Invasion U.S.A. (1985) – Joseph Zito

I decided to take a bit of a break from the Sci-Fi and Horror films (though there are films on both fronts I can’t wait to see or re-watch) and just indulge myself in some 80s action cheese.

Which brings me to the Golan-Globus production of  Invasion U.S.A., a shoot-em-up romp starring the one and only Chuck Norris.

Armed with dual micro Uzis hanging from a converted underarm holster, Norris, as ex-CIA operative Matt Hunter is trying to single-handedly stop a terrorist invasion of America.

Apparently having had enough of working for the government, Hunter is living in the wetlands of Florida, eking out an existence on the edges of society (though apparently both the Agency and the baddies can find him without the help of GPS). He’s approached by his old boss about hunting down a terrorist by the name of Rostov (Richard Lynch) whom they believe may be on American soil, and who Hunter had chased down once before.

Hunter declines.

But the Agency is right Rostov is in America, working with Nikko (Alexander Zale), the two organize a massive multi-national assault force to come ashore in Florida, and spread like a plague across the States. They are there to destabilize the government, turn the people against authority and then, when the country has torn itself apart, take over completely.

Which of course makes the film sound so much more serious than it is. In fact, if it could be reworked, that may actually be a film I’d be interested in seeing…

After Rostov leads a failed attack on Hunter’s shack, which kills his only friend, Hunter, of course, decides to take the mission, working as a vigilante to track down Rostov (which is never explained or shown after a while – he just starts arriving for set pieces) while the National Guard seeks to keep the peace by imposing martial law.

Norris does have come cool moments, coldly interrogating a man whose hand he’s pinned to a table with his knife, and then leaving him with a live grenade, but sadly lacking are any actual physical fights. The final showdown between him and Rostov, even by 80s action movie standards is a bit of a let-down.

The film is too small in scale. You hear via news reports about massive attacks all across the nation, but you never see them. Instead we get a few moments, of terrorists blowing up suburbs, posing as police and mowing down communities with shotguns, which do work, but it seems really small… this could have been a huge epic film, oh well, missed opportunity.

There was one brilliant visual moment though, when Hunter springs his trap on Rostov and company, the villilans race outside only to see a mass of military forces, and when they open fire, there is a single wide shot that shows the entire American forces firing, and there are muzzle flashes everywhere, it looked pretty sweet.

Norris strides through the film, with an inexhaustible supply of bullets and clips for his micro Uzis (until the climax of course) completely unscathed (until the climax of course) taking the army of terrorists down one by one, and even he admits for every one incident that he stops there are a hundred others that he doesn’t.

Invasion U.S.A. is a goofy little action film that doesn’t live up to its possible potential, and didn’t give me the fisticuffs that I had hoped for when I saw Norris’ name in the title.

Still, it filled an afternoon, and made me smile…

I wonder what other goofy 80s action films that I haven’t seen I should discover… recommendations?

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