CODE OF SILENCE
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Along with “Lone Wolf McQuade,” 20th Century Fox has also released a new Blu-ray of the Chuck Norris action film “Code of Silence.” Like “Lone Wolf McQuade,” this film features a cop on the edge. However, unlike “Lone Wolf McQuade,” “Code of Silence” deals with more urban and realistic problems.
Norris plays Eddie Cusack, a Chicago cop who cannot be corrupted. When he threatens to expose a police cover-up by breaking the blue code of silence, Cusack is shunned by his own department. This puts Cusack in the middle of a bitter feud between drug kingpins, leaving him as the only guy to take them down.
“Code of Silence” is directed by Andy Davis, who went on to direct “The Fugitive” several years later. While that was the high point of his career, you can see him cutting his teeth on the Chicago cop thriller with this movie. This film still suffers from some of the cliches of the day, especially the evil drug kingpin played by Henry Silva.
Additionally, Norris doesn’t feel quite at home in the role of a big-city policeman, not like he does as a Texas lawman. Leave these roles to other tough guys of the 80s and head into the jungle or the desert. Chuck Norris, for all his martial arts bravado, just seems too warm and cuddly to be the gritty Chicago cop.
However, the real sticking point in this movie is the bizarre introduction of a souped-up police robot named “Prowler” that looks like Johnny-5 on steroids. Made prior to “Robocop,” Prowler feels like a precursor to ED-209, but is entirely out of place in this otherwise down-to-earth “Serpico” style police drama. Sigh… this was the 80s when “Star Wars” pushed all movies to include a robot, no matter how silly it was.
Still, like the other tough guy action movies of the 80s, there’s some really nice action moments. The slow starter aspect of this movie is smoother than most as the story actually builds. By the end, especially if you can look past the ludicrousness of Prowler, there’s a solid third act which blows a lot of shit up.
This Blu-ray comes with no special features, aside from the theatrical trailer. As for the transfer, like a lot of these catalogue titles that are coming back from the DVD graveyard, it could look better. Most of the scenes come out better than “Lone Wolf McQuade,” though there are still times when the grain becomes overpowering.