The Chuck Norris Collection
R4 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (16th April 2017).
The Film

"The Chuck Norris Collection"

Martial Arts superstar Chuck Norris ("The Delta Force", "Missing in Action") set a blistering standard for fast-paced, bone-crunching action-adventure during the 1980s, developing a dynamic of hard-edged physical combat in a sensational series of full-tilt fight films.

"Slaughter in San Francisco" (1974)

When San Francisco police officers John Sumner (Robert Jones) and Don Wong (Wong Tao) save a young woman from a gang rape they set off an explosive chain of events that will rock the city ragged. With payback on the cards and a notorious drug kingpin named Chuck Slaughter (Chuck Norris in a rare turn as a badass villain) standing over proceedings, itís only a matter of time before officers Sumner and Wong kick into action to fight for justice and their lives.

"An Eye for an Eye" (1981)

Sean Kane (Chuck Norris) is a cop in the San Francisco police departmentís narcotics division. But when Kane loses his partner during a drugs bust, it's time to leave the police force and plot his revenge the only way he knows how. A quintessential 80ís revenge thriller, also featuring Mako ("Conan the Destroyer"), Richard Roundtree ("Shaft") and Christopher Lee ("The Lord of the Rings" Trilogy).

"Firewalker" (1986)

With the best years of fortune and glory behind them, aging treasure hunters Max Donigan (Chuck Norris) and Leo Porter (Louis Gossett Jr, "An Officer and a Gentleman") are on the cusp of retirement. But when Patricia Goodwin (Melody Anderson, Flash Gordon) flashes an ancient map under their noses with the lure of Aztec gold, the smell of one last adventure soon gets the better of them.

Umbrella Entertainmnet's "The Chuck Norris Collection" collects three very different films together in one package. "Slaughter in San Francisco" is a Hong Kong martial arts/police film that was shot on location in San Francisco, with Norris as the villain. Technically it is a Wong Tao vehicle to capitalize off the success of the Bruce Lee/martial arts craze but obviously he lacked the charisma of Lee to sustain a huge career. While Norris does not get a lot of screentime, he does have chances to show off his hairy chest and mustache in the few scenes he is featured. "An Eye for an Eye" is yet another San Francisco set film, but this time Norris is a cop set out to get revenge on the men that killed his partner and his partner's girlfriend. With a great roster of actors including Christopher Lee and Richard Roundtree, it's an action filled fun film but does have its comedic and awkward moments of bad dialogue and questionable plot that shouldn't be surprising. "Firewalker" is a Cannon Films production - and that means cheaply built sets and lots of action, capitalizing on the success of "Indiana Jones". Norris and Louis Gossett Jr. play archaeologists in South America, and while they are on a hunt there are loads of scenes of fighting, roundhouse kicking, machine guns, Native American supernatural powers, and other seemingly wacky scenarios. It's a plot that's all over the place but still remains extremely fun to watch.

"Slaughter in San Francisco" is a region 0 NTSC DVD which can be played back on any DVD or Blu-ray player worldwide
"An Eye for an Eye" is a region 4/7 PAL DVD which can be played back on region 4 or region free DVD or Blu-ray players
"Firewalker" is a region 2/4/7 PAL DVD which can be played back on region 2, 4, or region free DVD or Blu-ray players

Video

The three films were previously released individually by Umbrella Entertainment and this set collects the same three discs in one case. All three films have very different transfers.

"Slaughter in San Francisco" is in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement in the NTSC format. First of all, the opening credits has the title "Yellow Faced Dragon" which was used in Hong Kong so this is the Hong Kong version of the film. Although the transfer comes with a copyright 2010 from the Hong Kong licensor Fortune Star, the presentation is less than ideal, with no remastering whatsoever. There are scratches, dust, specs everywhere, colors are extremely faded, and detail is lost. The transfer is also slightly windowboxed with thin black bars on the sides of the frame. It's almost as if the transfer came from a film print found in some abandoned old theater, which may be good for a grindhouse-looking presentation. But for a DVD presentation it's terrible.

The film's runtime on the disc is 77:43, which happens to be significantly shorter than some other editions of the film on DVD. Screencaps are as follows:















"An Eye for an Eye" is in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement in the PAL format. The transfer here is good with no major damage, though colors can be a bit on the dull side. It's not a sharp transfer but average overall.

The runtime on the disc is 99:38. Screencaps are as follows:















"Firewalker" is in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement in the NTSC format. Being the most recent film in the set in the most exotic looking location, it certainly looks the best in the set. Colors look great, the image is sharp, and there are no significant damage to speak of.

The film's runtime on the DVD is 105:09. Screencaps are as follows:













Audio

"Slaughter in San Francisco" has an English Dolby Digital 1.0 track. While it was a Hong Kong production shot in America, no location sound was used and everything was post-synched. The lips barely match, the sound effects are also slightly off, sounds of kicks sound extremely fake, and footsteps are way too loud - which were the normal things to expect with a 70s martial arts production. In addition to the non-remastered picture, the soundtrack also suffers from hisses and other damage including fidelity issues.

"An Eye for an Eye" has an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. It is basically a mono track with some extremely minor effects coming from the left and right channels, barely noticeable. The sound is very clean with easy to hear dialogue and effects throughout. Don't expect to get blown away but it still gets the job done fine.

"Firewalker" has an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track. This track has a lot of stereo separation and is a very active track with lots of background music and sound effects but the soundtrack does have its issues. The dialogue which should be centered gets bled over into the left or right in an echoey fashion and there are issues of distortion with the audio track being louder than it probably should.

There are no subtitles provided for any of the film.

Extras

There are no extras.

Overall

"The Chuck Norris Collection" includes three fun Norris vehicles filled with roundhouse kicks, overabundance of body hair, and silly quotable dialogue. They are not considered classics in Norris' filmography but all three films offer a lot of fun. The transfers have their differing issues and it's unfortunate that the set has no extras at all, but the Umbrella Entertainment set still gets a minor recommendation. Note the ratings below are for this particular film, while the overall is for the 3 films:

The Film: C+ Video: B Audio: B Extras: F- Overall: B-

 


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