The Octagon

release year: 1980
genre: martial arts action
viewing setting: home DVD, 7/28/15 and 5/20/13 and 5/2/09 and home VHS, 7/3/04

synopsis: A tough American who once trained in ninjitsu takes on a training camp run by his evil half-brother.

impressions: This was one of the movies that kick-started the ninja-movie craze of the 1980s. What we have here is a mercenary training camp where students learn some ninja techniques (but not enough, I must add, to be able to take on the real ninja who control the camp.) Chuck isn't involved at first, and doesn't want to be, but various friends end up causing him to become involved, and in the end, he mows through several dozen ninja before taking on the evil half-brother. One thing of note: the female characters in this movie - all three of them - have some of the most badly-written dialogue I've ever heard. It was so bad that it once caused my wife to walk out of the room, even though a big Chuck Norris fight scene was clearly coming up.

things to watch for: When Chuck infiltrates the ninja fortress - plenty of hard-hitting action.

asses kicked by Chuck Norris: 37

body count: 25

something this movie has that no other movie has: A ninja fortress!

acting: Chuck Norris makes a good, take-no-crap hero, though the whispering voiceovers to help us understand his thoughts quickly become annoying. Art Hindle is good, but annoying, as his reporter friend who is easily manipulated. Karen Carlson portrays a very, very annoying rich woman. Lee Van Cleef is great as a "good" assassin. Martial arts veteran Richard Norton, whose face is never seen, is the second-in-command ninja. Brian Libby (who was awesome as the maniac in Silent Rage) plays one of the trainees at the camp.

final word: above-average ninja action

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