C is for Chuck Norris!
And what better way to celebrate the man the boogeyman checks his closet for each night than a review of one of his movies?
Hellbound (The Cannon Group, 1994)
Before the Camera:
Chuck Norris (Invasion USA '85)
Calvin Levels (Skyscraper)
Sheree J. Wilson (Crimewave)
David Robb (TV's Downton Abbey)
Cherie Franklin (Drag Me to Hell)
Jack Adalist (American Cyborg: Steel Warrior)
Erez Atar (Blink of an Eye)
Jack Messinger (Scanners)
Christopher Neame (Licence to Kill)
Behind the Camera:
Directed by Aaron Norris (Chuck's brother, if you didn't know)
Produced by Dean Ferrandini, Asher Gat, Yoram Globus, Allan Greenblatt, Christopher Pearce, and Anthony Ridio
Written by Brent V. Friedman and Galen Thompson / from a story by Ian Rabin, Brent V. Friedman, and Anthony Ridio
Moving into the 1990’s as one of the mainstays of action cinema, even Chuck Norris was finding it a tough haul. This release from 1994 was one of his last theatrical releases before he retreated to TV for the rest of the decade as Walker, Texas Ranger. Perhaps in an attempt to branch out, it takes Norris further afield from his previous efforts than ever before – as the action hero who had brushes with the horror genre in Silent Rage and The Hero and the Terror now jumps feet first into the supernatural. The story here takes off in the ancient past, as Richard the Lionheart and his legion of warriors show up just in time to stop the sacrifice of a young maiden by a Satanic creep named Prosatanos (Neame). But this guy is a little more than human, and he decimates the good guys before Ricky finally puts a stop to his nefarious antics. They lock Prosatanos in a magically sealed crypt and head for the hills.
Centuries later – in 1951, for no immediately discernable reason – a couple of standard issue grave robbers find the crypt and start grabbing up the baubles…including the big cross that has held the demon fast for all the intervening time. Of course moments later he’s back from the grave and ready to party, and he makes short work of the thieves, natch. Suddenly we then cut to the modern day, and we discover ol' Prosatanos is still running around 40 more years later, which and we finally meet up with Our Hero - sporting the awesome moniker Frank Shatter - as he works his Norris-y magic on some street thugs who apparently don’t spend a lot of time on chucknorrisfacts.com – not too surprising as the internet was still new in 1994 and the website hadn’t been built. Up above this street scene, ol' Prosie gets back to the business at hand by interrupting a dalliance with a toothsome female morsel to meet up with some monks. Yeah, I'm not sure why either. Well, actually I am - it's to purchase an ancient artifact vital to his plans. But it’s a trick! They aren’t bringing him the artifact – they’re trying to kill him! Yeah, that’s likely. Instead, he promptly uses everybody in the room who isn’t him as a chewtoy, throwing one out the window and onto the car hood of….guess who? And thus are our disparate story elements brought together as Chuck and partner Levels dash upstairs to get in on the action.
In the darkened room, Chuck unloads on the guy with his gun for a warmup, then escalates with his really dangerous weapons – his legs! Chuck figures out he’s dealing with the supernatural not by Prosatanos’s ability to absorb some bullets, but by his shaking off the devastating roundhouse kicks he just took. In the end, though, battling an ancient demon in a Chicago hotel room is all in a day’s work for Chuck, and after the baddie’s escape, he simply gets on the investigative case, waiting for a chance to lay his foot upside the evil creature’s head one more time. The investigation takes the boys from America to the Middle East, where they team up with the assistant (Wilson) of a famous archeologist - who just happens to look exactly like...Prosatanos! Now we know what he's been doing for forty years - building up a reputation as an archeological expert so he can find his precious artifact. Will Chuck figure it all out in time?
|What do you think?|
This one ends up a perfectly watchable Norris kickfest, but it will never be mistaken for a classic. Chuck is his usual stoic self; the partner brings on some attempts at comedy relief - some work, others not so much; Sheree Wilson looks wholesome and attractive in a completely chaste way; and Neame chews the scenery with cool demon's eye contact lenses. Director Norris got the pictures onto the film in a workmanlike way, and everything is in focus. There is an annoying subplot with a kid pickpocket who first plagues Chuck and Calvin, then overstays his welcome, but at least he's a boy - because if he'd been a girl there would have been the additional waste of running time where they discover the thief's a she - which would then lead to the later scene where Wilson takes her shopping so she can come out in a dress and discover the joys of being girly while Chuck grins avuncularly off to the side. At least we were spared that. Eventually of course it comes down to a brawl for it all, with the added bonus of Wilson strapped down in a Perils of Pauline rig to give the climax a little more oomph.
I'm really glad Chuck is appearing in The Expendables 2, because that will mean this isn't the last theatrical feature Chuck appeared in. It's not terrible for Norris fans - but it's no way to end a career of kicking tushie on The Big Screen. If you're a fan of the man who tells clocks what time it is, then you should check this out. Others need not apply.
Let's Get Out of Here ?
At right around 1:17:26, Chuck Norris thinks they've stolen enough office supplies. At approximately 1:25:14 Calvin Levels agrees with him.
Eye Candy ?
I think Sheree J. Wilson is awfully cute - but I can't give her Eye Candy status based on her sedate outfits here. Sorry Sheree.
Buddha Man's Capsule Review
|Hellbound won't pass into Norris mythology, |
but it's too good to Chuck out the door either.
I hope I can "D"-pend on you to come by for the next post - until then you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!