Picks and Pans Review: Invasion U.s.a.
Meanwhile, in a role that is ultraviolent even by his standards, Arn's comrade in cinematic arms, Chuck Norris, plays a former intelligence officer who is America's only apparent defense against an invading horde of mostly Communist terrorists. Landing on a Florida beach, the Red menace fans out for slaughterous attacks on shopping malls, amusement parks and churches. The only pattern to their targets is that a feisty photojournalist, feebly played by Melissa (Players) Prophet, happens to be there all the time. "They're turning people against each other, and even worse, against authority," moans an FBI man, in case anyone has missed the film's Cold War-era reactionary overtones. The subversion of the American way indeed seems all too easy, but the terrorist leader, a Soviet officer portrayed with the requisite psychotic bloodlust by Richard (The Sword and the Sorcerer) Lynch, makes a fatal error. Lynch has recurring nightmares about his former nemesis, Norris. So taking time out from his busy havoc-wreaking schedule, Lynch and cohorts travel to the Everglades to rub out Norris. From that point to the silly toy-soldier climax in Atlanta, Chuck puts some serious crimps in the Reds' well-laid plans. For the first time in his long career, Norris' character operates without a code of honor, as well as without the balletic karate moves for which he is known. Director Joseph Zito has in fact made both good and bad guys equally one- dimensional and unlikable. All the audience can root for is more mayhem. There's plenty of that, anyway. (R)
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