Written by / 8/01/2016 / No comments / , , , ,

CHUCK NORRIS IN 'GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK' W/ DANA ANDREWS

Chuck reflects the film's best kick YEAR: 1978
For an action star, compared to a Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and more befitting this particular fight-genre, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris isn't a great actor. Heck, he's not even half-decent when it comes down to it. But it never really comes down to anything short of his signature kicks: Those are what the audience will anticipate. He did get better throughout the years, peaking in the mid-to-late 1980's as a far more energetic performer than this 1978 semi-exploitation titled GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK aka BLACK TIGERS, where his most natural moves occur about an hour into the movie: Relatively bad news for hardcore Norris fans – there are only about two real karate-fight scenes, not including a few quick wallops that get the job done in a flash – one in particular highlighted all the promotions – Norris's Secret Ops commando John T. Booker leaping forward and smashing foot-first into the windshield of a car, fully enraged, as he should be: While some awful special effects occur, a very important person is killed, and this character was way too good to be true.

Chuck listens to Dana Andrews explain everything
Our July-August 2016 Spotlight actor, Dana Andrews, back in the 40's and 50's, especially in the Otto Preminger double feature LAURA and WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, was a handsome yet edgy and unpredictable leading man, and here he's a veteran actor with a relatively small role, and yet he's the most important character – the film's plot McGuffin, mentioned by Anne Archer's mystery lady "journalist" on having, in a Washington D.C. bar, told her a thing or two about his boss, James Franciscus as a soon-to-be sworn-in Secretary of State, Conrad Morgan. Andrews' Edgar Harolds gives a seven-minute monologue at the tail-end, and it's quite effective, leading Chuck's Booker to settle one last score...

This and Last Month's Spotlight
Revenge for much more than who he lost in this "present" time as the film begins in the Vietnam War's waning 11th hour. The Black Tigers, sent in to rescue Missing in Action American soldiers (MIA's), are set-up and screwed around, big time. This sequence could have been very suspenseful and poignant if it didn't resemble dark and grainy stock footage, or "dailies" on a film-set before the necessary celluloid touch is added. Although capable director Ted Post was busy that year with another Vietnam programmer, centered on the war and not its aftermath... the Burt Lancaster drama GO TELL THE SPARTANS... his direction here, for the most part, seems out of a Made-for-TV movie, which is not entirely bad since those vehicles were made solely to entertain (meanwhile, for no reason whatsoever, the iconic James "Thurston Howell" Backus appears as a much too elderly hotel doorman!). But you can't blame a low-budget wah-wah-peddle driven drive-in flick for looking cheap, because that's the groovy charm of GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK, injecting a more "progressive" Anti-War peripheral than the more patriotic 1980's BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION franchise.

Most Unnecessary Cameo Ever FILM SCORE: ***1/2
There's a Classic "Old Movie" style concerning Archer's candlelit romance with Norris, doggedly asking questions about the aborted mission five years prior, combined with a familiar plot later borrowed in the Arnold Schwarzenegger cult favorite, COMMANDO: After the surviving members of Booker's Black Tigers had been killed (offscreen), one after the other, he goes from location to location, from a city park to a ski resort, warning whoever's alive to be careful, and it doesn't turn out good, for him or especially them. But for the audience these are some the best moments, wielding a sort of Body Count aspect into the Neo Noir underbelly, with palpable determination on Chuck's part helped along by ROOM 222 veteran Lloyd Haynes as a former agent, who remains tried and true despite some horrendous dialogue like, after Chuck asks a risky question, he replies with: "That's why Ostriches die young." Ouch!
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