Bad Movie Wednesday

One of a continuing series

This is a Chuck Norris movie, so you know he’s going to kick a bunch of ass. Code of Silence came out in 1985, released by Orion pictures. Forget the plot. Here’s a summary. Details are from Wikipedia. I caught it on Amazon Prime Video.

Chuck Norris is Sergeant Eddie Cusack, apparently with the Chicago PD. Opening scenes show a variety of characters who seem to be just hanging around. Obviously, they are cops, waiting for something to go down. And it does.

A confidential  informant pretends to set up a massive drug by in an upstairs room. He’s wired for sound, so the undercover cops loitering around can hear what’s going on. Everybody gets together around a table, and piles of cash and powder change hands.

Bad news. Another gang wants to horn in, so they set up shop in a room directly across the alley and machine gun the contents of the drug room. Then they lay a ladder across the alley and tread over to pilfer the contents, but cash only.

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This goes wrong on two levels. First, one of the shot-up druggies is not dead, and he drops an opposing ganger into the alley with a couple of well-situated shots. Then the cops rush in and make mash of what’s left.

One of the cops is street-weary Detective Cragie (Ralph Foody), who gets jumpy and pumps two slugs into a building tenant. Cusack’s partner, Detective Nick Kopalas (Joe Guzaldo), watches as Cragie covers up the crime by planting a gun on the dead teenager. This introduces the theme of the movie, the code of silence. Police officers don’t rat out fellow cops when they screw up this way. Anyhow, Cusack refuses to go along with any cover-up, with the code of silence, hence the title.

But back to the gangs involved. The people doing the drug deal are a Colombian gang, and the ones who ambushed them are a local Italian Mafia family. This ignites a gang war, which quickly gets serious. Posing as a produce home-delivery service, the Colombians draw family members out of their home. Then the back of the back of the truck opens, revealing men with automatic weapons. The Colombians gun down the family members in the street, then they go inside the house and kill everybody there.

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Luring victims outside and machine gunning them on the street is a rehash from a device that opened Commando, featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Cusack gets on their trail. He follows the 18-year-old daughter of the Italian gang member, and observes she is also a target of the Colombians. He breaks up an attempt to take her hostage and chases one of the Colombians onto a moving elevated train. This is, of course, a recap of the same scene in Steve McQueen’s final movie, The Hunter.

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Take a look at the poster for the 1980 movie. It’s possibly the same Chicago train.

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There is another classic movie scene director Andrew Davis liked so much, that he used again. Here two armed robbers prepare to take down a local bar. They rehearse in the car before sauntering in, one at a time. It’s only when they pull their weapons they realize they are in a cop bar, and find themselves facing about a dozen drawn weapons. This scene has nothing to do with the plot, but director Davis apparently realized he didn’t have enough material for 101 minutes, so he stuck this in. Even so, it was fun to watch, again.

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Davis enjoyed—I did, too—the chase scene from The French Connection so much, he made a go at a redo. Here Cusack chases the Italian godfather, his nephew, and their driver, until the Italians crash and burn. Great action.

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The Colombians have snatched the girl, and Cusack arranges a meeting with them. He’s supposed to bring the Italian ring leader to exchange, but that wop is now dead, so he brings an arsenal instead. For snitching on Detective Cragie, Cusack has been blackballed by the his fellow cops, so, in true Chuck Norris style, he has to go in and take out the entire gang by his lonesome. This is a repeat from Invasion U.S.A and also Commando.

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Cusack also brings along a gadget almost out of RoboCop, which actually came out two years later. It’s a robotic, autonomous, police assistant. And does it ever have some mean fire power.

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Meanwhile, his cop buddies have fallen into line and are rushing to come to Cusack’s assistance. But too late. By the time reinforcements arrive, Cusack has killed all the Colombian gang and rescued the girl (Molly Hagan) wonderfully innocent and vulnerable, here with her hands tied together above her head and awaiting her fate, she observes Cusack’s heroics.

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To be sure, this movie is designed  to create work for the Hollywood stunt industry, which does get a workout. Norris is at his best, taking on a barroom packed with Colombians and, as always, kicking a bunch of ass.

Lots of ammo burned off, piles of dead bodies, reused plot devices. Bring some popcorn.

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One thought on “Bad Movie Wednesday

  1. Pingback: Bad Movie Wednesday | Skeptical Analysis

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