The Delta Force (1986)
By: Devon B. on May 6, 2013 | Comments
MGM (USA) | Region Free | 1.78:1, 1080p | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 | 129 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Menahem Golan
Starring: Chuck Norris, Lee Marvin, Robert Forster, Martin Balsam, George Kennedy
Screenplay: James Bruner, Menahem Golan
Country: USA
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While my hatred of Walmart remains intact, I did compromise my value system to order their exclusive Chuck Norris Blu-rays. Of the three movies, I saved The Delta Force for last because I figured Lee Marvin's presence guaranteed it would be the best of the lot. How wrong I was.

The film begins with a scene where Norris sports a moustache only, which I always find disconcerting. The film flashes forward and then Norris is back to his normal, bear-like self. Norris is called in from retirement to accompany the delta force when a plane is hijacked by a group of Lebanese terrorists who are lead by… Robert Forster? That's like the first 30 minutes of the movie summed up right there. There's some confusing terrorist shenanigans, with the terrorists flying to one country, then leaving, getting hassled and then returning to the first country. I think. The terrorists also seem to have some elaborate plan that I didn't really grasp. After a long time, the delta force eventually get to have a proper crack at stopping the terrorists. Maybe instead of the delta force they should've sent an alpha-team, then it wouldn't have all taken so long.

At over two hours, The Delta Force is a trial to get through. The film could lose 30 plus minutes easily, so the film is way too long and the first 80 minutes or so are pretty boring. There's a little bit of humour, intentional and otherwise, but not enough to keep the average viewer engaged while the film pads out its runtime. The climactic stuff is much better, but my brain had shut down way before the action finally started. I thought for awhile the lack of humour was because Norris' ego was kept in check, he even shoots at some bad guys and misses, but he eventually gets to battle the terrorists in his cartoonish way so that's when the movie gets better for Norris fans. He still doesn't do much martial arts, which begs the question: Why was Norris cast in this sort of thing? This is a roll almost anyone could do, so why the producers didn't get someone who could act instead of Norris is beyond me.

The rest of the cast didn't wow me either, and Marvin is given sweet F.A. to do for most of the film. The cast has a whole bunch of recognisable thespians from years gone by like Forster, Robert Vaughn, Shelly Winters and George Kennedy, but it doesn't really matter who is in the cast when for the bulk of the film nothing happens.

Like most of Norris' oeuvre, The Delta Force is jingoist claptrap, and MGM have reinforced this with a new cover that has two US flags on it. While the film tries to make the concession that one terrorist isn't such a bad guy unless he's dealing with a Jewish male, that's about as close to understanding and compassion that the film gets. The movie is more focused on Americans justifying inhumane treatment of their enemies and showing that loss of life only matters if it's an American that's snuffed it. Usually I just laugh at this right-wing nonsense, but because I'd been bored so long, I found it hard to gloss over in The Delta Force.

The Delta Force becomes more fun during the climactic stuff, but my mind wandered way before that. I spent a lot of time wondering how the people coped sitting on a plane in the Beirut heat without air conditioning, and if I was focused on that in a Norris movie, it's a safe bet there's not enough action in it.
The Disc
Like the other titles in MGM's Norris line, The Delta Force has scrubbed up well. Presented at a slightly cropped ratio of 1.78:1, the image is clean and has good detail. There are a few spots and the transfer has a bit of edge enhancement, but for what it is The Delta Force looks great. Our sound options are English DTS-HD Maser Audio 2.0; German DTS 2.0; and French, Italian and Spanish 1.0 DTS-HD Master Audio tracks. The English track seemed the best when toggling through, which makes sense because the only other stereo track is the German one, and that's lossy. The English audio is clear and clean, and gets a chance to kick into gear towards the end when gunfire and explosions finally start happening. A trailer for The Delta Force is the only extra on offer.
The Verdict
I had high hopes for The Delta Force, but its laissez-faire attitude towards slow pacing left me struggling. The Blu-ray is another good release from MGM, so fans should be happy with it even if I wasn't. 
Movie Score
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