I just reviewed a Chuck Norris film called 'Lone Wolf McQuade' where Norris plays a reclusive Texas Ranger who solves his own problems, doesn't play well with others, and says things like "I don't need a partner." Imagine my surprise when I turned on Chuck Norris' 'Code of Silence' and found out he plays a reclusive Chicago detective who solves his own problems, doesn't play well with others, and says things like "I don't need a partner." He knows his niche, I'll give him that.
Chuck Norris doesn't like silence. In particular the code of silence employed by his fellow officers after one of the department's detectives shoots an unarmed kid in a firefight and then plants a gun on that kid. Norris, who plays Eddie Cusack, walks around the police department with that Norris grimace he's so fond of. It's easy to see he doesn't care much, if at all, for his fellow co-workers, and he lets it show.
As Cusack is fighting off the police department who has banded together against him, he must also quell the escalation of violence between rival drug lords. Of course this throws an innocent, attractive female into the cross-fire (exactly like what happened in 'McQuade'). Cusack soon finds himself trying to protect Diana Luna (Molly Hagan) from people that want to kidnap her.
The movie allows plenty of Chuck Norris round-house kicking action, which for Norris fans is why you would think about purchasing this movie in the first place. There's a part where Cusack finds himself surrounded by dozens of thugs in a small room. These kinds of scenes are great because if the thugs thought logically they'd be able to end the fight before it even started. Just pile on all at the same time and take him down. Nope, they decide to go the other route. Even though there's 20 some-odd guys around, each guy takes his turn individually and is summarily kicked, punched, or head-butted by Norris' legendary appendages.
Like 'McQuade,' 'Code of Silence' follows every cliché in the police procedural book. Cusack is a lone… umm, what's the word I'm looking for here… uh… wolf. Yes, that's it. He's a lone wolf and he's going to take on the city's drug war by himself. Of course he ends up finding help from a partner he never needed in the first place… come to think of it, that happens in 'McQuade' too. How are these two movies not related in sequel form?
If you're really into Chuck Norris action then 'Code of Silence' is a pretty good one. It has it's down moments, like when Norris goes all fish-out-of-water and heads headlong into an art gallery opening. However, there are enough kicks to the mid-section to satiate Norris fanatics.
My favorite part of 'Code of Silence'? It was seeing Ralph Foody play Det. Cragie, the guy who shot the kid. Foody is the very same actor who played Johnny in the fictional movie 'Angels with Filthy Souls' which Kevin McAllister watches in 'Home Alone.' Every time he talked was surreal. I thought at any moment he was going to tell someone to "get your ugly, yella, no-good keister off my property, before I pump your guts full of lead!" Sadly, thinking about 'Home Alone' was about the most memorable experience I had with 'Code of Silence.'
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This MGM release comes in a standard Blu-ray keepcase. It's been pressed on a 50GB Blu-ray Disc. It's coded for Region A use.
This 1985 release looks like many of MGM's catalogue titles. Murky, mucky, and soft. The grain structure has been kept intact for this 1080p presentation and boy is it heavy. People who scoff at really heavy grain are going to have a hard time getting through this one. It's apparently that hardly any DNR was used here, which is good, the natural look of the film just doesn't lend itself well to the high-def format.
Everything from close-ups to long-range shots are hazy at best. Fine detail is blurred out for the most part. This softness makes things like hair appear as giant clumps rather than individual strands. There's one guy in here that sports the world's best mullet. I wish I could've seen it clearer than it's produced here. Colors are generally muted and restrained. Blacks are the worst part of the whole proceeding. They're flat, unresolved and have a crushing effect on any sort of shadows.
Errant noise in the picture like specks and blips are regularly seen throughout the movie. Light bleeds through darker edges whenever a brighter backlight is presented behind darker foreground objects. It looks and feels like an 80s movie. It just doesn't translate well to Blu-ray.
Here we are presented with a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mono mix that simply does its job and nothing more. Sans bells or whistles, this audio mix is a straight forward affair that may seem jumbled at times.
Clarity is somewhat of an issue, but it's mainly due to the source's age. Like most early 80s catalogue titles, dialogue has a hollowness to it. Music exhibits high-end brashness. Gunshots and other sound effects like punches and kicks, lack oomph. Other sound effects like elevated trains are overpowering to just about everything else.
This is exactly what you'd expect from a mono track, although I'm not really sure that 'Code of Silence' would've made for a great surround sound track either. The mono track gets you through the movie and that's about it.
I'm really not the target group for a Chuck Norris movie like 'Code of Silence.' Norris never really did it for me anyway. He always seemed like too much of a parody of himself to take him seriously. 'Code of Silence' is a rehash of 'Lone Wolf McQuade' which came out a couple years earlier. The video and audio are only so-so. Norris fans will no doubt pick it up, but I'd say it's a rental at best for everyone else. Assuming you can't find it playing on some obscure action-all-the-time cable channel.