Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Kino Lorber Studio Classics - AN EYE FOR AN EYE and THE HERO AND THE TERROR on Blu-ray ""

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kino Lorber Studio Classics - AN EYE FOR AN EYE and THE HERO AND THE TERROR on Blu-ray

AN EYE FOR AN EYE (1981; Steve Carver)
I came to Chuck Norris as a kid and he was a big favorite of mine. I can't remember if my Chuck Norris phase came before or after my Bruce Lee phase. I think it was after. Anyway, I got a big kick (pun intended) out of Chuck's movies and his lack of acting abilities didn't bother me in the slightest. Did he kick ass in a movie? That was the essential question. If Chuck was kicking dudes' faces and generally knocking folks out, I was having a good time. It was always neat to see Chuck doing his own fight scenes and a lot of his own stunts. That certainly made me think he was a badass as a kid and somehow kept me more engaged with his movies. Chuck was more accessible in some ways than Bruce Lee. Don't get me wrong, both are unbelievably talented martial artists. Bruce Lee's speed made him feel superhuman though. Chuck Norris was not as fast with his karate moves, but he was still a master and tough as hell. My friends and I often found ourselves trying to "spar" with each other after watching a good action-packed Chuck Norris movie. That would happen after Bruce Lee movies sometimes too, but more often it was Chuck who compelled us to fake kick each other onto the couch or into other random pieces of furniture. I must admit that since I saw a lot of his films on VHS in very close succession, they tend to run together a little bit in my head. I mean, the little bits stand out here and there (for instance, I'll always remember SILENT RAGE for it's mitogen-induced monster-man) and I can slot them into categories based on the guest stars in the cast, but thats it. That's it until I watch them again and then I start to recall the details. AN EYE FOR AN EYE was a Chuck movie that I must have seen early on. It has a catchy revenge-y kinda title and I'm sure that caught my eye. That title combined with the cover art featuring Chuck delivering one of his powerful side kicks was just the ticket for twelve year old me I'm sure. What I forgot about the movie is that Chuck kicks no ass in it until the thirty-five minute mark. Then there's a long break with more investigation and talking and romance and basically a lot of non-fighting for another thirty minutes or so. Maybe I was just expecting more action and the waiting is the hardest part as Tom Petty famously said. Thankfully, the film picks up in terms of action in the last forty minutes or so (including a nice standoff between Norris and classic 80s bad guy Professor Toru Tanaka). The nice thing that makes the non-fighting parts more enjoyable is the excellent ensemble of supporting actors in this movie. The late Christopher Lee,
Richard Roundtree, Mako, Professor Toru Tanaka, veteran character actor Matt Clark (who I am a big fan of), and Stuart Pankin all make appearances. Chuck's partner at the open of the film is Terry Kiser (Bernie Lomax himself from WEEKEND AT BERNIES)and he kicks off all the revenge machinations with a brutal death (spoiler!). It was especially nice to get a quick dose of Christopher Lee after his recent passing.
Transfer on this disc looks pretty good.
Special Features:
This Blu-ray includes an audio commentary from Director Steve Carver.

THE HERO AND THE TERROR (1988; Willam Tannen)
I remember thinking that THE HERO AND THE TERROR felt a little different from the other Chuck Norris movies I had watched to that point. I'd seen him play a cop many times, but that usually led to a lot more fisticuffs. This movie was based on a novel and maybe the filmmakers decided to adapt less fighting into it. It seemed more of a standard thriller that just happened to star Chuck Norris. In this case, Chuck plays a cop who is haunted by an experience he had catching a serial killer and being nearly killed by him. Chuck is tortured by a recurring nightmare of the killer drying to drown him and he's pretty traumatized. This is a very introspective Chuck Norris in this film. He's constantly having flashacks to his nightmare and spending time with his pregnant wife (his former therapist). Meanwhile, the serial killer (known as "The Terror") escapes the high security mental institution he'd been  locked up in since Chuck had him put away. This particular killer has made a habit of neck-snapping  with his lady victims right before drags them back to a "lair" that he has a created for himself at an abandoned movie theater. This movie contains exactly two fight scenes in the entire thing. It was produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus (Cannon Films). As I mentioned, it felt like they were going for something of a more conventional thriller and outside of The Terror himself, who is kinda scary, the movie on the whole is  a bit bland. The highlight is probably Jack O'Halloran's perfomance as The Terror. O'Halloran is one of those big, ugly-looking dudes who was only cut out to play monstrous movie villains. He will always be remembered as "Non" the giant almost non-speaking grunt from General Zod's war party in the SUPERMAN films. Fans of the 1987 DRAGNET movie may also recall him as "Big, bad, stupid-looking" Emil Muzz from that film. Apparently he was a heavyweight boxing contender in the 60s and 70s and you can see it. He's given a lot of sneaking around to do in this movie and little else. Other cast highlights include Billy Drago (who shows up for like a minute and then never reappears) and Ron O'Neal (SUPERFLY) as the Mayor.
Transfer on this disc is not bad. No special features included on the disc.

Bonus: Chuck Norris interview for THE HERO AND THE TERROR:

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