Tuesday, April 4, 2006

THE CUTTER

"Chuck Norris sweats actual bullets. He never uses them, he doesn't have to."

I spent a lot of quality theater time with Chuck Norris' action movies in the Eighties, and while I wasn't a regular viewer of WALKER, TEXAS RANGER, I was glad to see Chuck's success on television, season after season, at a time when action shows were thought to be passe. Now that his TV sojourn has ended, aging ass-kicker Norris has returned to features with THE CUTTER (2006) and while the movie works as a mild diversion, it's no CODE OF SILENCE… or even an INVASION U.S.A.

An 80-year-old Jewish gem cutter and Auschwitz survivor (Bernie Koppel, THE LOVE BOAT) is abducted by agents of the Nazi overseer who tortured him in the infamous prison camp during WW II. The war criminal wants him to cut two large stolen diamonds, which happen to be Israeli national treasures and religious artifacts. Chuck plays a Spokane, Washington private eye hired by the cutter's niece (Joanna Pacula, DINOCROC) to find him.

The action sequences are few and far apart, and Chuck's noticeably slower than he used to be – which makes the stunt doubling more obvious. The direction by Bill Tannen is flat and uninspired, giving the film a made-for-TV look and pace. The cast is pretty good overall, though, and it's always good to see the still-tasty Tracy Scoggins (DEMONIC TOYS), even if she's wasted in a thankless, minor role. Oddly enough, she figures prominently in the packaging, while female lead Pacula is nowhere to be seen.

Sony presents THE CUTTER in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. The movie is brand new, so of course, it looks perfect. The only extras are about a dozen trailers for other Sony DVDs, including three of Chuck's 80's films (THE DELTA FORCE, EYE FOR AN EYE and MISSING IN ACTION), which can only remind the viewer how much goofy shoot-em-up/kick-em-in-the-head fun his films used to be.

BUY: The Cutter