• Delta Force, The



    Released by: MGM
    Released on: June 5, 2012.
    Director: Menahem Golan
    Cast: Chuck Norris, Lee Marvin, Robert Forster, Steve James, Robert Vaugh, Bo Svenson, George Kennedy, Joey Bishop
    Year: 1986

    The Movie:

    Who doesn’t love a good tough guy movie? It’s a well known fact that sometimes the toughest guys of all hide their tough guyness underneath their beards. Enter Chuck Norris, the Karate Commando himself (remember that series?). Team him up with Lee Marvin, throw in Steve ‘American Ninja’ James, Robert Vaughn, Bo Svenson, George Kennedy, Robert Forster playing a middle eastern terrorist and some gratuitous Shelly Winters footage and you’ve got The Delta Force – arguably one of the finest tough guys movies to come out of the Cannon Films Tough Guy Movie Factory of the 1980s.

    Palestinian terrorists calling themselves the New World Revolutionary Organization, led by Abdul (Robert Forster), hijack a jetliner on its way from Europe to New York. Their demands include relocating the flights destination to Beirut, and as terrorists often do, they intend to kill off passengers one at a time until they get what they want. The Pentagon, once they get word of the situation in the skies, calls in their best – the Delta Force –a crack team of anti terrorist commandos lead by Major Scott McCoy (Chuck Norris) and Colonel Nick Alexander (Lee Marvin). These guys are the best at what they do, and what they do is infiltrate, track down, and eliminate terrorist groups in situations like this. As the tagline on the poster says, ‘they don’t negotiate with terrorists… they blow them away!’ Thankfully, to help them blow the terrorists away, Chuck Norris has a motorcycle that launches rockets, while George Kennedy, as a Catholic priest named Father O’Malley, accompanies the Jewish passengers the terrorists plan to do away with all while holding out hope that someone will save them before that can happen.

    Loosely based on an actual terrorist hijacking (TWA Flight 847 which was taken over by Hizbullah terrorists in 1985 – though the plane in the movie is branded AWT – close enough, right?), The Delta Force is full of eighties action movie clichés and racial stereotypes sure to offend a lot of people who take offence to such things. If you can chalk it up to part of the era in which it was made, however, you can enjoy what would sadly be Lee Marvin’s last film for the slam bang brainless shoot’em up that it is. Cannon Films was and still is famous for churning out the modestly budgeted action movies that typify the '80s using their stable of action movie regulars (Norris, as well as Bronson being the big two, with honorable mention going to American Ninja's Michael Dudikoff), and The Delta Force is a prime example of just how mindlessly entertaining some of their catalogue is. It starts off seriously enough, but once Chuck Norris has posed as a Canadian news reporter to make his way into the country, all bets are off and before you know it Chuck is sliding down conveniently placed wires off the tops of buildings and shooting anyone who gets in his way.

    Faux patriotism crammed down our throats, a massive body count with minimal American casualties, gangs of dirty looking Arabic despots up to no good (handled in a way that was very similar to how Asians were handled in a lot of movies made in and around the era of the Second World War) and the coolest (albeit utterly ridiculous) assault motorbike ever made all make for a fast paced film that throws historical accuracy out the window. Menahem Golan’s direction is decent, Chuck Norris is as wooden as ever (taking on Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson levels of non acting in a few scenes) and Lee Marvin is as grouchy and cantankerous as you could ever hope and the film is all the better for it. It isn’t Norris’ best film (that’d have to be The Octagon) nor does it feature any ninjas but it does blow a lot of stuff up really nicely and provide plenty of great one liners, lots of excellent action scenes and all manner of awesome flag waving lunacy. For that, we thank you Cannon Films.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    MGM presents The Delta Force on Blu-ray in an impressive AVC encoded 1.78.1 widescreen 1080p high definition transfer that looks really, really good. The previous R1 DVD release was fullframe, though the R2 was also widescreen – but both pale in comparison to this release. Detail is excellent save for a couple of murky looking shots here and there and texture is also very impressive. Colors are reproduced very nicely and look nice and lifelike while contrast appears to be set properly as well. Black levels may not be reference quality but they’re pretty damn close and shadow detail is also generally quite strong. There are no issues with compression artifacts and there doesn’t appear to be any evidence of digital manipulation, meaning no obvious noise reduction and a nice, moderately grainy, film like appearance free of any serious print damage. All in all, it’s really hard to imagine the movie looking any better on Blu-ray than it does here. MGM have done a very, very nice job with this title.

    Also strong is the English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track. There are some nice moments where some left to right channel separation helps bring a bit more boom to the action scenes and there’s a strong low end anchoring the explosions and gun shots. Dialogue is clear, easily discernible and free of any noticeable hiss or distortion. The horribly dated but instantly recognizable score sounds about as good as it can and all in all the audio is also a marked improvement over previous DVD releases. An optional DTS-HD Mono option is provided in French with optional subtitles available in French, Spanish and English SDH.

    The only extra on the disc is the film’s theatrical trailer.

    The Final Word:

    The Delta Force might be very much a product of the decade in which it was made but that doesn’t take away from its entertainment value or its awesomeness, which is made even all the more awesome in high definition. At the time of this writing, the disc is a Wal-Mart Exclusive – so there’s that, and MGM hasn’t done much in the way of extras here, but the improved audio and video are both substantial upgrades over what we’ve had before and anyone into the film should consider this disc pretty much essential.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!