Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Cutter

The Cutter

The Past Holds The Key.

Starring: Chuck Norris, Joanna Pacula, Daniel Bernhardt, Bernie Kopell, Todd Jensen, Tracy Scoggins, Marshall Teague

Director: Bill Tannen

2005  |  91 Minutes  |  Rated R

“Relax, I’m the goodguy.” – John Shepherd

The Cutter is Chuck Norris’ most recent movie.  I was hoping it would be true-to-form Chuck Norris.  Unfortunately it looks like he has lost a step and can’t get the same quality story or direction to work with.

Two 500-carat diamonds are stolen by a Nazi war criminal, Colonel Speerman.  Speerman hires a freelance assassin to kidnap Isaac Teller, an Auschwitz survivor and master jewel cutter.  Teller’s niece Elizabeth hires John Shepherd aka Shep (Chuck Norris) to find her uncle.

Norris really shows his age here.  Of course he is still in far better shape than I am (and probably ever will be) but it kind of feels like I am watching Murder She Wrote with a few more gun fights and a lot more martial arts rather than a good old fashioned Chuck Norris movie.  Chuck Norris is best when he is more of a man of action and doesn’t do much speaking.  In The Cutter ole Shep relies on his brains and words as much as he does his fists.  He can still kick some ass but its not quite the same and any lines that Norris delivers are so deadpan emotionless that you wish he didn’t say anything at all.

The story is somewhat original though it is never really fleshed out as well as I would have liked.  It is never made clear why Speerman wants the diamonds cut to those exact specifications.  He doesn’t seem like the Bond villain type who would likely be building some sort of laser WMD – more like he just wanted to torture this Auschwitz survivor one more time.  Definitely evil but it isn’t clear what his true purpose is.

As I said, Chuck Norris is still in good shape and can still perform the kicks that made him famous but the editing of the action sequences pulled me right out of the action.  Too many quick cuts and poor editing ruined the only fun scenes of the movie.  The dialogue for all characters is terribly hokey and I can’t help thinking that Spokane, Washington is an odd location for an action movie – especially since they didn’t incorporate the Clock Tower or the weird 1974 World’s Fair structure.  Overall Bill (don’t call him Biff) Tannen does a poor job telling a story and filming exciting action scenes.

I really wanted to like The Cutter.  It was just too flawed and seemed like Norris and company phoned it all in.  That isn’t to say The Cutter is terrible, it just isn’t as good as I have come to expect from Chuck Norris.  I hope he is able to get a few more quality roles in before full-on retirement.  It certainly isn’t needed to cement his legacy as an action great but it would sure be nice for his fans to see.