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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Forced Vengeance

July 5, 2019 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Forced Vengeance

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #513: Forced Vengeance

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has contemplated wearing a cowboy hat more often just to, you know, shake things up a bit, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number five hundred and thirteen, I take a look at the badass Chuck Norris flick Forced Vengeance, which hit movie theatre screens in late July 1982.

Forced Vengeance


Forced Vengeance, directed by James Fargo, is star Chuck Norris’s final martial arts movie before he went on to become a full on action movie star with 1983’s Lone Wolf McQuade. It’s a terrific vehicle to showcase Norris’s considerable ass kicking skills and, believe it or not, his smart ass side, which he apparently possessed, briefly, back in the early 1980s. Forced Vengeance also has one of the greatest opening titles sequences ever filmed, where we see Chuck fighting a guy both in slow motion and in shadow behind a giant neon sign somewhere in downtown Hong Kong. Along with an awesome score by William Goldstein, Forced Vengeance is a true blue Chuck Norris classic.

In Forced Vengeance, Norris is Josh Randall, an ex-Army Ranger and highly decorated Vietnam War veteran turned badass head of security for the Lucky Dragon casino in Hong Kong, owned and operated by Sam Paschal (David Opatoshu). Working for Paschal is a pretty sweet deal, as Randall gets to beat the crap out of people, hang around in the casino all day wearing a tuxedo and, on occasion, a cowboy hat, and makes enough money to live on a swanky boat with his hot babe girlfriend/wife/school teacher Claire (Mary Louise Weller). After a quick trip to Los Angeles to collect a racist asshole’s gambling debt, Randall finds out from Sam’s son David (Frank Michael Liu) that someone wants to buy the Lucky Dragon. Who the hell would want the casino? Randall drives Sam and David to a meeting with Stan Ramondi (Michael Cavanaugh), the local face of an underground criminal outfit known as the Osiris Group. Raimondi makes Sam an offer for the casino, which Sam refuses out of hand. Sam has no interest in selling anything to anyone. The Lucky Dragon is meant to remain in the Paschal family. Now, David wants to sell because, unbeknownst to his father, David has lost most of the casino’s money in various failed business ventures, and if they don’t sell the casino they’ll all be broke. On top of that, you don’t turn down the Osiris Group as they’re vicious mobster scumbags and will do anything to get what they want. Anything. Sam still refuses to sell even when he finds out what David has done. Broke or not, the Lucky Dragon is going to stay in the Paschal family. And besides, if the Osiris Group starts any shit with the family, Josh Randall will take care of it. Taking care of Paschal family problems is what Josh Randall is all about.

It doesn’t take long for Sam’s position not to sell to bite him in the ass, as both Sam and David are shot and killed by Osiris assassins. Randall finds their bodies and immediately hatches a plan to both protect Sam’s daughter and now the only living Paschal, Joy (Camila Griggs), and to find out who within the Osiris Group killed Sam and David. After Randall finds Joy and takes her to his houseboat, he is arrested by the local cops on suspicion that he killed Sam and David, which, of course, is total bullshit. The cops, Inspector Keck (Jimmy Shaw) and Inspector Chen (Lloyd Kino), force Randall to go through a humiliating medical examination where he has to explain where he got all of the scars on his body (Randall been through some shit, both in the Army and as casino security). Randall is eventually released once his lawyer shows up, and as soon as he’s out the jail door Randall is back to investigating. Randall goes to his old ‘Nam buddy LeRoy (Bob Minor) to get a gun and a place to hide out as Randall’s house boat is likely no longer much of a safe haven. LeRoy agrees to help Randall, as he’s in the mood for some action.

So Randall goes and retrieves Joy and Claire and heads back towards LeRoy’s. Before he can do that, though, Randall has to deal with the cops again, as Inspector Keck has Randall under surveillance (Randall takes Keck out with a sleeper hold). Once Keck is dispatched, Randall, Joy, and Claire are attacked by heavily armed thugs who are no doubt affiliated with Raimondi and the Osiris Group. Randall takes out the various bad guys following him via his gun and martial arts, starting a sidewalk brawl and participating in the opening titles sequence again but this time at regular speed. When Randall finally gets Joy and Claire to LeRoy’s, he figures they’ll be safe and he can devote his entire time to investigating Sam’s and David’s deaths. Randall goes to see a sort of local, shifty private investigator named Carl (Robert Emhardt) to see if he knows anything (he of course does. Shifty PI’s always know shit). Randall finds out that a Lucky Dragon employee named Dibiasi (Roger Behrstock) was involved, as well as a prostitute named Sally (Leigh Hamilton). They somehow got the necessary information to Raimondi about the Lucky Dragon’s finances, and that’s what started all of this “you need to sell” shit.

As Randall compiles all of that information, Ramondi’s thugs find LeRoy’s place and assault the place. Mega henchman Kam (Seiji Sakaguchi) bear hugs LeRoy almost to death and savagely rapes Claire to send Randall a message. Ramondi now has Joy, he has taken away everyone Randall cares about, and as soon as he has the Lucky Dragon, he’s going to send Kam and his other henchmen to kill Randall, too. And as soon as Randall finds out what happened and “receives” Ramondi’s message, Randall puts his old Army Ranger uniform on and goes on a full on ass kicking spree. Josh Randall is done fucking around. He’s going to kill Raimondi, and he’s going to dismantle the Osiris Group piece by piece. He’s also going to rescue Joy, because Randall wants the Lucky Dragon casino to stay under Paschal control. It’s what he’s most comfortable with. It’s also the right thing to do.

The final assault on Ramondi and the Osiris Group is exciting and spectacular, just as you expect it to be. Randall is a full on one man army and is just tougher than everyone else. Randall’s final fight with Ramondi, which isn’t the movie’s actual final fight, is pretty good. What’s amazing about it is that Michael Cavanaugh, who plays Ramondi, comes off as a suitable opponent for Chuck Norris. You know that Raimondi isn’t going to win because he’s the bad guy, but when Ramondi is wielding a staff he’s one of the most dangerous men in the world. Ramondi, staff in hand, actually has Chuck Norris on the run for a few minutes. Raimondi isn’t a supernatural force, isn’t a monster created by science like John Kirby in Silent Rage, he’s just some mobster guy. Mobster guys don’t typically last all that long up against Chuck Norris. Now, the actual final fight is shockingly brutal and ends the right way. Norris’s final fight sort of resembles his fight with Professor Toru Tanaka in Eye for an Eye, with the same sort of results.

If you watch all of Norris’s movies before Lone Wolf McQuade you’ll notice how rough Norris’s fighting style is and how “unkempt” the fight choreography is. Chuck Norris isn’t a smooth kicker or puncher in Forced Vengeance. Yes, he’s always in control of his body when he’s fighting or beating the shit out of someone, but there moments where you can see him monetarily unbalanced on his feet right after delivering a kick or a punch. Those little moments actually make what Norris does seem nastier than it really is. There are moments where the fighting goes into slow motion, but the slow motion doesn’t result in fighting that looks stylized or otherworldly. Everything that we see is grounded and, for the lack of a better word, plausible. I’d like to know why Norris stopped doing that kind of thing in later movies. Was it something that he wanted to do for himself, or was he responding to how other action movies were filmed and how other action stars were portrayed?

And what’s the deal with all of the nut shots in this movie? Kicks to the nuts, punches to the nuts, threats to punch the nuts. Is that just an example of how “real” the fighting is supposed to be? I don’t remember Norris being so nut happy in any of his other movies.

The movie’s Hong Kong street scenes are all kind of sleazy but never all that dangerous. The streets only become dangerous when we see men with weapons in plain view of the camera, or when we know that people are looking for Randall and Randall is trying to figure out who is a hostile and who isn’t. Most of the interior scenes look like they were filmed on a soundstage, with the exception of the casino bathroom. That bathroom looks like a bathroom. The most disturbing sequence of the movie takes place in a room in a brothel. The room’s bed is piled high with porno magazines and there’s a roll of toilet paper nearby. And that’s all you need to know about what has happened in that room in the past. Thank God no one sits down on that bed.

Chuck Norris is in top form here as Josh Randall. He’s able to shift effortlessly between being relaxed and being ready to kick someone’s ass and, on top of that, he seems to be enjoying himself. He has good chemistry with Mary Louise Weller and Bob Minor and, amazingly, has no romantic chemistry with Camilla Griggs, who plays Joy. Norris’s Randall is more of a protector friend than possible lover for Joy, and it’s odd to see them not linked together at the end of the movie by nothing more than friendship. Norris also provides ongoing narration throughout the movie, and this is where he gets to showcase his smart ass side. Norris’s tone almost makes Forced Vengeance a comedy at times. I’m surprised he didn’t get to do more of this kind of thing until Firewalker. I’m also surprised that someone didn’t try to get him to play Josh Randall again. I know that Norris wanted to be more of an action star as opposed to “just” a martial arts guy, but it would have been cool to see him do this character again in a like 1988 or something.

Michael Cavanaugh is a complete scumbag as Stan Ramondi, and when it comes to movie villains, that’s a compliment. The man just oozes menace and sleaze the first time you see him, and Raimondi only gets worse as the movie progresses. When we find out that he can fight, Raimondi becomes a goddamn super villain. We know that Norris is going to beat him, that Norris is going to win, but how bad is this villain going to beat the crap out of Norris? You will be surprised at how much Norris gets owned here. A great villain.

Mary Louise Weller does a good job as Claire, Randall’s school teacher girlfriend or wife (I’m not entirely sure what she is. She’s probably Randall’s girlfriend, because why would a guy like Randall, with his job and life on a boat, have a wife? Who the hell would marry him? Still, there’s a chance that they could be married). She doesn’t have much to do beyond acting as Randall’s back up at the boat house when he brings Joy there, but what she does get to do she does it well. She also has believable chemistry with Norris. That’s always important for this kind of movie.

Camila Griggs plays Joy as a spoiled but still sweet hippie girl whose life is thrown into turmoil when she finds out that her father and brother are dead. All Joy wanted to do was party and have a good time. She never wanted to be the target of a mob hit team. Griggs handles herself well amongst all of the violence and keeps herself together despite the terrible things going on around her. I wonder what she did with the Lucky Dragon when she assumed full control of the place.

Bob Minor does a decent job as Randall’s old ‘Nam buddy LeRoy. You can tell as soon as you see them together that LeRoy and Randall have seen some nasty shit in their day (and what stories they could tell). It also wouldn’t be surprising to find out that, as resourceful as he is (LeRoy gives Randall a gun), LeRoy is also a low level criminal of some sort. That’s probably how he got the gun. It’s both sad and disturbing how Kam the gigantic henchman breaks his goddamn back with a bear hug. You will also likely find his “my girlfriend is 17” conversation he has with Randall equally disturbing. Why is Randall into 17 year old girls, and why is Randall’s response to finding out that LeRoy’s girlfriend is 17 not “that’s disgusting” but is instead “holy shit, how do you keep up with her?” What the hell, man?

David Opatoshu does a great job as old school casino owner Sam Paschal, and Frank Michael Liu is solid as the lame ass deadbeat son David. And kudos to Lloyd Kino as Inspector Chen. That guy isn’t the guy you think he is.

Forced Vengeance is a great, badass action flick and a terrific swansong for the martial arts movie career of star Chuck Norris. It’s too bad that Norris was unable to find a way to keep doing these kinds of movies while also embarking on his “action hero” career, but Forced Vengeance is exactly the kind of movie you can retire a persona on. It really is that damn good.

See Forced Vengeance. See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: 13

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Yes.

Doobage: A fucking sweet slow motion martial arts fight in silhouette, a naked woman statue, collecting money in Los Angeles, cowboy hat shit, attempted butterfly knife attack, multiple kicks and punches to the groin, full on casino employee humiliation, giant hole digging, beers, a flashback to a casino brawl, multiple inflatable boat rides, off screen banging, attempted robbery, bar gambling, face slapping, off screen bullets to the head, house boat hooey, serious police misconduct, a full on medical examination, a gun and a knife, seriously creepy dialogue, sleeper hold hooey, whorehouse hooey, off screen sex, Uzi hooey, a great “guns beat nunchucks” scene, a sidewalk café brawl, bullet to the gut, multiple ferry rides, an old guy eating M&M’s, strip club hooey, weird strip club music in the background that sounds like “Super Freak,” a home invasion, bear hug attack, off screen rape, an old army uniform, attempted spiked brass knuckles, a brutal bathroom beat down, a man gets thrown overboard, a full on fight on a boat, serious knife throwing, head butt city, arm breaking, using a tree branch to break a guy’s neck, a big fucking brawl, a swirly, toilet throwing, gorilla press slam through a window, slow motion jumping side kick, a giant piece of cut glass, and a satisfying ending.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Chuck Norris, Chuck Norris doing voiceover narration, Chuck Norris wearing a cowboy hat, Chuck Norris attacking testicles, Hong Kong, tai chi on the beach, a casino floor montage, Chuck Norris engaging in small talk, forcing a guy to walk through a casino in his underwear, Chuck Norris speaking Chinese, Chuck Norris giving a little girl a Miss Piggy doll, Chuck Norris living on a boat, Chuck Norris revealing to the world that he’s a “beer in a glass” kind of guy, Chuck Norris in a tuxedo, Chuck Norris watching soccer, Chuck Norris being examined, Chuck Norris getting a rectal exam, Chuck Norris using the sleeper hold to take a guy out, a bed in a whorehouse piled high with porno magazines and a roll of toilet paper, Chuck Norris showing a woman how to use a gun, Chuck Norris deciding to wear his old Army uniform, Tom & Jerry cartoons on the TV, Chuck Norris running up a flight of stairs, a slow motion body tackle, slow motion fire extinguisher to the face, and the great Richard Norton.

Best lines: “This welcher, he has more money than taste. Or brains,” Your boss is nothing more than a dirty little half breed Jew,” “My best hat. Shit,” “Hey, Josh! How ya doing?,” “Uh, Josh, welcome back. Yeah, I can tell you miss me,” “You’re lucky I don’t break your hands,” “You don’t miss much, do ya, Sam?,” “You always were the worrier. I am Jewish,” “You know, you have more homework than your students sometimes,” “Uh oh. Those guys aren’t here to play bingo,” “People like to play an honest game in an honest house,” “ So, you had better talk some sense into him,” “Why do they always pick on my hat?,” “Nice place you have here. Asshole,” “I don’t fly, I don’t ski, I don’t play tennis, and I don’t belong to Club Med,” “Joshua Randall? Funny name for a cowboy,” “I want a lawyer,” “Sweet dreams, Kink,” “Damn, if I were a tree I’d hide in a forest, but where can a guy hide out in Hong Kong with two identical women? Of course, a cat house!,” “Do me a favor, Ramondi. Shove it,” “Never let your girl handle your piece,” “Hope you don’t mind me dropping in here like this,” “I’m just your average local businessman,” “I’m just your average local businessman,” “It’s just between you and I, right, Carl?,” “Buy you a drink, cowboy?,” “What do you want to do? Talk or have fun?,” “Trust me. That better not mean fuck you!,” “Don’t bullshit me, Ron, I don’t have the time,” “Come on, what do you want done with this bitch?,” “One of the bravest men I ever knew was a homosexual,” “That’s pain, friend, but it can hurt a lot worse,” “I hope we make you suffer before you die. You already have,” “I hope you live long enough to tell Randall what I did to his girl,” “Wanna die a hero Where’s Ramondi?,” “I love to watch a good fight, and you’re pretty good,” “Randall. Randall. Randall,” “When you want something done right, Mr. Randall, often you must do it yourself,” “One piece at a time. You’re going to die one piece at a time,” “Give it up, Raimondi. It’s all over,” “Bodies all over the place. You’re a real litter bug,” “You’re a hard man to get to know, Josh. But I think I know you now,” and “Hong Kong. A borrowed place that lives on borrowed time. The British run it now, but in seventeen years the lease runs out. And the People’s Republic is the landlord. But this is a city of survivors. And whatever happens, Hong Kong will always be the place.”

Rating: 10.0/10.0




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Forced Vengeance

Chuck Norris– Josh Randall
Mary Louise Weller– Claire Bonner
Camila Griggs– Joy Paschal
Michael Cavanaugh– Stan Raimondi
David Opatoshu– Sam Paschal
Seiji Sakaguchi– Kam
Frank Michael Liu– David Paschal
Bob Minor– LeRoy Nicely
Lloyd Kino– Inspector Chen
Leigh Hamilton– Sally Tennant
Howard Caine– Milt Diamond
Robert Emhardt– Carl Gerlich
Roger Behrstock– Ron Dibiasi
Jimmy Shaw– Inspector Keck

Directed by James Fargo
Screenplay by Franklin Thompson and James Fargo

Distributed by MGM/UA Entertainment Company, MGM/UA Home Entertainment, and Warner Home Video

Rated R for violence, language, and some nudity
Runtime– 90 minutes

Buy it here, here, or here