The Delta Force

release year: 1986
genre: action/adventure/drama
viewing setting: home DVD, 11/27/04

synopsis: Terrorists hijack a plane, and it's up to the elite Delta Force to take care of business.

impressions: This is a cut-and-dried, blatantly patriotic action movie. The bad guys are nasty and violent, the good guys always do the right thing, and the hostages are fearful and generally weak. This is a Golan-Globus production from the 1980s, and thus it contains the Golan-Globus factor: in an otherwise believable action movie, there will be one thing that's completely over-the-top. In this case, that one thing is the motorcycle-mounted missile launchers. Also of interest is how well this movie nails the terrorist mentality - 15 years before 9/11. Also of note: inaccurate portrayals of Delta Force tactics (they don't do underwater insertions as shown here, that's for the SEALs.) Speaking of SEALs, the movie contained a subtle dig against SEALs: the three young Navy guys among the hostages are apparently supposed to be SEALs, since one of them has a t-shirt with that logo. These three guys don't do much to help themselves, which is unbelievable if they're supposed to be SEALs. I suspect this was intentional, since this movie is about Delta Force. On the other hand, the script did get it right about how bad intel can botch a mission, e.g. Tehran in 1980. It was also interesting how, at the end, the media and balloons greet the rescued hostages, while Delta Force quietly carries their casualties into their plane, with no fanfare. All too often, these sorts of people go unappreciated despite doing a hell of a job that no one else can do, or would want to do. I should throw a comment in here about the hostage situation in this film: it gets nasty at times and will be tough to watch for some people.

things to watch for: the rolling gun-battle near the end

something this movie has that no other movie has: a motorcycle that fires missiles

acting: This movie has everybody. Chuck Norris is the main good guy, and Steve James is one of his seconds-in-command. Lee Marvin is the Delta Force commander. Robert Vaughn is his superior, an Army general. George Kennedy, Martin Balsam, Shelley Winters, and Lainie Kazan are among the hostages. Robert Forster plays a terrorist (I didn't even know it was him!) Bo Svenson is one of the pilots.

final word: Good action movie, violent and intentionally patriotic.

back to the main review page