• Chuck Norris Collection (Slaughter In San Francisco / An Eye For An Eye / Firewalker)



    Released by: Umbrella Entertinment
    Released on: April 5th, 2017.
    Director: Wei Lo/Steve Carver/J. Lee Thompson
    Cast: Chuck Norris, Don Wong, Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree, Louis Gossett Jr. , Sonny Landham, Mako
    Year: 1971/1981/1986
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movies:

    Umbrella Entertainment offers up a three pack of ball busting Chuck Norris action! First up…

    Slaughter In San Francisco:

    Lo Wei made a name for himself directing a batch of Jackie Chan’s early films such as The Fearless Hyena II and The Killer Meteors, and of course, he directed the legendary Bruce Lee in Fists of Fury and The Chinese Connection. But the late Le Wei also had a hand in the early career of another famous martial arts superstar – a harrier and honkier one, to be sure – but a martial arts superstar none the less known as Mr. Chuck Norris. Slaughter In San Francisco, also known as Karate Cop, was one of Norris’ earliest starring roles (though technically, billing aside, he’s got more of a supporting part in this one) and while he’d go on to make much better movies in the not too distant future (all eyes are now to fall upon the majesty of The Octagon) this one is a fun time killer even if it isn’t exactly a classic.

    Corruption abounds in San Francisco and Officer Don Wong (played by Don Wong) is tasked with cleaning things up. He follows the trail throughout his department and traces some of the shady dealings to Chinatown where he and his partner, who has a bit of a drinking problem it would seem, set their sights. Sadly, Wong’s partner gets killed in action and he has to take it upon himself to solve his death and clear his own good name before it’s too late. The more Wong looks into things, the more it seems that all signs point towards a crime boss known as Chuck Slaughter (Norris) as the guilty party.

    This movie is awful. It’s a mess and it’s made even worse by the dubbing. First and foremost, Chuck Norris does not have an English accent. While this film may have been made before he was a household name bringing joy to millions and millions of people around the world through his Total Gym infomercials and the greatest series in television history, Walker: Texas Ranger, nowadays we all know the natural sound of his sexy and soothing voice and to be deprived of that same voice in this presentation is nothing short of a tragedy. On the bright side, watching Chuck Norris speak with an English accent, or more specifically watching everyone in this movie speak with an English accent (the Chinese, the African Americans, and ol’ Chuck himself), is endlessly amusing.

    If that weren’t enough, the sound effects in this film are nuts. Any time a punch is thrown or a kick is made, the same crack noise plays. Sirens tend to go off inside the police station. The dog barks but his mouth doesn’t move. Little touches like that keep the movie interesting in that none of the audible portions of the film really match up or fit with the visual portions and the results are rather mind bending. Add to that some gratuitous Chuck Norris chest hair action, some of the coolest looking thugs this side of For Your Height Only, and a ridiculous final showdown and, well, you do the math. None of it works, but it’s all fairly enjoyable and good harmless fun.

    An Eye For An Eye:

    Directed by Steve Carver, the same man who gave us River Of Death, comes his first pairing with Chuck Norris (they would make Lone Wolf McQuade together in 1983), the aptly titled An Eye For An Eye. Now the pairing of Norris and Carver would, for some of us, be more than enough to seal the deal but no, the guys at Cannon Films do you one better and throw in Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree and…. Mako!

    Sean Kane (Chuck Norris) is a narc for the San Francisco Police Department. He’s also a fan of unsettlingly tight jeans and Members Only jackets but it’s 1981 so all is forgiven. His hair is round, his fists are steel and his high-kicking legs are registered as lethal weapons. Yes, it’s clear that you don’t fuck with Sean Kane but evidently someone didn’t get that memo because shortly after the movie starts he finds his partner, Pierce (Terry Kiser), very, very dead. Kane knows that Pierce was killed by Montoya (Mel Novak), a local drug kingpin, and he’s going to pay him back in kind much to the delight of the dead cops hot girlfriend, a TV news reporter named Linda (Rosalind Chao).

    Unfortunately for Kane and for Linda, the bad guys want her out of the picture. She knows too much and when you know too much, bad guys start to figure that they’d be better off without you. That’s what happens here. Kane also knows that there’s no way that he can get this mess sorted out if he has to play by the rules, so in typical eighties cop movie style, he goes to his boss, Captain Stevens (Richard Roundtree), and he hands in his badge. Rather than rely on the SFPD, he instead turns to Chan (Mako), the man who taught him how to kick people in the first place and who just so happens to be Linda’s father. He’ll also team up with a hot chick named Heather (Maggie Cooper) who is some friend of Linda’s because it’s good for Chuck Norris to team up with hot chicks for missions like this. They know that Linda’s TV station owning boss, a rich cat named Canfield (Christopher Lee), has got more to do with this than he wants to admit, but now they’ve got to evade the bad guys, kill a bunch of other bad guys and prove that yet more bad guys are guilty before they themselves are taken out of the picture.

    Less the low level conspiracy thriller that it sounds like and more than ‘kick’em in the face, Chuck!’ balls out action film you want it to be, An Eye For An Eye is two eyes’ worth of awesome eighties action movie fun. Norris’ Kane skulks around, the death of his friends an obvious and effective motivation for his revenge tactics, and he looks tough and fierce as he does it. Norris, in his prime as he is here, is a force to be reckoned with in the fight scenes and An Eye For An Eye gives him quite a few good ones wherein he shows off his moves in a big way. These are obviously the highlights of a movie like this, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that, and Carver and his team stage and film them really well. The finale in particular is a long and virtually non-stop barrage of Kane slaughtering his way through an army of thugs and completely laying waste to them – it’s beautiful.

    So yeah, this is Norris’ show to be sure but thankfully Lee and Roundtree get enough screen time here to count. Lee sort of coasts threw this one, never giving his character the screen presence that has made some of his other roles not just memorable, but legitimately classic. But it’s Lee, and he’s got a cool moustache here and he’s fun. Roundtree doesn’t get as much screen time as we’d like but he is charismatic and a good choice for the part. Maggie Cooper, who mostly did TV work before and after this film, is quite fetching and if her performance isn’t particularly nuanced or complex, it’s not written to be. Mako tends to steal things every time he’s on screen, he’s just awesome to watch, while Rosalind Chow is a stone cold fox whose not really given much to do except show up and die early. Another awesome thing though is that the guy who plays Kane’s partner is the guy who played the dead body in Weekend At Bernie’s.

    Fast paced, violent and occasionally pretty sleazy, this is not a challenging film – in fact it’s completely predictable and in many ways a by-the-numbers production - but it is a really fun one and it makes for top notch drive-in fare.

    Firewalker:

    Directed for Cannon Films by J. Lee Thompson, Firewalker stars Chuck Norris as an adventurer for hire named Max Donigan. He and his partner, Leo Porter (Louis Gossett Jr.), are lamenting their lack of financial success in a dive bar one day when a beautiful blonde woman named Patricia Goodwin (Melody Anderson) approaches them with an offer: she’s got a treasure map and needs two men to help her find the loot. If they can pull it off, they’ll split the reward. Without knowing anymore they agree… after all, the bartender vouched for her.

    And so with that, our trio of treasure hunters head into the brush to find the treasure. Things get off to a decent enough start when the map brings them to a hidden cave where Max finds a golden ceremonial dagger, but they all know that there’s more booty to be plundered than just that single piece. In need of more information they consult with a safe old Native American named Tall Eagle (Will Sampson), bribing him with a bottle of whiskey and interrupting his I Love Lucy marathon viewing session. When they have what they need (and are warned of a ‘firewalker’!) they head back out to keep looking, unaware that the sinister El Coyote (Sonny Landham) is watching and waiting with evil intentions…

    Firewalker is fun. No more, no less, just seriously fun entertainment that’s pretty much suitable for the entire family. The humor is constant and more often than not pretty effective and the action easily stays within the confines of the film’s PG rating. Those expecting the strong violence of some of Norris’ other outings with Cannon Films might be disappointed in that regard, but the movie makes up for it with some clever one liners, nicely decorated sets and costumes and a real sense of camaraderie throughout the picture.

    If Chuck Norris doesn’t exactly have the range of, say, Sir Laurence Olivier he handles this material well. Delivering some seriously silly lines with a very dry sense of humor and he Louis Gossett Jr. basically play your typical ‘buddy cop’ duo, albeit in a different and more exotic environment. Running gags, like their being chased by an angry Chinese general (Richard Lee-Sung), help to hold our attention while the back and forth between the two men affords Robert Gosnell’s screenplay ample opportunity for amusing quipping, bickering and bantering. The two action movie stars do fine work here and Melody Anderson fits right in. None of our trio is going to break records on an IQ test anytime soon but they have an enjoyable chemistry together, enough so that when they delightfully evil Landham gives chase we want them to win the day and make it out not only alive, but with the treasure.

    Thompson’s direction isn’t flashy here but his workmanlike style is entirely appropriate to the material at hand. The movie is well paced and engaging and Álex Phillips Jr.’s cinematography does a nice job of capturing the different locations. Throw in an appropriately adventurous sounding score from Gary Chang (fresh off of 52-Pick Up!) and this is one that comes together nicely.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Each of the three films in the set is presented on its own single layered DVD in anamorphic widescreen. Slaughter In San Francisco is framed properly at 2.35.1 and the other two films framed properly at 1.85.1. Slaughter In San Francisco uses the Yellow Faced Tiger title card (a legitimate alternate title for the film) and the Fortune Star logo accompanying this release indicates that this likely uses the same transfer that was used for the R3 DVD release in 2007 under Fortune Star’s Legendary Classics banner. Umbrella released this title on its own as well, likely using the same transfer there too. Quality of the release is alright – not great, but alright. Colors vary from scene to scene and mild print damage is present throughout. Detail is okay for a standard definition offering while black levels tend to be closer to a dark grey than a true black.

    The other two films, which are a fair bit newer and not sourced from elements not stored in Hong Kong (the film industry over there wasn’t always the best at preserving materials), look quite a bit better though they are pretty soft. Colors are consistent, black levels are fine and there’s very little in the way of print damage to note at all. Both of these films have been released on Blu-ray in North America and understandably those high definition presentations trump the standard definition offerings in this collection, but all in all, as far as DVD goes, these look fine.

    Each movie in the set gets an English language Dolby Digital Mono mix. There are no alternate language options or subtitles provided. Again, the earlier film (which is presented dubbed into English) doesn’t fare quite as well as the latter two. There’s mild background hiss and occasional level spikes here and there, mild distortion also works its way into the mix. An Eye For An Eye and Firewalker don’t have these problems, they sound just fine.

    There are no extras on any of the discs, just static menus.

    The Final Word:

    Three solid Chuck Norris movies in decent shape and in one affordably priced collection? Yep, that’s exactly what this is and there’s nothing wrong with that.




























































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