flicks". In fact, The Delta Force is basically the serious version of Team America: World Police because both movies have a US team fighting against terrorists and lots of great action scenes. I'm pretty sure that Matt and Trey used The Delta Force as one of their main inspirations (besides Megaforce).
Although Invasion U.S.A. is still my all-time favorite Cannon movie, The Delta Force contains EVERYTHING great about action flicks from the 80's including a solid plot and an over-the-top showdown. If someone tells you that Schwarzenegger's Commando sums up everything cool about action movies in the 80's, just slap their faces and give them this movie!
Nuttawut Permpithak hails from Thailand. He spends his free time watching exploitation films (or any films from the past) writing articles, taking photos and reviewing films for GCDb.