Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Octagon

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Buy It On DVD  |  Blu-ray

The Ninja, Unholy Masters Of Terror.
No One Will Admit They Still Exist.
Only One Man Can Stop Them.

Starring: Chuck Norris, Karen Carlson, Lee Van Cleef, Art Hindle, Kim Lankford, Richard Norton, Ernie Hudson, Aaron Norris, Mike Norris

Director: Eric Karson

1980  |  104 Minutes  |  Rated R

“That’s an insult to both of us.  It makes me stupid and you a whore.” – Scott James

When I think of The Octagon, I am typically thinking of the UFC’s fighting surface.  Well, this version of the octagon fighting surface isn’t home to wrestler vs. kickboxer battles or jiu jitsu ace vs. boxer matchups, it’s home to Chuck Norris vs. a whole ish ton of ninjas.

Ninja terrorists have been wreaking havoc on the wealthy Justine (Karen Carlson), so she hires former karate champion Scott James (Chuck Norris) to be her bodyguard.

I’ve typically heard The Octagon referred to in a pretty poor light.  Maybe it was because of those low expectations but I didn’t find it to be half bad.  There were enough interesting bits to keep me entertained for the full extent of the movie.

Norris’ Scott James is something between a detective, a prize fighter and a ninja.  There is no reason that a rich chick would have hired this guy to guard her but here we are.

There is also a bizarre echoing voice that seems to whisper Scott’s thoughts to the viewer.  I get what they were going for but I can’t believe the filmmakers watched this after filming and thought it was a good idea to have this creepy voice whispering at us all the time.  And I mean ALL THE TIME!

The acting is pretty subpar but is ultimately made much, much worse by the terribly unnatural dialogue.  Entire conversations are had with line after line of ridiculous banter.  Norris’ fluffy haired friend, A.J is the worst offender.  “That’s the kind of girl I’d like to settle down with.  Pretty but not too pretty.”  Really A.J.?

There is a good deal of crazy ninja-ing at the tail end of the movie but prior to that the action pickins are pretty slim.  And too often the coolest action is obscured by darkness.

There is a somewhat rare scene with Norris working the bag and I’ve got to say… I’m impressed.

The Octagon is nowhere near what I would call a classic but it also wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had heard.  I guess that puts it in the win column in this bizarre action universe I live in.

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