Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

So for this blog thing I do I’m compiling a list of the baddest bad-asses in movies, at least in movies I’ve seen, and I’m remembering this movie ‘Code of Silence’. I’m not a Chuck Norris guy and I never really have been fan but I did remember liking this movie. A lot. But then I was also a teenager when I last saw this flick so who knows how well it would hold up twenty five years later. But in trying to remember ‘Code of Silence’ I was pondering if Eddie Cusack would belong on my list of greatest movie bad-asses. Now there are some stringent criteria for this list which I’m not going to get into here but after revisiting ‘Code of Silence’ for the first time in a long time I’m grateful that Eddie Cusack didn’t hear these foolish thoughts of mine, materialize behind me and subsequently slap me senseless for even thinking such nonsense.

Dateline Chicago. We are hanging with gruff Police Sergeant Eddie Cusack as he and his crew of cops are on a sting operation to bring down a massive drug deal spearheaded by some evil Colombians. What the cops didn’t know is that rouge Italian mobster Tony Luna (Mike Genovese) was running his own little sting that consisted of killing everybody, taking the drugs and snatching up the loot. Luna’s plan works pretty good as he takes out most of the Colombians, injures Cusack’s partner Dorato (Dennis Farina) and makes off with his ill gotten goods. The only hiccup with this plan is that Colombians really don’t like getting ripped off. Ask Luna’s Granny about this. Comacho (Henry Silva), the leader of this crew of extremely brutal Colombian drug dealers, a man who Cusack has been chasing so long he’s on a first name basis with all of his henchman, wants his kilo of flesh. To this end Comacho sets about killing everything and everybody who might have had any connection to Tony Luna at any time in their life.

This would include Luna’s precocious adult daughter Diana (Molly Hagen) who has long distanced herself from the family’s activities, but guess what… Comacho doesn’t give a damn about any of that. Ask Diana’s mom about this. So if Eddie Cusack does nothing else, he’s going to save this woman come hell or high water. It would be nice if his cop buddies would help him out but they’re all pissy about Eddie’s testimony against drunken cop Cragie (Ralph Foody) who mistakenly shot this poor kid during the opening sting operation and then planted a piece on him to save his ass.

But you know… I’m thinking their presence won’t be necessary. In fact they probably would’ve done nothing but get in the way. So let’s say you have 45 or so heavily armed, super angry, super brutal Colombian mercenaries on your side… I have one angry white dude in jeans that look like they are a tad bit too tight and his robot on my side. It’s complicated, but the bottom line is I’m not liking your chances.

So I’m watching this movie ‘Code of Silence’ and loving this movie all over again, because there is a lot to love about this movie, and I’m wondering why Chuck Norris wasn’t able to capitalize on the success of this movie. By capitalize I mean why weren’t there better movies because there were plenty of projects that came after this one which I’m sure helps keep the 70 year old Norris in total right-wing comfort. We’ll just say that director Andrew Davis, who went on to direct a number of fine films including ‘The Fugitive’ really has a firm grip on how to direct an action flick.

Chuck Norris for his part was great in this movie. I’m sure even Mr. Norris’ biggest fans would admit that he’s not the best actor of his generation, but this movie scales back the dialog of Eddie Cusack, strips him of most emotion outside of anger, and highlights the two things that Chuck Norris is good at which is looking mean and kicking ass. Since Eddie Cusack says so little, when he does say something it’s worth listening to. ‘If I want your opinion I’ll beat it out of you’ for example. Mind you Eddie recited that inspired line walking into a hornets nest of Colombians before getting into a one on fifty fist fight with those clowns. Eventually the Colombians won this fight, having to cheat to do so and they could’ve taken Eddie out then and there but decided to let him live. After the insanely over the top final shootout sequence, this would prove to be the worst decision in the history of the world.

In addition to the solid action and Mr. Norris’ best performance ever or since, though for some reason I do have fond memories of ‘The Hero and the Terror’, there are good performances all around in this movie from the likes Dennis Farina who I don’t think has ever been bad in anything and Molly Hagen who had to provide all the emotion for this movie. She didn’t seem all that Italian to me but I’m no genealogist so what the hell do I know.

Great action movie this ‘Code of Silence’ and David Frank’s score was so funky 80’s-riffic that I might need to track down a copy of it. And Eddie Cusack is now an official charter member of the bad-ass ring of honor for making the city of Chicago the safest place on the planet Earth. Folks from Heaven come down to Chicago to vacation thanks to Eddie Cusack.

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