The Octagon Review
Marketed as an exploitation film, The Octagon made some heads turn when it came out in 1980. This film stars none other than Chuck Norris, and he's up against a serial killing terrorist gang trained in the deadly secret art of Ninjitsu. So join me for a review of this 1980 martial arts, exploitation, classic featuring Chuck Norris and his mustache.
The Octagon came into my review que with a commercial that I heard on Rodney on The Roq while working a lame job for a bunch of idiots. My coworker and I had to see this, and while I was let go before we can make this a reality, I saw it myself and boy was I not disappointed. On one hand, this piece of junk is not an exploitation film, nor a true horror film, but it has enough guts to make it to this site instead of my mainstream media site.
Here is a trailer for the film The Octagon:
The first thing that you will notice from this movie is the "Spidey-Senses" that Chuck Norris has. Every shot of Norris alone has him speaking in whispers to himself, while the camera zooms in on his face. This is the most hilarious piece of film making I've seen in American cinema in a long time. The constant whispers are just too much at times and you start to go nuts if you watch this alone in the dark.
The movie revolves around a terrorist training camp known as the Octagon, and they are training terrorists in the art of the Ninja. The head masters of this place are well known kung fu film masters, and one dude looks like the second coming of Bruce Lee, only older and in some angles fatter.
The training grounds are hilarious. The overacting aside, the actual training and moves are done at half speed and really a terrible use of martial arts in this film. At one point, a group of ninjas attack a student that wants out, and it is the most awkward scene used in an American Martial arts film since American Ninja made a white man the poster child for Ninja training. (Note, Count Dante may have put American fighting styles on the map in comic book ads, but who's counting)
The film is scary at times. There are moments when you're scared that this film is going to get worse, and for those that can't stomach true exploitation cinema the film makers feed you with a tiny bit of gore. However, if you're doing something else while watching this, you'll miss it.
The pacing of this film is horrendous. There is a TON of dialogue, and none of it makes a whole lot of sense. Chuck Norris is sleepwalking through this film, and by the time the crap hits the fan, you start to wonder why this film was marketed as such. Not even Chuck Norris's scifi film "Silent Rage" could muster up enough of a build up for me to like him in a tense psychological thriller.
The psychology of this film really relies on past memories, and we see these played out in flashback format. In the flashbacks we see a red screen over the scenarios and whispers again join in to make the film treatment a little more relevant to what it is handing you. The majority of the back story is told through flashback, and it's terrible, beyond terrible.
This film is crap. The marketing was really good, and it made me believe that this was a true exploitation film, or at least a horror film disguised as a horror film, but nope. It's another terrible piece of cinema, and rightfully so, 1980 wasn't the best year in horror. But that's ok, I appreciated the attempt, and the radio spots on Kroq from 1980 were awesome. I don't recommend The Octagon to anyone, but if you have a hankering for a good Chuck Norris film, maybe this is your best bet. It's not like he's going to win any awards for his acting.
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