Sunday, December 6, 2015

Invasion U.S.A.


   There's a scene in this movie where Chuck Norris' character says "I'm gonna hit you with so many rights, you're gonna beg for a left." with a completely straight face. If that doesn't make you smile, you're not the right audience for this movie. It has an interesting premise, albeit a mostly squandered one. Squads of terrorists infiltrate America, and disguise themselves as police officers, guards, soldiers- etc, and then set out on a campaign of chaos and carnage. Thus... effectively turning the American people against their own protectors. This movie could never be more cultural relevant than right now, except it never will be because the movie doesn't do much with this concept and it devolves into Chuck Norris vs. several hundred of stock bad guys.

 Not that there's anything wrong with that at all, it's just... not everything it could've been. I'm a moviegoer who likes to have his cake and eat it too. I like my movies to have a bit of brains. Despite that, I can accept ones that don't, and enjoy them just the same. I try to avoid snobbery. Anyways, Invasion U.S.A. touched on some interesting points that, if explored, could've infused this movie with a big of brains to match it's guns. See, if you're going to invade America, what's more plausible? Seeing hundreds of Chinese soldiers parachute down from the sky? Or orchestrating an elaborate plan to have the American people turn on their government and incite total anarchy so you can swoop in and finish off the job? The latter. Obviously. Invasion U.S.A. had some really interesting concepts on it's hands, and it's scarily plausible even in this day and age.

  Except, it just becomes very standard as it goes on with Superman Chuck kicking copious amounts of ass as he strides through the movie with calm and ease, squeezing off a few thousand UZI rounds here and there for good measure. He literally keeps a mini-UZI strapped to him, one on each side side, dangling under his arms for easy access. It's fantastic. This movie defines brainless action movies in the best of ways. The stunts are over the top insane, there's gigantic explosions practically non-stop, and the climax is insanely over-the-top. There's so much gunfire in this movie that I was in shock a bit by the time it was over. I learned from Electric Boogaloo that the filmmakers had the opportunity to blow up a whole neighborhood for real because all the houses were scheduled for demolition anyways. They landed the same luck with a whole shopping mall.

  They took full advantage of both opportunities. While they blew up the neighborhood with a rocket launcher, they took the time to demolish the mall with 4x4 trucks, shootouts, and suitcase bombs. It was glorious. All the action scenes here are top-notch. It's so insanely action packed that it's much less like reviewing a legitimate movie, and more like trying to review a demo reel of practical effects and action choreography, with a handful of sizzling one liners thrown in there for good measure. The characters are archetypes at best, and downright cartoonish at worst. There's a reporter lady who adds nothing to the story but a few comebacks against Chuck's character. The villains are megalomaniac evil bastards, right out of a comic book- not that I'm complaining.

  The original Red Dawn is all around a much better movie when it comes to having an action movie constructed around the hypothetical invasion of America. It's haunting and chilling, yet also a blast to watch. Invasion U.S.A. has moments that are gripping, and scenes that eerily transcend their B grade action flick trappings and manage to be horrifically plausible, but otherwise it's just a silly action movie. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less. If you came to see Chuck Norris kick ass and shoot lots of bad guys, then you came to the right place. It's ridiculous and often absurd, but it's also consistently entertaining. It has an energetic vibe and a fast pace to it as well. Unless you're a skeptical snob who hates cheesy 80's movies, it's hard to be bored even for a second with this one. It's full of wall to wall cliches, but that's okay. It's an 80's Cannon flick with Chuck Norris vs hundreds of terrorists. The whole thing is a massive cliche.

  This movie brought the violence and action of Missing in Action stateside, and then doubled it. Yeah, there was an opportunity here to transcend the inherent genre silliness and deliver a really haunting 'What-if?' story, but I can't complain when what the settled for is pure 80's action epicness regardless. This movie could easily be re-titled "The Day Chuck Norris Saved America" or "American Chuck". I'm surprised his character wasn't named Jack McEagle or something. Not like 'Matt Hunter' is much better, but still. When all is said and done, it's a massively entertaining macho action-fest. Sure, it's pretty silly and plausibility goes right out the window the second things really get underway, but I still can't complain. The movie is such a blast.

  How does Chuck magically show up every time a kid is about to die? I don't know. How are the terrorists able to do half the stuff they do- and where did they all come from? I don't know. Does it really matter? Not really. The absurdity might be off the charts, but so are the action scenes. It's great to have on if you just want some carefree 80's action goodness. It's not going to win any awards for compelling acting, writing, or storytelling- but you can't go wrong if you're just looking for stuff to blow up real well. Keep your critical demands low and in check, and you'll have a blast with a stupid grin on your face from beginning to end. Cause, lets face it- when you hear the name "Chuck Norris", or "Sylvester Stallone", or "Arnold Schwarzenegger"- what do you think about? You think about punching, kicks, karate, explosions, and really big guns. That is all Invasion U.S.A. is, and that's not a bad thing. It'd make a killer entry in a movie marathon alongside Commando and Rambo: First Blood Pt.II. Nuff said.

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