A Force of One (1979) – By Josh Samford

 You know you’re a pretty cool guy if you can convince the majority of people on the internet that you are indeed god. Actually, scratch that, this is the internet. Regardless, I am going to stand by my belief that Chuck Norris is one of the baddest men to ever walk the soil of this fair planet. Why? Because his tears have been proven to be the cure for both cancer and AIDS, yet he has never cried. He once roundhouse kicked with such velocity that the earth began to spin the opposite direction reversing time. I hear he once did a summersault and side kicked the fat right off of Drew Carey and it landed on Michael Moore – increasing his mass until he can only be compared to the Marvel Comic super-villain The Blob. For those who get that geeky little bit of referencing, good for you, for those who don’t, study more internet. Despite all of this blathering, I have just recently had the itch to delve into Mr. Norris’ work of brilliance; that is pretty much everything prior to his Walker: Texas Ranger days. I guess I’m starting to take after my dad, watching Chuck Norris and Charles Bronson movies as I do; but you know, there’s something amazing about a goofy fun action film that I think only a guy can truly enjoy. Maybe it’s the whole cliche bit about shutting off your brain and just being entertained, but I think to come up with something quite like A Force of One you have to be doing a good bit of thinking – as well as roundhouse kicking.

So what is the plot? Believe it or not, there actually is one. Albeit a thin one, but there is a pretty decent plot at work in the film. Chucky plays Matt Logan, a leading Karate expert on the West Coast who spends his days training at his dojo along with his adopted son Charlie; a young African American boy who he winded up taking care of. The two train day in and day out, as Matt gears up for what may be the biggest fight of his life. Something steps in the way when a group of undercover narcotics officers are murdered while on the case of some dope pushers. Turns out they were some how killed – without a gun! BUM! BUM! BUUUMM! So it doesn’t take the police a whole heck of a lot of time to figure out we have ninjas killing cops, and who do you go to when your police officers are being murdered in cold blood by random ninjas? Chuck Freakin’ Norris, that’s who. Chuck doesn’t actually want to be involved at first. Opting to stay out of the lime light to protect his boy, himself and to generally leave a peaceable life. Sadly, this is an action movie and we all know SOMETHING is going to bring Chuck out retirement… and when he finds the man he’s looking for, he’s as good as dead.

Exciting much? I think so! So Chucky busts some heads, and I go home happy. Unlike The Octagon, Force of One actually seems to take place in something that KINDA resembles reality. I mean, there’s a smaller number of ninjas for one. I guess that could be a negative for some, but you know, I just for once don’t feel the plot explicitly called for ninja action. That’s a first for sure, but A Force of One actually seemed like a pretty laid back crime drama and on a cinematic level… it works. On a butt kicking level of action packed delirium – once again, it also works! Chuck Norris in my opinion actually gets kind of a bad rap as far as his acting abilities go. There are a lot of people sitting around willing to call his performances wooden, or stoney, but as far as I’m concerned I’ve seen far worse athletes turned entertainers out there. Norris was never like Bruce Lee where you thought he would eventually end up whipping everyone in the room no matter what, and thankfully he was never quite as much of the "common man" that Steven Segal tries to be – just somewhere in between, and he made it work for him. His performances may not have the most depth you’ll ever see even in a cheesy martial arts film, but I’ll say he packs more on-screen charisma than the majority of professional wrestlers I’ve seen mix it up onscreen.

So that’s about it as far as I’m concerned. Chuck Norris, not only a great martial artist and entertainer, a great human being. Well, something along those lines. Truth be told, I think he’s closer to an "entity" than a true human mortal such as you or I. In the future, I think somewhere people are going to dig up fossils from our civilization showing just what twentieth century life was like and right next to an old beta copy of Casablanca they’re going to find A Force of One or just about any of Chuck’s films from that era; and they’ll probably look at us as the most dominant and bad to the bone army of humans the world has ever produced. Or they’ll just wonder why our police were so stupid not to realize that a bunch of guys with broken necks MIGHT have had them snapped by a martial artist using his bare hands. I mean heck, surely even back then Karate was at least somewhat popular.