Invasion U.S.A. (1985)
By: Paul Ryan on April 12, 2010  | 
MGM | Region 4, PAL | 1.85:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 103 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Joseph Zito
Starring: Chuck Norris, Richard Lynch, Melissa Prophet, Alexander Zale, Eddie Jones
Screenplay: James Bruner, Chuck Norris
Country: USA
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Russian terrorists have invaded Florida, massacring Cuban refugees, setting off bombs in shopping malls and blowing up suburban homes at Christmas (being godless commies and all). Led by ice-cold psycho bastard Mikhail Rostov (Richard Lynch), there is quite literally only one person on this Earth who can stop the invasion: air-boating, gator rasslin' loner - and ex-CIA assassin - Matt Hunter (Chuck Norris).

You can pretty much guess the rest…

If you want Chuck Norris in his purest undiluted form, you simply can't do better than Invasion USA. Forget credibility, characterisation or dramatic complexity, and leave any left-leaning politics at the door. What you come here for is sheer, over-the-top carnage, and you get it with both barrels. Reunited with the writer and director of the original Missing in Action, all involved here abandon any of that film's attempts at seriousness, with much more successful results. There's a sense of anticipation prior to each act of violence which is more akin to a slasher film than an actioner, which is no surprise given director Joseph Zito previously helmed the likes of The Prowler (Rosemary's Killer) and Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter. One scene involving a horny – ergo, doomed - teenage couple is straight out of the slasher movie textbook. The violence all round is turned up to 11, with a boatload of men, women and children machine-gunned (in just the first scene), drug dealers getting their nuts shot off, crack whores heaved out of windows, bad guys blown to smithereens with rockets, and so on and so forth. It's all so insanely overwrought that it's impossible to take any of it seriously, let alone be troubled by its politics.

Norris himself is essentially an elemental force, everywhere and nowhere, always turning up when the baddies least expect it to deliver 1000 flavours of instant death. He's a swamp-dwelling loner, with no family and a bare minimum of friends (one old Native American and an armadillo), and only emerges from a comfortable seclusion to kick commie arse. Of all the films in Norris' oeuvre, this is the one that most likely inspired the whole Chuck Norris Facts meme. Chuck's expected stoniness is counterbalanced by Richard Lynch's hilarious, mad-dog villain turn. Pitch-perfect in his b-movie evilness, Lynch is immensely entertaining, neatly matching the hysterical tone of the film. The most substantial female role (Melissa Prophet's shrill, whiny – and in all likelihood, liberal – journalist) is every bit the afterthought you'd expect, but coming to a Chuck Norris film and expecting rich female characters is like going to McDonalds and complaining that there's no lobster on the menu.

Back in the day, Invasion USA carried an R18+ rating from our moral guardians at the OFLC. Now it comes to us on DVD with an MA15+ instead. So gather the family around the telly (as your kids will need to have a parent or adult guardian present, after all) and get ready to revel in some prime Reagan-era action. And tell your lilly-livered critical faculties to shut the hell up.
It's anamorphic and in the original 1.85:1 ratio. Wanting anything more than that (say, a cleaner print with less grain) is just asking a for a roundhouse kick to the face.
None of this pussy 5.1 bullshit, just meat-and-potatoes 2.0, though said meat-and-potatoes does come in English, German, Spanish, French and Polish varieties.
Extra Features
Chuck Norris movies don't need extra features. Even including just a single theatrical trailer would cause your DVD player to explode from an overload of pure awesome.
The Verdict
Bat-shit crazy and deliriously entertaining, Invasion USA breaks down all resistance like a rocket launcher to the body of an expendable Soviet commando. The DVD presentation is thoroughly basic, but to complain about that would be to invite a sudden, roundhouse kick-related demise.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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