Sunday, May 16, 2010

Code of Silence (1985) - ActionFest Buffet: Plate #7

On the Menu: CODE OF SILENCE (1985)
Ingredients: Chuck Norris, Dennis Farina, Henry Silva, Ralph Foody, Bert Remsen, Joseph Guzaldo, Molly Hagan and John Mahoney. Directed by Andrew Davis. Run time: 90 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: How could I not see a Chuck Norris flick during a film festival with the man himself as the guest of honor? It was either this or BRADDOCK: MISSING IN ACTION III, and not having seen the first two made my decision easier. Plus, the program described CODE OF SILENCE as his "most critically acclaimed" film.

Sgt. Eddie Cusack (Norris) is a good cop, who prefers to work alone.

Unfortunately, an undercover job goes bad when an Italian gang gets to the targeted Colombian gang right under the noses of Cusack's crew. To make matters worse, one of his veteran guys (Foody) kills an innocent kid and plants a gun at the scene to save his job.

Now, there's an Internal Affairs investigation, and Cusack gets partnered with the rookie (Guzaldo) who was the bad cop's partner.

The Colombians want revenge on the Italians as well as Cusack, who is being shunned by his department for
speaking out against the old cop who killed the kid. This means Cusack is on his own.

But, that's just the way he likes it.

Tough to Swallow: The film introduces the Prowler, a new robot cop (you know, the kind that will one day replace human policemen). It's pretty much a mini-tank that's operated by remote control. Anyway, the sales rep (Mahoney) introduces it to the cops and hypes the "lightweight" remote.

Lightweight? Really?

There are a lot of continuity issues, but I didn't jot down any specifically (mostly dead bodies switching positions or things changing during chase scenes).

Something to Chew On: Theater audience = 14.

Clint Eastwood and Kris Kristofferson both passed on the film before it went to Norris.

This is Farina's second film credit. He made his debut in THE THIEF (1981).

Director Andrew Davis's father plays Felix Scalese, the godfather of the Italian gang.

Davis is from Chicago and likes to shoot his films there, including this one.

Davis went on to direct ABOVE THE LAW, THE PACKAGE, UNDER SIEGE and THE FUGITIVE (all of which employ a good amount of the same actors, including a few from CODE OF SILENCE).

Foody appeared in ABOVE THE LAW and THE PACKAGE, but might be best known for his role as the movie gangster, Johnny, in HOME ALONE.

The abandoned building Luna and his crew use as part of their raid on the Camachos was owned by two Chicago police officers at the time.

The film currently has a 5.6 user rating on (1,800 votes).

Aftertaste: I have to say I wasn't expecting a cop drama. I figured, since it was Chuck, there'd be more action. Don't get me wrong, there are some great stunts. The fight on top of the L train ending with a dive into the Chicago River is probably the most notable.

I think I was more interested in the subplot involving the crooked cop than I was the gang war/revenge storyline. Sure, CODE OF SILENCE is no SERPICO (by a long shot), but the characters are pretty good. Silva is a great villain.

Chuck proves to be a competent dramatic actor. Kudos to Davis and company for giving him a decent script and good direction. The two scenes where Cusack goes to fight the gangs on his own don't necessarily play out the way you'd think (the last one because it's a little silly).

What kills the movie is the Prowler. It's inclusion is totally pointless and ruins the seriousness of the story.

I imagine the critics liked this because it had DIRTY HARRY feel, and they hadn't been subjected to Steven Seagal movies yet.

Overall, it's a decent cop drama with some memorable stunts.

However, twenty-five years, a Total Gym and 8 seasons of "Walker, Texas Ranger" later, it will be hard for you to watch without chuckling (ha).

For me, the coolest part about watching this movie was, when I walked out of the theater after the credits, Chuck was about 20 feet away standing in the lobby. Why couldn't that happen with a Jessica Biel, Jennifer Aniston or Elisha Cuthbert movie?


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