Anyone can appreciate a typical Chuck Norris movie for its action-packed plot, quirky one-liners, and unforgettably hokey depiction of Norris, the bad-ass himself. Watching a Chuck Norris movie is rarely surprising, as Norris usually portrays some version of the same character in all of his movies. But, I was unpleasantly surprised by a particularly horrible Chuck Norris movie, when I attended a tribute screening at the Somerville Theater for Norris’ seventieth birthday. After being forced by my boyfriend to sit through the action film “Invasion USA,” I could only describe the movie and my experience as a bit hard to swallow, due to the film’s farfetched plot and overall terrible acting. Released in September of 1985 and written by Norris and his brother Aaron, the motion picture’s tagline, “No one thought it could ever happen here,” sheds light on an obscure premise, which is never actually revealed.
The film begins by showing a group of Cuban refugees on a boat headed for the U.S. The refugees are confronted by what seems to be the U.S. Coast Guard, but turns out to be murderous Latin American guerillas that kill the refugees and take cocaine bags that are hidden beneath the boat. The leader of this rag-tag group is Mikhail Rostov, who has skin that looks as if it is melting off, which just seems to be from a bad makeup application. The ridiculousness of the movie escalates when, dressed in tank tops and jeans, the terrorist group exchanges the cocaine for bazookas and AK-47s in route to storm the Florida coast in World War II era landing craft.
The movie then takes a sudden and puzzling turn to Chuck Norris as the main character Captain Matt Hunter, manly and shirtless on an airboat in the Everglades. Hunter is an ex-CIA agent who now lives in Florida with his old friend, John Eagle. The two live peacefully, while riding their airboats in swampy marsh lands and eating frogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This part of film is completely unnecessary and difficult to follow. Even Norris’ pet armadillo is introduced, but for no particular reason at all. Confusing things even more, the bad guys' evil plan is revealed. But it is all too sporadic, making it hard to tell who the bad guys actually are. When all seems hopeless for an America under siege from an enemy that doesn’t really seem to exist, Norris swoops in and saves the day, by miraculously predicting where each terrorist will be and waiting there to ambush him. Norris warns in one of his many one-liners, “If you come back in, I’ll hit you with so many rights you’ll be begging for a left.”
While the entire movie lies flat, the ending proves itself in true Chuck Norris fashion. As Norris watches TV at home, the police barge in to arrest him for being a vigilante. However, he amazingly escapes their custody and saves the day, killing his nemesis Rostov, proving that Norris is super human and entirely absurd.