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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column 7.22.13 Issue #266: An Eye for an Eye (1981)

July 22, 2013 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #266: An Eye for an Eye (1981)

July: A Month of Chuck Norris: Week 3

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that’s amazed at how many people truly believe in the jury system (right now), The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number two hundred and sixty-six, the 2nd Annual July: A Month of Chuck Norris continues with a look at Chuck’s 1981 effort An Eye for an Eye, directed by Steve Carver.

An Eye for an Eye (1981)

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An Eye for an Eye is, in the big scheme of things, the last full on martial arts movie of Chuck Norris’ movie career. After AEFAE he went on to do the horror flick Silent Rage (which appeared last year in this very column) and then the sort of martial arts flick Forced Vengeance (both in 1982), and then in 1983 he became the bearded action star that we know and love to this day in Lone Wolf McQuade (1983, also directed by Steve Carver). It’s sort of interesting how, when you look at An Eye for an Eye right up to Lone Wolf McQuade, Chuck goes from having no facial hair (An Eye for an Eye) to sporting a mustache (Silent Rage and Forced Vengeance) to going full beard (McQuade). Did someone in Chuck’s inner circle plan it out that way, or was it just something that happened? Did Chuck, after making An Eye for an Eye, decide that he couldn’t be a martial arts superstar anymore and that, through his facial hair, he was telling the world that he was “going in a new direction?” I mean, it’s possible, right?

Anyway, An Eye for an Eye features Chuck as Sean Kane, a badass San Francisco vice cop hell bent on revenge. After watching his partner Dave Pierce (Terry “Bernie Lomax” Kiser, or “Dr. Crews,” depending on how you want to look at it) get blown away and set on fire, Kane decides to quit the force and go on a one man ass kicking crusade to avenge Dave’s death and get the bastard (or bastards) that did it. Kane’s boss, Captain Stevens (John Shaft hisself Richard Roundtree) isn’t too keen on Kane going at it alone, but since he isn’t playing John Shaft he can’t do much about it. Helping Kane with his off the books investigation is Dave’s girlfriend, reporter Linda Chan (Rosalind Chao) and her father, Kane’s old karate teacher James Chan (the immortal Mako). It doesn’t take long for the hooey to hit the fan, as Linda is attacked and killed by a gigantic killer (The Professor, as played by the great Professor Toru Tanaka), heavily armed ninja types try to kill Kane and Mr. Chan, and Christopher Lee shows up as Morgan Canfield, the president of a local TV station. As you’d expect, Lee’s Canfield isn’t exactly on the up and up (a TV affiliate president with a British accent who also happens to look like Christopher Lee? How the hell can he not be a bad guy?), and Kane’s investigation leads to some big goddamn doings.

An Eye for an Eye, in terms of its structure, is a pretty standard revenge tale. Director Carver isn’t breaking any new ground here. But it’s the movie’s simplicity that helps make it not only incredibly watchable, but downright enjoyable. An Eye for an Eye is fun, a real romp that’s all about kicking ass, pausing, and then kicking more ass. Having Lee in the cast immediately telegraphs who the villain is going to be (again, how do you not have Christopher Lee, goddamn Dracula, as your villain? How? In 1981?), so you end up wondering when he’s going to show up and when he’s going to explain what kind of villain he is. The only issue I have with the movie is not having Lee engage in some kind of karate fight with Norris. Granted, Lee isn’t a martial artist, but isn’t that what you have stunt doubles and camera tricks for? Lee is great, though. The man just oozes menace, even when he’s not playing a supernatural bad guy.

The movie’s fight scenes are all top notch stuff. Norris and Mako make a great sort of karate tag team and watching them take on teams of bad guys is sure B-movie joy. The attack on Mako’s house is probably the flick’s stand out action scene, and the Norris-Tanaka fight is a real brawl. I mean, you know that Norris is going to best the Professor at some point, but director Carver makes Chuck work for it (Norris gets his ass kicked before he gets to take the Professor down with a brutal, slow motion kick). And Kiser’s death scene is a thing of early 1980’s action movie beauty. How often do you see a guy get shot, run over, and then set on fire? Definitely something that should be brought back.

The soundtrack, by William Goldstein, is kind of weird at first. It seems a little too upbeat for a martial arts action flick, but it grows on you as the movie progresses. The movie, at least on the DVD that I watched, looks kind of soft, but I don’t think the movie would work as well with a sharper image. Sometimes, cleanliness isn’t a good thing when it comes to a movie’s picture quality. The night scenes come off as a little too wishy washy, but, like the soundtrack, you get used to it.

Norris is goddamn awesome as Kane. You know as soon as you see him walking the hallways of the precinct you know you shouldn’t mess with him. When he goes into karate man mode you just stand back in awe of how easy it is for Kane to wipe the floor with heavily armed drug running ninja types. I also want to commend Norris for having, as his first line in the movie, “Goddamn, Dave. Shit. Smells like a horse turd, man.” Easily one of the greatest opening character lines in movie history.

Roundtree does a great job as Kane’s tight ass captain. Roundtree knows how to play an asshole, and his Captain Stevens is one of his best assholes. And Matt Clark does a great job as the “you just know he’s up to something underhanded” cop Tom McCoy. You’re going to love the way he bites the big one at the end (I know I cheered).

Rosalind Chao does a fine job as Linda Chan. You’ll definitely shed a tear when she dies. And Maggie Cooper is cool as Heather Sullivan, Linda’s old pal and Kane’s eventual love interest (every action movie hero had to have one back in the 1980’s). And Mel Novak is a piece of shit as Tom Montoya, the informant that Kane and Dave were going to see in the beginning of the movie. You just hate the guy.

And then there’s Professor Toru Tanaka as the Professor. You would think having a bum leg would make a guy come off as less dangerous, but the thick heeled shoe that causes the Professor to limp only makes him scarier. It’s going to take a real badass kick to the face to bring him down. A real badass kick to the face.

The great Stuart Pankin, of Not Necessarily the News, The Hollywood Knights, Second Sight, and TV infomercial fame, shows up as a hilarious Chinatown pimp. And Kiser, who is only in the movie for about three minutes (four if you count the flashbacks), is damn good as Kane’s partner Dave. If only the movie world believed in prequels back in the very early 1980’s. I would have loved to see a full on buddy cop movie with Kane and Dave taking on the bad guys.

An Eye for an Eye is one of Chuck Norris’ best movies. It’s got everything: great performances, great action, and great villains. It’s damn near perfect entertainment. If you’ve never seen it or haven’t seen it in a few years, do yourself a favor and track it down. The DVD, as far as I know, is seriously out of print at the moment (amazon has it for like $60, which is fucking outrageous), but I’m sure you can find it at a good video store or your local public library. That’s how I got to see it.

See An Eye for an Eye. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 30+

Explosions: 1

Nudity?: None.

Doobage: Rain, a police stakeout, a sleazebag hotel, a hit and run, a brutal man-on-fire gag, a burned up face, door kicking, face spitting, an impromptu ass kicking, attempted knife assault, man thrown out of a window, walking with purpose, quitting the force, driving around in a muscle car, a slow motion cop funeral, depressing bagpipes, a brutal attack, a random attack, an apartment chase, door breaking with hand through the door, driving gloves, the Golden Gate bridge, meditation, a ninja type bad guy attack, ass kicking, neck breaking, an attack helicopter with machine gun, throwing knife through the chest, more ass kicking, more neck breaking, bad guys thrown off a mountain, backhand slap to the face, a heavy bag workout, dog petting, big shirt lapels, a zoom in, a pen, more driving around in a muscle car, a drive by shooting, homemade Chinese food, flashbacks, a dog that knows how to close a door, a loading dock infiltration, a box of fireworks, lamp kicking, close quarters fighting, throat chopping, slow motion ass kicking, a big dive, an old school answering machine, bondage, attempted strangulation, bondage karate, telephone to the face, a speed loader, man crushed to death by a giant machine, a big time bad guy meeting, double nogaknocker, a SWAT team attack, a point blank shot to a body, slow motion upper cut, sidekick in slow motion off the diving board, a pillow move, a massive shootout, a badass fight, exploding car, a slow motion beating, a brutal choke, and a complete wimp out.

Kim Richards?: None

Gratuitous: Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris as a cop, Chuck Norris on a stakeout with Terry Kiser, Richard Roundtree, Richard Roundtree playing an asshole, Chuck Norris quitting the police force and seeking revenge, Chuck Norris driving a muscle car, a slow motion cop funeral, Professor Toru Tanaka, Professor Toru Tanaka with a club foot, a dog named Mortimer, Chuck Norris driving while wearing driving gloves, Mako, Mako meditating, Christopher Lee, Christopher Lee running a TV station, Chuck Norris having a pen in his shirt pocket, Stuart Pankin, Stuart Pankin as a pimp, Chuck Norris using chopsticks, Chuck Norris making his own Chinese food (maybe), a box full of fireworks, Chuck Norris diving off a boat, an old school answering machine, Chuck Norris fighting Professor Toru Tanaka, attempted strangulation, a man is crushed to death by a giant machine, Chuck Norris speeding and refusing to pull over, Chuck Norris infiltrating a bad guy compound, a second Chuck Norris-Professor Toru Tanaka fight, a slow motion beating, a brutal choke, and a complete wimp out.

Best lines: “Goddamn, Dave. Shit. Smells like a horse turd, man,” “Dave! Dave!,” “Kane, you are a reckless man,” “I mean, what do I tell the commissioner?,” “Hey, Mort, make yourself useful,” “How the hell can he get away with that?,” “I, too, am in need of retribution,” “Triad!,” “Okay, James,” “Sean! Sean! I know where Tony is and I will tell you!,” “Do not let my praise inflate your ego. It is swollen enough,” “I’m just another out of work ex-cop with a score to settle,” “Mortimer, what are you doing?,” “Jesus! That sonofabitch is going to blow everything!,” “Here, Mort, go crazy,” “He is a weapon!,” “I believe the Professor has quite a way with the ladies,” “So this is how the heroin is brought in,” “Dammit! I don’t have time for that right now!,” “Sloppy,” “Well, gentlemen, the cargo is here,” “Kane,” “Shit!,” “Hey! Try me!,” and “The car! It was you in the car!”

Rating: 9.5/10.0

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Next week: Missing in Action!

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: The Facebook Page!

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Please check out The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page, which can be seen here. There’s not much there at the moment, but, as time goes by, expect to see daily questions and musings and other B-movie hooey. And it would be cool if you “liked” it, too.

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Facebook page! Yeah!

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And now, a Chuck Norris Fact

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Chuck Norris can end a sentence with a preposition. He can also end a life with one.

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/

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Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 1

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Welcome to the Punch: I do believe that this British action flick did get some sort of theatrical release in the United States (I remember reading an okay review in the New York Times), but I believe it was a relatively small one (big cities only). I think it looks pretty cool. And James McAvoy is a good actor, so it has that going for it, too.

DetentionOfTheDead

Detention of the Dead: Low budget zombie comedies seem to be popping up everywhere now, and most of them look terrible. Thankfully, Detention of the Dead doesn’t look terrible, so it’s easily worth a rental. I mean, the trailer is hilarious, and kudos to the moviemakers for having “traditional” slow moving zombies instead of runners. I’m tired of runners.

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A Viking Saga: The Darkest Day: I’m not a big viking movie fan, but this looks pretty cool. I do wonder, though, about the “haze” that’s seen throughout the trailer. Is that meant to be atmospheric or is that just how the movie looks? You’d be surprised at how many movies just end up looking like that.

FatalCallDVD

Fatal Call: This low budget thriller has an all star cast, with Danielle Harris, Kevin Sorbo, Jason London, and the Lochlyn Munro appearing. That should be reason enough to see it. And it looks like Harris is “scantily clad” for at least a few moments. That, too, is reason enough to see it. Anyone else want to second me on that? Anyone?

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The Big Question 1: Does anyone know why Chuck Norris is called “White Lightning” in the trailer for An Eye for an Eye?

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During the trailer for An Eye for an Eye the announcer refers to Chuck Norris as “White Lightning” (scroll down to the bottom of the column to hear it). I’m going to assume that “White Lightning” is a nickname that Norris earned in the martial arts world. I have to say “assume” because I can’t find anything definitive on what “White Lightning” means. I’ve looked all over the internets, I’ve looked on wikipedia, imdb.com, etc. I haven’t found anything. So what the heck is going on here? Why is Chuck Norris referred to as “White Lightning?” Anyone out there know?

Did Steve McQueen, the guy that told Norris he should get into acting, give it to him? Was it Bruce Lee? Was it some fight promoter (Norris was a professional martial arts fighter before he became an actor)? Was it just some bullshit some marketing guy at Avco Embassy Pictures came up with?

I’m going to go with “martial arts nickname,” but I think I’m wrong. Again, does anyone out there know for sure why Chuck Norris is referred to as “White Lightning” in the An Eye for an Eye trailer?

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Theme of the Week

Enjoy.

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And now, another Chuck Norris Fact

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Chuck Norris does not eat. Chuck Norris fights hunger.

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column B-Movie Babe of the Week: Gretchen Palmer

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A Second Big Question: Could Stan Hansen beat up Chuck Norris?

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In the world of pop culture Chuck Norris is, essentially, invincible. No one can beat him in anything. He is, well, the best, the toughest, the baddest of all time. But what if you had to find someone who could, realistically, in a pop culture sense (please think about that for a second before you read any further), go toe to toe with Chuck and give him a run for his money? I’d suspect that most people would try to find a badass martial arts superstar or some MMA fighter, like a Steven Seagal or a Randy Couture. But, if it was up to me, there is only one man in the world that could take on Chuck Norris and possibly beat him. That man?

Stan “The Lariat” Hansen.

He won the Triple Crown in Japan. He’s taken on just about every big time pro wrestler in the world and kicked the crap out of them. He punched Vader so hard that he knocked his eye out. He also appeared in No Holds Barred and jobbed to Tiny Lister, which shows you that the man has a sense of humor (I bet, in “real life,” Hansen would have wiped the floor with Zeus). He’s also the master of the Lariat. If he hits you with that, it doesn’t matter who you are, it’s over.

Yes, that’s right. If Stan Hansen ever hit Chuck Norris with the Lariat, I’m pretty sure Chuck would go down in a big heap. That’s how dangerous that move is.

So, yeah, if the shit ever hits the fan and we need someone to take out Chuck Norris for some reason, we should call on Stan Hansen. He could get the job done.

What do you guys think? Could “The Lariat” beat Chuck Norris? Would you rather send in someone else? Who would it be?

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Things to Watch Out For This Week: Part 2

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Fangoria Presents Sin Reaper: The fine folks at Fangoria are putting out yet another low budget horror flick, and Lance Henriksen is in it. Holy hooey that’s awesome. What other reason do you need to, at least, rent it?

Redline2013

Red Line: Well, how often do you see a low budget thriller about a derailed train? I can’t think of another one at the moment. This movie also apparently has a “ticking clock” in it, to help ramp up the suspense. That scenario is very hard to screw up. It’s not impossible, mind you, just very hard to mess up.

TemplarNationDVD

Templar Nation: Why the hell is Erik Estrada in a movie about the Knights Templar? I guess we’ll have to watch the movie to find out. The trailer below is kind of cheesy, but I’m willing to give the movie a shot. The Estrada thing is a cool, out there type idea. Rental city.

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July: A Month of Chuck Norris presents: A Moment of Chuck

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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week

Douchebag

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This week, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Douchebag of the Week goes to the ultra right wing media machine, for going batshit over the “liberal media” not going batshit over Trayvon Martin’s use of the word “cracker” when describing George Zimmerman. Because “cracker” is a racial epithet on par, socially and historically, with the “N” word. Well, that’s what Sean Hannity seemed to think last week. He was deeply offended and hurt by the word. He wanted to know why no one in the “liberal media” was upset. Racism is bad, after all.

Jesus Christ. Cracker is offensive? It’s on par with nigger? Fucking ludicrous. It’s not even close. And to say otherwise is just, well, ignorant racist bullshit of the highest order. I am just so tired of this shit. The URWM machine cannot be allowed to get away with it.

And then there’s Kyle Smith of the New York Post, for claiming that The Lone Ranger failed at the box office because of its “anti-capitalist sentiment.” Yes, Kyle, average everyday moviegoers stayed away from the mega budget re-imagining of an old as dirt western property that young people are clueless about because the bad guy in the movie is a greedy railroad tycoon. If the villain had been a ruthless Indian psychopath or something like that (or Commies of some sort), people would have shown up in droves to see it. No question about it.

The Lone Ranger failed because people just were not interested in seeing it. It happens sometimes. And I’d suspect that White House Down failed not because of its “attack on the tea party,” but because people probably already thought they saw it earlier in the year (Olympus Has Fallen anyone?). But then, if Kyle admitted that, he’d also have to admit that he’s nothing more than a right wing hack. I just don’t see that happening any time soon.

RifftraxStarshipTroopers

And finally there’s Rifftrax, for deciding to “riff” on Paul Verhoeven’s Starship Troopers. Have the fine folks at Rifftrax run out of movies to skewer? They now have to belittle the greatest movie ever made, Starship Troopers?

Outrageous. They really couldn’t find anything else to take on? Anything at all?

This is sad. Depressing. The movie doesn’t deserve it. Part 2, okay. But the first Troopers?

Again, outrageous.

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NASCAR and Indycar thoughts

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series was off this past week, but the Nationwide Series did race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday afternoon. I managed to see most of the race. I really thought that pole sitter and eventual second place finisher Sam Hornish was going to win, but his Team Penske teammate Joey Logano screwed that all up and powered past Hornish on the last restart for the win. It seemed like the Nationwide cars were a little racier than usual at Chicagoland, a wide track that was seemingly built for four wide racing. It was almost like watching a slightly slower Michigan race.

The Nationwide Series will join the Sprint Cup Series at Indianapolis this weekend, with Nationwide racing on Saturday afternoon and Sprint Cup on Sunday. I didn’t get to see the Nationwide Indy race last year, but I think I will be able to this year (it all depends on how much bullshit I have to deal with on Saturday). I’ll be pulling for Hornish to win (I think he deserves to be the first driver to win in both an Indycar and a stock car at Indy). It’ll be interesting to see if the Sprint Cup cars reach the test speeds they apparently reached earlier this year (the cars were allegedly going well over 200 MPH). If they do, how the heck are the drivers going to be handle it? Indy is flat.

The Camping World Truck Series returns to action this Wednesday night at the Eldora Speedway, the Tony Stewart owned dirt track in Ohio. Speed will have live coverage of the event, which will have a different qualifying format than the usual Trucks Series race (there will be the usual time trials, but then there will a series of heat races and a consi to fill the field, reduced to 30 from the usual 36). The feature race, a 150 lap affair, will apparently be split up into three segments. It’ll be interesting to see how many teams bring in dirt track racing ringers for the race (dirt late model ace Scott Bloomquist is expected to race in a truck for Kyle Busch) and how many Sprint Cup guys decide to give the dirt a try.

There isn’t much going on in Indycar at the moment. Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan is scheduled to race for Chip Ganassi at Indy in the Grand Am sports car race, and I believe Justin Wilson will be competing, too. Ryan Briscoe will be out of action in both Indycar and in his American LeMans Series day job after breaking his wrist at Toronto. Will Panther Racing sign him for 2014, which seems to be the conventional wisdom at the moment, or will Panther go with someone else?

The Indycars return to the track at Mid-Ohio in two weeks. Who will be in the Panther car for that event?

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And now, a final Chuck Norris Fact

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When the Boogeyman goes to sleep at night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/

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Well, I think that’ll be about it for this issue. B-movies rule, always remember that.

If there’s anything you want to see reviewed here in this column, feel free to offer a comment below or send me an e-mail. I’m always on the lookout for new stuff to watch.

And don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

An Eye for an Eye

Chuck Norris– Sean Kane
Christopher Lee– Morgan Canfield
Richard Roundtree– Captain Stevens
Matt Clark– Tom McCoy
Mako– James Chan
Maggie Cooper– Heather Sullivan
Rosalind Chao– Linda Chan
Professor Toru Tanaka– The Professor
Stuart Pankin– Nicky LaBelle
Terry Kiser– Dave Pierce
Mel Novak– Tony Montoya

Directed by Steve Carver
Screenplay by James Bruner and William Gray, based on a story by James Bruner

Distributed by AVCO Embassy Pictures, Embassy Home Entertainment, and MGM/UA Home Video

Rated R for violence and language
Runtime– 106 minutes

Buy it here

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Bryan Kristopowitz

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