Title: The Octagon
Got It For: $2.50 ($9.99 four movie set)
Watching The Octagon really shows how far action movies have devolved over the years. Oh, it’s a silly movie with cheesy acting and ludicrous characters, but it’s a look back at a time when something could be considered an action movie even if five minutes went by without something exploding. Even with its problems, it’s more gritty and graphic than much of today’s PG-13 (or 14A as we call it here) fare.
Chuck Norris plays Scott, a former martial arts competitor who was trained as a ninja throughout his childhood. When people around him start dying, Scott suspects his former “brother” may be training an army of terrorists as ninja assassins. When his best friend goes off like an idiot to take down the camp by himself, Scott finally decides he has to fight one more time to protect the people he cares about.
In spite of the hilarious plot and sub-par acting (which can’t be placed on Norris alone), the story mangages to create some suspense, as we really begin to wonder whether Scott can kill the man he considered his brother for the entirety of his formative years. However, certain elements of this film just put it too far over the top. We’re treated to Scott’s inner monologue (we know this because the voice is all echo-ey) throughout the movie, and the interspersed ninja training sequences are just too goofy to put any stock in. Oh, and no less than three women have the hots for Norris’s character over the course of the picture. There’s literally one for each act of the movie! As one love interest is killed off, another immedietly takes her place.
The Octagon may feel a bit slow to today’s action movie audience, but if you want an early example of what made ‘80’s action movies awesome, this is a perfect example.