All Hallow’s Lee – AN EYE FOR AN EYE
You know what is a truly underrated movie? Weekend at Bernie’s II. That’s right. Two. It’s one of the truly great satirical zombie films, and I’m totally not joking. You’ve got voodoo zombie Bernie, zombie dancing and an obligatory shark eating a zombie scene. And the greatness that is Terry Kiser’s absurd physical comedy as voodoo zombie Bernie really cannot be overstated. It’s Jack Tripper level brilliance. So when sit down to watch An Eye for an Eye and in the very first scene I watch Terry Kiser bond with Chuck Norris through flatulence I think you can understand why I immediately thought of Weekend at Bernies II.
Kane’s partner has been murdered and he’s been driven into a rage that forces him to resign from the police department for the little infraction of throwing a suspect out of a window. Soon Kane’s partner’s girlfriend, the reporter, is chasing leads to find his killer, only to wind up dead herself. So Kane decides to go it alone, with the help of his partner’s girlfriend’s father, who is also his former mentor, and find out who really is running the Triad.
So yeah, this movie opens with a fart joke. Because, that’s how cops bond on a stakeout. And I have to say, I’ve watched a lot of movies, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. So I guess will put that in the plus column for An Eye for an Eye, mainly because there won’t be many more.
Soon after I discover the second mark in the plus column for the film, when a shootout occurs during a meeting with an informant and Kane’s (Chuck Norris) partner, the previously mentioned Terry Kiser, is killed. But it’s how he is killed that is so impressive. You see, Dave (see Terry Kiser) is killed when he is shot, hit by a car, and set aflame. At the same damn time. Kane is significantly upset by this turn of events, because this is some poignant shit.
I’m going to struggle to write anything about this film, as it truly is one of the blandest piles of crap I have had the pleasure of watching. Which is a shame as the basic premise of the film is fine, cop sets out to avenge his dead partner, but it gets bogged down with the additional plot points of avenging the girlfriend, discovering the drug smuggling ring, Kane romancing a reporter and his attempts at trying to show up the San Francisco police department that you just struggle to remain engaged with the film at all.
What’s also frustrating, is the ridiculousness of the cast (Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree, Matt Clark, Mako Iwamatsu, Professor Toru Tanaka, Rosalind Chao, Stuart Pankin, Mel Novak and J.E. Freeman round it out) that are given damn near nothing to do at best, or play typecast roles at worst. Though, Pankin’s sleazy pimp is pretty damn great, but that is negated by his whopping 3 minutes of screen time.
Lee, who doesn’t appear for the first 30 minutes of the movie, is only in a handful of scenes (and only has a single line in two of the scenes) in what is essentially a glorified cameo even though he has second billing. Sure he can successfully sit and smugly mug for the camera as well as anyone, but the only time he has to stretch his acting muscles is when he has to sell the always wooden Chuck Norris’ choke hold as something truly dangerous. This is hardly a challenging role, I sure hope he at least got a decent paycheck.
The only other item of note in the movie is the atrocious score, which seems to alternate between outtakes from Falcon Crest and Knight Rider. It’s so fucking 80’s it hurts. But since the movie was released in 1981 I suppose you could call it cutting edge for its time. Or maybe you just want to cut yourself. It’s hard to tell.
What bothers me most about this movie is that it should have been fun. It’s not particularly bad, it’s just bland. It’s lazy in its casting, boring in its action sequences and the acting talent is given a barren lead to work off of. I have no idea how Norris became an action star, as he’s so fucking brutal to watch regardless of whether it’s in action sequences, as a romantic lead or just the emotionally unhinged monster. In every case he looks stiff and given as minimal dialogue as possible to hide the fact he can’t deliver convincing dialogue. And so Norris lumbers from scene to scene, draining every ounce of fun from the film with each passing second, and as I sit here I start to remember that initial scene and wonder, was that stench you smelled your partner’s bowels, or just this film rotting from the inside out?