What if I told you that there was an 80s action movie starring Chuck Norris called 'The Delta Force' and it was about a bunch of army dudes who kick the butts of terrorists? You'd be all over that wouldn't you? You'd be ready for the cheese factor for sure, but you'd certainly spend an hour or so watching something like that. Now what if I told two more things: 1) 'The Delta Force' is over two hours long and 2) Chuck Norris doesn't punch, kick, or shoot anyone until an hour and twenty minutes into the movie. How are you feeling about 'The Delta Force' now? Pretty crappy right? Consider this your warning.
If you aren't acquainted with the movie, here's a quick rundown of the events leading up to Chuck Norris killing people an hour later. A couple generic Middle Eastern terrorists hijack a commuter plane with hand grenades and sub-machine guns. They got these weapons because a crafty helper, disguised as one of the plane's handymen, hid them in the paper towel dispenser. Oh to be a terrorist in the 80s, when no one questioned why there was a sweaty Middle Eastern man fooling around in the lavatory in the back of the plane looking all kinds of suspicious.
There's no way a movie like this gets made today. On one hand it's far too reminiscent of the events of 9/11 and on the other hand there would be such an outcry by the Middle Eastern community of how Muslims are portrayed here (there's some really heavy-handed insinuations being thrown around here). Honestly, it's pretty ridiculous, but that's how 80s action movies were. We were afraid of foreigners so our movies were populated with bad guys from the Middle East and Russia.
Anyway, not only do the terrorists hijack the plane but they also hijack the first hour of the movie. Honestly, Norris is shown in the opening scene and then he isn't shown until an hour later when his company of men is finally brought in to deal with the problem. The rest of the time we're on the plane watching sweaty passengers become sweatier as the two terrorists on board kick them, punch them and yell furiously at them. They aren't all bad though. One of them does get a few pillows for the pregnant lady, who they're probably planning on killing anyway, but there's no sense for her to be uncomfortable before a bullet enters her brain.
'The Delta Force' is an interminably long movie that could've had a good half hour cut out of its bloated runtime. A good portion of the movie is filled with shots of the plane flying, the plane landing, the plane taxing, and the plane taking off again. The cinematic equivalent of getting a root canal perhaps. Especially when you consider the fact that Chuck Norris is waiting just off screen ready to roundhouse kick his enemies into oblivion, but we're stuck watching the finer points of aviation.
When the movie finally reaches its action you might be asleep. Do yourself a favor and fast forward to the hour and twenty minute mark right after the plane is hijacked you'll save yourself oodles of time. If you don't fast forward you'll need some kind of caffeine kick to keep you awake through all the other nonsense.
The action is your typical "Go America!" scenes from the 80s. Patriotic music plays on the soundtrack as Chuck Norris enters the scene, hops on a motorcycle, and starts shooting missiles at all those who oppose freedom and awesomeness. Norris' motorcycle resembles something that maybe James Bond would've pulled out of Q's invention cave during that time period. It's gets even better when Norris spins the bike around and shoots mortar shells out of the exhaust pipes.
The Chuck Norris-y action comes much too late for the movie. Whether you're a die-hard Norris fan or not, there's no way that the first hour of this movie can keep your interest until the terrorist butt-kicking commences. Who in the world thought a Chuck Norris movie should be 128 minutes? And why didn't Chuck Norris roundhouse kick them in the face when he realized that he'd been relegated to the last hour of his own movie?
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a MGM release, but it's also being released as a Wal-Mart exclusive. It comes in a standard Blu-ray keepcase and is pressed onto a 50GB Blu-ray Disc. It's marked as being coded for Region A.
The 1080p image of 'The Delta Force' is fuzzy, soft, full of source noise and errant film judder. In other words it looks exactly as you'd expect a third-tier B-movie from 1986 to look.
Fine detail is only had in extreme close-ups. When the camera zooms in on Norris' expressionless face you'll be able to see much of his glories Norris beard filling up the screen. However, mid- to long-range shots are soft gauzy affairs. Whenever the camera pulls away from the action lines become blurred, colors bleed, and white light seeps into darker colors creating unintentionally lighter hues.
The movie does have a 80s filmic look to it though. Barring the frequent source noise and the bad film judder to start out the movie, it settles into a heavily grainy presentation that does illicit memories of action-movies past. I can't, however, in good conscious reward this presentation with even an average rating. In all aspects the transfer came in below average, featuring numerous artifacts, crushing blacks, and really bad source noise (there are moments where black dirt spots are static and don't move for an entire scene).
Here we're only provided the stereo mix of a DTS-HD Master Audio presentation. With only two channels delivering the sound the movie sorely lacks any great sounding action. When the action starts flying and the explosions start booming, the track stays quiet.
Without the help of a sub-woofer the LFE for the explosions is extremely limited. Dialogue is routinely lost as the action mounts around them. Gunshots sound like BB guns sometime and baby rattles other times. They never give off a satisfying, realistic fun shot.
To top it off there are frequent moments in the film where lip synch doesn't jibe with the character's mouth movements. This is noticeable in the opening sequence as the guys are getting on the plane. Whether this is a mistake way back when during the ADR sessions, or whether it’s a problem with this particular mix I don't know. All I know is that it's really annoying and it happens every so often as the film progresses. This isn't an audio mix that you'll be proud of.
There are no special features.
My review could've consisted of one sentence: It takes an hour and twenty minutes before Chuck Norris fights anyone. That's all you need to know. The action that follows isn't worth sitting through the unduly long beginning of the movie. Even Norris fans should be aggravated by this movie. The video is mundane and the audio turned out rather terrible. Yet another rushed MGM release that hasn't received any sort of noticeable care from the studio. Just slap it on the disc and get it out the door. This is definitely one to avoid.