Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Delta Force Blu-ray Review

The Delta Force stars Chuck Norris and Lee Marvin.  It is the story of a 707 aircraft jetliner that is hijacked by Lebanese terrorists.  The terrorists demand that the pilot take them to Beirut. What the terrorists don’t realize is that an elite team of commandos led by Major McCoy (Norris) and by Colonel Alexander (Marvin) as been called into service to eliminate all terrorists on the jetliner and who’s involved in the hijacking and try to retake the plane before the terrorists kill all the hostages.  The Delta Force was directed by Menahem Golan and also stars Joey Bishop, Robert Forster, George Kennedy, Shelley Winters, Bo Svenson, and Robert Vaughn.

Chuck Norris Fact: Chuck Norris doesn't mow his lawn, he stares at it and dares it to grow.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
During the eighties, Chuck Norris wisely involved himself in a series of movies that catered to the American mood at the time, with stories about taking out airline terrorists and hostage takers or about rescuing American POWs in Vietnam.  In fact, The Delta Force was inspired by a series of real events that were combined and fictionalized for this movie.  The beginning of the film was inspired by the aborted attempt to rescue the hostages that were held in the American Embassy in Iran (Operation: Eagle Claw).  The next part involved the real life hijacking of TWA Flight 847 and the end of the film took its inspiration from the Israeli hostage rescue operation known as Operation Entebbe.  Once those events were combined and then Chuck Norris-ed into shape, it became the red-blooded American wish fulfillment tale that we all know.

Mirroring what really happened in 1980 during Operation Eagle Claw, the movie opens with the Delta Force's aborted mission thanks to a deadly helicopter crash.  Among those soldiers is Major Scott McCoy (Chuck Norris) who disobeys orders from his superior officer Colonel Nick Alexander (Lee Marvin) when he goes into the burning helicopter to rescue one of his men Pete Peterson (William Wallace).  All of the men are disgusted that the mission was called off thanks to the politicians and the lack of military intelligence, but McCoy is upset enough about it that he resigns his commission.

Five years later, another group of terrorists known as the New World Revolutionary Organization with the aid of some sympathetic airline workers, hijack American Travelways Boeing 707. The terrorists are led by a true believer called Abdul Rifi (Robert Forster) who along with his number two man Mustafa (David Menachem) force Captain Roger Campbell (Bo Svenson) to fly the plane to Beirut, Lebanon.  During the flight, they force flight attendant Ingrid Harding (Hanna Schygulla) to identify the Israeli passengers and relocate them to an isolated part of the plane, which she doesn't want to do because she is German.  

Meanwhile, the Delta Force has been called into action to take care of the terrorists.  As expected, McCoy rejoins them before they fly to intercept the plane.  When the plane lands in Algiers to refuel, the terrorists add some additional men and release the females and the children and at that point the Delta Force begins their assault only to discover they are outnumbered and the terrorists are waiting for them.  The Delta Force pulls their men back but the terrorists kill a U.S. Navy passenger in retaliation before taking off again with their remaining male hostages to Beirut where they transport them their stronghold.  The Delta Force follows them and set out to free the hostages once and for all despite the odds.

The Delta Force seemed more like a television miniseries than an action movie thanks to the length and the variety of stories that have been crammed together.  That combined with the borderline melodramatic acting of the airline passengers who seem to believe that they are in a different movie, and this is kind of a schizophrenic movie.  The airline parts are pretty well acted by a bunch of disaster movie veterans that include Shelley Winters, George Kennedy, Martin Balsam, Joey Bishop, and Lainie Kazan.  The action parts of the film are pretty standard Chuck Norris scenes but this time he has screen legend Lee Marvin with him, even though there's no way Marvin's character would still be on active duty at his age.  Without a doubt, the best acting in the movie belongs to Robert Forster who was so good in the role of the lead terrorist that he later complained how hard it was to escape being typecast for similar roles.  Overall, the movie was pretty good but it seems like they've combined a dramatic miniseries with a Chuck Norris movie and it doesn't quite mix as good as peanut butter and chocolate.
Video (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
This 1080p (1.78:1) transfer  is decent but nowhere near reference quality.  This is a soft looking film but there isn't a lot of the usual kind of damage that you'd expect for a film of this age.  Colors are somewhat washed out and there's quite a bit of grain present as well.  The night-time scenes have a lot of noise too and the black levels aren't as solid as I would have like but overall this is a decent transfer that could be a lot better.
Audio (3 out of 5 stars)
The Delta Force's DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track is acceptable but it sounds very dated now.  The film's dialogue comes across clearly and without any kind of problem, and the movie's original stereo presentation comes across fairly well.  The sound effects sound clean and clear and Alan Silvestri's score sounds pretty good too.  In an interesting bit of trivia, his score would later be used for eleven years for the Indianapolis 500 broadcasts on the ABC network.
Extras (1 out of 5 stars)
The only extra on this disc is the theatrical trailer which will bring down the overall score.
Summary (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The Delta Force is a pretty good movie and with this cast, it's one of Chuck Norris' best movies by default. While the hostage's stories don't exactly mix with the usual Norris fare, overall this is a pretty good movie. This Blu-ray offers some decent audio and video quality but it's too bad that there's no extras on the disc other than the film's theatrical trailer. If you are a Chuck Norris fan then you will most likely enjoy this one.

Order your copy today!


  1. Delta Force is an awesome movie.

  2. If you're a fan of the movie, then now is a good time to pick it up on Blu-ray since it looks and sounds better than the previous DVD and it's pretty cheap. Thanks for reading my review!

  3. I ordered THE DELTA FORCE last night with my brother
    I'm from Chile and i am very thrilled about the movie :D

  4. I'm glad you liked it! If you are a fan of Chuck Norris, I've recently reviewed Missing in Action 1 and 2 if you're interested. Thanks for reading the site and leaving a comment!

  5. Chuck Norris was a great action Hero, and i love Delta Force since i was 15. Thanks for the BR review il try to get this home. Good Job and keep reviewing. Greetings from Dominican Republic.

  6. It's really an amazing article. It is always nice when you read
    some thing that is informative & interesting. Excellent work.
    Keep it up!

    Delta Force Game

  7. Dear mr. Ferguson,

    I watched Delta Force tonight and was wondering if you can help me find a song.
    In one of the last scenes the terrorist Abdul (Forster) hides in a abandoned house, and Chuck Norris makes his entrance in the house with his motorbike.
    In the house there's a videotape playing with bellydancing. I'm looking for the name and/or artist of the arabic music that's on that tape. It sounds very familiar. It's not on the soundtrack and there is not much to find about it on the net.
    I hope you can help me out.

    Greetings from Holland and keep up the good job on your site!

    1. I'm sorry I didn't realize that you had left this comment so I'm very tardy in replying. I apologize for that and I wish I could tell you what the song is in the movie but I don't know it either. Thank you for reading the site and for leaving me a comment! Sorry it took so long to respond!