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Where the Action Is

April 18, 1993|SUSAN KING

All of the Chuck Norris oeuvre is available on video. Below are several of his most well-known films.

Chuck Norris makes one of his first movie appearances in the offbeat 1973 film Return of the Dragon (CBS/Fox). The late Bruce Lee stars and directed this action-comedy which finds Lee playing a country hick visiting his relatives in Italy. His relations happen to own a Chinese restaurant that mobsters are trying to take over. The finale is classic: Lee and Norris do battle at the Roman Colosseum. Guess who wins?

In 1977's low-budget Breaker! Breaker! (Nelson), Norris plays a trucker who uses his CB radio to search for his brother in a corrupt judge's speed-trap town. George Murdock also stars.

Norris's martial-arts skills are put to good use--he jumps feet first into a windshield--in the silly but entertaining 1979 political thriller Good Guys Wear Black (Vestron). The supporting cast is strong: Anne Archer, James Franciscus, Jim Backus and Dana Andrews.

Norris followed up "Good Guys" the same year with the enjoyable A Force of One (Video Treasures). This time around, Norris battles the bad guys who are trafficking drugs in a California town. Jennifer O'Neill also stars.

Norris is hired by beautiful Karen Carlson to protect her from Ninja assassins in the 1980 action-thriller The Octagon (Media). Lee Van Cleef ("The Good, the Bad and the Ugly") also stars.

In the 1981 action flick, An Eye for an Eye (Nelson), Norris is a good cop whose partner is killed in a drug bust. Unable to cope with his partner's demise, he seeks vengeance against the bad guys. Christopher Lee adds some spark to the undistinguished fare as the main baddie.

Norris battles mobsters in Hong Kong in 1982's lame action melodrama Forced Vengeance (MGM/UA Home Video). David Opatoshu, Mary Louise Weller and Michael Cavanaugh also star.

Ten years before he became "Walker, Texas Ranger," Norris played Texas Ranger Lone Wolf McQuade (Vestron) in the enjoyable 1982 action flick. In this outing, Norris takes on gunrunner David Carradine. Barbara Carrera also stars.

In the popular 1984 Norris vehicle, Missing in Action (MGM/UA), Norris plays a Vietnam vet who returns to Vietnam to liberate American prisoners. Sort of a martial-arts version of "Rambo," it's long on action but short on intelligence. It was followed the next year by a prequel, Missing in Action 2--The Beginning (MGM/UA), in which Col. Norris escapes from a POW camp.

The 1985 detective thriller Code of Silence (HBO) is Norris' best film to date. Tautly directed by Andy Davis ("Under Siege"), Norris plays a Chicago cop who plays by his own rules when it comes to dealing with a violent gang war. Fast-paced and exciting, "Code" also stars Dennis Farina, Henry Silva and Bert Remsen.

Norris tries his hand at comedy with deadly results in 1986's lighthearted adventure flick Firewalker (Video Treasures). Norris and co-star Louis Gossett Jr. play mercenaries hired by a beautiful young woman (Melody Anderson) to find hidden treasure. Cheap and cheesy.

Norris teams up with the late Lee Marvin for 1986's The Delta Force (Video Treasures), a middling suspense thriller about a terrorist plane hijacking in the Middle East and how a special American squadron saves the day. The supporting cast boasts Oscar-winners Martin Balsam, George Kennedy and Shelley Winters.

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