Monday, March 24, 2014


Mad Scientists. Mad Slashers. Kung Fu fury.

Chubby Comic Relief.

"Silent Rage" has it all. It also boasts examples of all 4 of what I feel are the 4 integral ingredients of a great "B" movie.

1."What the Hell?" dialogue: "Look at that cell structure!!!"

2.Out of Place Martial Arts mayhem: Chuck Norris takes apart a bar full of bikers and the antagonist at the end of the film with his high kicking antics.

3. Hey, It's that guy!!!!: Steven Keats, Stephen Furst (Flounder from "Animal House"), and Ron Silver (!), who sadly passed away early.

4.Overacting alert!!! Steven Keats in his mad scientist rage of cellular and biological superiority spews venomous f-bombs at eventual Oscar winner Ron Silver (in an early role for him)

Ron Silver's patient, Brian Libby (referenced in "Hot Fuzz", Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright are geniuses) is on the edge and medicated at the beginning of this classic.
His landlady's noisy children drive him over the edge and he murders two people with an axe before Mr. Norris and Silver show up. After much violent struggling and a temporary handcuffing in brief police car incarceration, our soon to be slasher, John Kirby, is gunned down.

After he kicks the squad door off from the inside.  Roll eyes here.

Shortly thereafter in a Texas hospital, biological scientist Keats, for reasons unknown to the audience works as a surgeon with psychiatrist Silver. They try unsuccessfully to save the life of Kirby, played well nearly worldessly by Brian Libby. Keats then tries to play God by injecting an experimental chemical into Kirby, (who is an excellent choice for such a thing by the way, to the film's credit, Silver's character DOES make that point), turning him into an indestructable version of the psycho he already was.

The rest of the film is a generic slasher movie, although skillfully executed to some degree with the use of some tension, and an eerie synthesizer created soundtrack. The odd addition of Norris as the hero (this was post indy-"A Force of One", "Octagon" Norris, but pre-Cannon--"Missing in Action" Norris.) is truly weird, and Furst as Norris' silly sidekick doesn't really work for the most part. I kept expecting him to ask "So, you guys playing cards?"  Chuck doesn't act here as much as "exist", while the pros around him being Silver, Keats, Furst and Toni Kalem, as his love interest, do the heavy lifting.

 If you can call it that. Give them credit, they do well with what material they have.

"Silent Rage" obviously is a mess, but an entertaining one, however, with a decent genre climax. Norris was obviously an excellent cinema martial artist, and it shows here. He doesn't do much else right. When he's not throwing his trademark standing spin kicks and jump crescents, he's cringe-inducing.

But overall, it is what it is (I hate that phrase).  A good "B" grade horror/sci-fi/karate move.

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