Chuck Norris is one of those figures who often tests my ability to separate the art from the artist. As much as I loved Chuck’s B-movie action antics of the Eighties and beyond, he has since become an irresponsible voice among the pack of celebrities who feel the need to offer an opinion on sociopolitical topics. I don’t begrudge the man for being religious, but it’s the way a celebrity used their platform, with which they should be judged. I realize that tensions run high, and especially during election years, but at one point Chuck took to his podium, and exclaimed that America as a whole either adapt Norris’ line of thinking, and support his specific candidate of choice, or suffer “1,000 years of Darkness.” Things like this are devoid of any and all value. But boy, do I love some Invasion U.S.A. and Missing in Action.
The most “important” movie in this duo of Blu-ray releases is Invasion USA. While I enjoy Braddock for what it is, it’s certainly one of the weaker entries into the unintended Missing in Action franchise. On top of being an overall darker, and more mean-spirited film, Invasion USA gave birth to the cheesy, yet iconic line, in which Norris threatens to hit a guy with so many lefts, that he’s going to beg for a right. It’s not that Invasion is a particularly spectacular action film, but it almost embodies the spirit of Canon Films. It’s also a pretty mean-spirited film, with plenty of senseless crimes committed against innocent civilians. The suburban soccer family, their children, their grandmothers, their dogs, none of them are safe. The Missing in Actions, Braddock especially, are far more sentimental.
Don’t get me wrong, Norris disposes — in all manor of palpably violent displays of stunt-centric action sequences — of plenty of baddies in the Missing in Action movies, and in Braddock. But at its core, it’s a movie about hope. Rescuing people from a life of torturous captivity. It’s good to have two Chuck Norris movies like this released at the same time. It shows you that, even if Norris didn’t have the range to remain a regarded actor once his schtick wore thin on general audiences, he still appeared in a diverse collection of movies. It’s interesting to see him speaking from his pedestal now, warning us of consequence of a society which has — in his estimation — become morally bankrupt. It reminds me of a time when he was the bearded cornball, who didn’t think twice before snapping a dude’s neck like a twig.
Invasion U.S.A. and Braddock: Missing in Action III are now available on Blu-ray(individually) courtesy of Shout! Factory. The video transfers are more than acceptable. While I didn’t notice any overly-evident instances of digital tampering, a minimal amount of “restoration” has occurred. The image is clear, detailed, but also features an appropriate amount of grain, as well as the occasional print imperfection. Each release’s audio track is also more-than-acceptable. No issues at all to report. Invasion U.S.A. includes several extra features, including a new audio commentary with the director, Joseph Zito, and new interviews with Writer James Bruner, and effects artists Tom Savini, Howard Berger and GregNicotero, There is also a theatrical trailer, a TV spot, and if memory serves, a trailer for Braddock: Missing in Action III. The latter includes no bonus content.