Film Review: A Force of One (1979)

Release Date: June 1979
Directed by: Paul Aaron
Written by: Pat E. Johnson, Ernest Tidyman
Music by: Dick Halligan
Cast: Chuck Norris, Jennifer O’Neill, Clu Gulager, Ron O’Neal, Bill Wallace

American Cinema Releasing, 90 Minutes


A Force of One was wedged between two other Chuck Norris “classics”, Good Guys Wear Black and The Octagon. This film fit the same vibe of the other two. They’re almost a trilogy of sorts due to their similar tone and being that they capture that late 70s/early 80s low-budget action film style. They were also the start of Chuck Norris as the star. I’m ignoring Breaker! Breaker!, which preceded these, because it was god awful yet somehow didn’t wreck Norris’ career before it started.

The premise for A Force of One is so goofy and the situations so cookie cutter for the time, that it makes it an amusing film. Basically, there is a karate killer targeting undercover detectives so the police force sends their detectives to learn karate from Chuck Norris (his character’s name isn’t even important). Norris then falls for the lead cop chick, gets caught up in the mess, one of his pupils gets murdered by the karate killer, he discovers that the karate killer is one of his own and he goes out for REVENGE!

There’s nothing exceptional about this film other than it is entertaining for it’s ridiculousness and it helped move Chuck Norris’ career a little further. I can’t comment much on the artistic merits of the film because there really weren’t any. The script was pretty much the same script that has been recycled since this genre began. The acting was less than mediocre. The action was typical and nothing extraordinary. However, there was a generic karate cop killer, so there’s that.

I liked The Octagon, which followed this film, a lot better because at least it had a gang of ninjas and a Double Dare style obstacle course for Chuck Norris to fight the ninjas in.

Rating: 6/10

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