The Octagon (1980) Poster

(1980)

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4/10
Can you go wrong with ninjas, Chuck Norris and Lee Van Cleef?
lost-in-limbo29 January 2007
Scott James a retired martial arts champion gets caught up in a complicated web involving a wealthy heiress trying to hire him for an assassination job that includes an international terrorist group of ninjas and their training ground called 'The Octagon'. Who's actually led by his brother, turned nemesis from his youthful days. His friend A.J. takes up the offer of the job, but Scott does he best to convince him out of it. Although he finds himself stuck in it, when A.J. goes after the group. Along the way he gets help from an old friend/work buddy McCarn.

Whenever you got a ninja problem, Chuck Norris is your man. Though, I take it you already know that and will be relishing in every sequence involving Norris putting his boot into some ninjas. He's here to punish those who abuse their ninja abilities. It's too bad that many of those moments are very few and far between. As Norris wants to play detective, have flashbacks of his past, go for job interviews and constantly listen to his pondering voice in his head. And what's with the echoing lisp to it… I couldn't stop myself from laughing whenever he decided to take some time out to express his thoughts… in his head. Just brilliant! Only Norris could pull it off with such grace, ha-ha! This bizarre aspect only enhanced the unusualness and hazy cloud that formed amongst the over-populated material. I never thought I'll be saying this about a Norris film, but it has too much going on in the story and this makes it feel rather drawn out when its not shoving in those crackerjack martial art sequences. Otherwise with so much going on and it never truly being clear. From that it manages to rally up many random revelations and plot developments. Despite this its still a corn riddled outing on Norris' behalf and the junky script only goes on to prove it. The stupidity, machismo and ninja talk features rather heavily… to heavily in the woodenly talkative script.

This is one of Norris earlier features and one of his first lead roles. He's pretty much leaden in his acting abilities on this occasion (they gave him too much dialogues, when he should been kicking ass and having fun with it), but he would go on to hone down that charismatic appeal and personality he holds so greatly in the films that followed on. Or am I the only one of a few who thinks that? I find his presence to be far more engaging when his in more action-oriented roles that ask for some slight wit along the way. Anyhow this was probably made to turn him into the next American martial arts star, which would take him to Hollywood for even bigger roles. Oh no, that didn't entirely happen and he did get into some b-grade action flicks that flooded the 80s with the odd occasional big flick (Invasion USA, Delta Force). His acting is passable as a reluctant, but I must do it for the team Scott James, but when it came to the action. Those alert senses were brisk and flashy. When the film finally kicks into gear (in the latter end), up pops the very well choreographed and swiftly executed fight sequences capably directed by Eric Karson. Those final two fight scenes are a real blast. Too bad he couldn't get the pacing of the whole film to be like that, as it's downright sluggish for most part. Making up the rest of the performances is the wittily badass Lee Van Cleef (who steals the few scenes he's in) as the sneaky underhand McCern who feeds Scott with information he needs. Karen Carlson is horrible. Best leave it at that. Art Hindle is reasonable as Scott's go-getter friend A.J. Tadashi Yamashita nails down that venomously vile turn as Scott's brother Seigura. An elegantly biting Carol Bagdasarian turns up as a trainee terrorist who wants to make amends. Also in tiny, but potent parts are Jack Carter, Ernie Hudson and Richard Norton. The gloomily cheap b-grade production pretty much looks it. The lighting comes across as poorly dim and editing is quite haggard, but the beaming music score and stylishly vogue camera-work are competently suited into the picture.

A mildly amusing (and at times unintentionally rib-tickling) offering, but it just takes too long break out of it chains and the flat-nature to begin with for some might just be too hard to overcome. Really Chuck Norris' fans need only apply.
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4/10
Cheap and dialogue-heavy.
gridoon6 December 2002
Whether you can take this film or not will depend on your tolerance for B-movies. The production is very cheap (to the point that you can barely see anything during the night scenes), and the plot is pretty vague (Is Chuck Norris playing a mercenary? An anti-terrorist expert? A former karate champion? All three?), and the fact that we can often hear his thoughts in echoing voice-over doesn't make it any more lucid. But Norris is better than usual here (at least better than anyone else in the cast), and his fighting moves are as sharp as ever. (**)
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3/10
"Karen Carlson implodes across the screen as Chuck mutters to himself like a psych ward patient !!"
lemon_magic6 August 2005
I just can't see this as a review excerpt - it wouldn't draw a lot of viewers - but it sums up "The Octagon" pretty well.

I actually would have rated this movie much lower, but the final 20 minutes, where Chuck invades the Ninja training camp and confronts his 'brother' almost saves the film. ALMOST.

Aside from Lee Van Clief, Chuck Norris is the best actor in the film, which ought to set off warning bells in your head. Chuck does his usual stoic, quiet-spoken tough guy shtick here. He at least isn't actively annoying as an actor, and he still can move impressively when the time comes for a martial arts smack down. (One thing you can say for Norris, he did improve somewhat as an actor, and by the time 'Code Of Silence' appeared some years after this, he was considerably more expressive.) However, the screenwriter and director apparently never passed Screen Writing 101, because they make poor Chuck narrate almost every scene with intrusive whispered voice-overs (in a layered echo effect, no less) where he endlessly explains his moral dilemmas and his anguish and anger at his estranged brother...to HIMSELF...over and over again. You just aren't supposed to do this, people...you're supposed to SHOW the viewer what's going on, not TELL and TELL and TELL and TELL the viewer.

Also, nothing against Karen Carlson personally, but at this stage in her career, she was one of the worst actresses alive. We are talking 'Hayden Christianson in Star Wars II' bad. To call her performance here 'wooden and stiff' is to insult the concepts of 'wooden' and 'stiff'. Some of this probably isn't actually her fault - she is plays an extremely contrived character with some really awful lines that she has to deliver with a straight face. I kept telling myself this, but it didn't help - every scene she was in made me want to drive to her house and leave a flaming bag of dog poop on her front porch.

There are serious pacing problems here, too. There are moments here and there where something exciting starts to happen, but these moments are smothered in endless, tedious scenes where people stand around and emote at each other. Even the early scenes set in the ninja terrorist training camp, which were probably meant to engage the viewer and keep the interest up, bog down in stupid inane dialog and exposition.

But, as other reviewers have mentioned, things perk up considerably in the last bit, which actually has suspense, atmosphere, and drama. In fact, it is obvious that the last 20 minutes of the film was the real point of the film, and that everything before it was just puffery and exposition. Too bad the whole movie couldn't have been like this, but I suppose that watching 2 hours of Chuck Norris infiltrating a Ninja camp would have been like playing "Metal Gear Solid" without a controller.

3.5 stars out of 10.
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7/10
In a world of choices, there is no choice…Chuck Norris must face THE OCTAGON.
HarryLags18 October 2016
The Octagon's premise is simple. Chuck Norris vs Ninjas. That's really about it. Norris is Scott James, a man haunted by memories of his growing up and rivalry with his former martial art brother Seikura, who now heads a Ninja training camp and is teaching international terrorists the ways of the Ninja. James must stop the organization and face off, once and for all, with his former brother.

There's little in the way of story, and sadly the film takes it's time in getting to the point where Norris finally takes out the Ninja trash. Like a lot of his movies, the lack of much plot means the film moves pretty slowly between the action. When the action does kick in, it's quite impressive. The real standout though is Norris infiltrating the Ninja base in the film's climax. It's classic Norris.

The cast are okay. Lee Van Cleef and Richard Norton pop up in small roles, Richard Norton actually has a few different roles here.

I would have rated it an 8 out of 10 if there was a bit more action in the middle half of the film. For the most part, only Chuck Norris and ninja fans will get the most out of THE OCTAGON (1980).

Overall worth watching..7 out of 10
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So bad, it's good
Elbow1 June 1999
The Octagon on the surface is just another in a long line of not-so-great Chuck Norris karate pictures. But wait; there are differences.

Admittedly the quality of production is poor, but the addition of ninja assassins as chief antagonists was interesting. It should have intrigued us, but the film was just not meant to be great. The most entertaining aspect of the film is Chuck Norris' voice over narration of his thoughts. His voice echoes in whisper whenever he thinks of anything. This element may have been meant to be mysterious, but obviously it was just another part of the movie that may have swayed the viewer into thinking this was a comedy. This movie is at best described as a guilty pleasure, or something to watch on a night when you can't get to sleep. But for sarcastically humored people, or just undemanding viewers, The Octagon is fun to watch.
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5/10
Chuck Norris show with a lot of noisy action , thrills , intrigue and violent combats
ma-cortes20 November 2013
In a world of choices, for one man there is no choice , a hero named Scott James/Chuck Norris must face The Octagon . A martial artist expert (Chuck Norris who sports a bushy mustache in this fourth starring role in a cinema movie of action) must defeat a plan by ninjas to create a worldwide training camp for terrorists . Scott later becomes drawn closer to a vicious crime ring known as The Octagon ruled by Seikira (Yamashita) . Along the way Scott James is helped by Justine (Karen Carlson) , McCarn (Lee Van Cleef) and A. J. (Art Hindle) . At the end takes place a breathtaking combat in arena , an "octagonal training compound of the Ninja cult, a school for terrorists of all types" (the set had a 12' foot perimeter wall and was built north of Los Angeles at a location known as Indian Dunes and spanned the size of an American football field) .

Action star Chuck Norris in this exciting picture filled with thrills , tension , suspense and violent as well as spectacular fights with high Body Count : 40 . The movie displays a plethora of martial arts fights , as Norris cleans up the nasty fighters by means of punches , kicks , bounds and leaps with struggles certainly slick . It's violent, frenetic and hectic and not particularly literary but worthy entry in Kung-Fu genre , although runs out energy surprisingly early . Average Norris-thriller , moving and tense at times with fine fight-work from Norris , Yamashita and Richard Norton . Impressive and fierce combats , as Chuck Norris kills eleven bad guys and beats up another twenty-one of them . The film belongs Norris's early period , during the 80s such as : ¨Code of silence¨ ,¨Delta Force¨ ,¨Silent rage¨ , ¨Forced vengeance¨, ¨Delta Force¨ I,II , ¨An eye for an eye¨ , among others with successful box office at cinemas and video-rentals . In the 90s and 2000s with exception of ¨Walker Texas Ranger¨, the Norris star has gone down .

Fighting Stars Magazine ranked the climactic fight between Chuck Norris and Tadashi Yamashita as #13 on their list of the 25 greatest fight scenes of all time . A few years after this film was made and released, the word 'Octagon' later became in 1983 the name of a caged enclosure used by mixed martial arts matches and the Ultimate Fighting Championship . Nice production design , cost approximately US $200,000 to blow-up "The Octagon" major arena and fortress set. This was cheaper and more cost efficient than dismantling and disassembling the gigantic construction and taking it away to the dump . First major Ninja picture of the 1980s popular ninja movie cycle which was first released in the 1980 year before Enter the Ninja in 1981 , the 1967 You Only Live Twice and Sam Peckinpah's 1977 film The Killer elite had both previously featured ninja characters . Thrilling screenplay by Paul Aaron , in fact the movie's finale was re-written to make the climax of the film a much bigger pay-off .

The movie featured three members of the Norris family in acting roles. These were Chuck Norris , Aaron Norris, and Chuck Norris' character of Scott James at eighteen years of age was portrayed by his real life son Mike Norris . Actor Richard Norton played dual roles in this movie , though he is completely mute and never speaks for the entire picture ; Norton portrayed both the characters of Longlegs and Seikura's enforcer Kyo . The motion picture was regularly directed by Erik Karson . This was debut theatrical feature film directed by Karson , an expert on thrillers and action movies . Action addicts will give this one a passing grade ,all others need not apply . If you're a previous Norris fans ,you'll appeal it but contains enough action and violence for enthusiastic of the Karate genre .
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1/10
Yawn, God Bless You Robotic Chuck Norris
mike-r0x0rs21 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was almost the worst thing since the invention of the fanny pack. I was tripping out whenever Chuck Norris' character started thinking to himself in this movie, the whole whisper with a distorted echo thing."Doggo is not the answer... nswer... swer... wer... er... r..." It was like Chuck Norris was trying to crawl into me through my ear and steal my soul or something. I was scared needless to say.

The whole plot goes a little something like: Ninja's have been outlawed for 300 years. Someone is training people who are willing to be ninja assassins, in some undisclosed location outside of the United States. No one wants to believe they exists. some how money is involved, the movie dosn't answer that too well.

The only thing I personally think had going on for this movie was Lee Van Cleef was in it.
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Oh well...
kerottes13 May 2002
It was one of those nights. I had slept till about...late that day, and thus, my brain was functioning at a very high level, higher than the average 2 in the morning brain at least. I turn to the television for comfort, as i usually do when my friends have all left me, and I'm alone and sad. Amazed I find there's nothing worth watching as I flip through the 4 non-cable-TV channels in my room. The sadness and grudge towards my friends fades away as the opening scenes of The Octagon jump in my face. At this point, I'm wide awake and thrilled. "At least it's good for a few laughs".

And it was. The plot is fascinating:

Chuck's character was adopted by some Ninja master, and a rivalry is born between Chuck and his new fathers son, Seikura. When Seikura cheats in a race between the two, and thus dishonors the whole family, he is vanished by his father.

We meet Chuck's character Scott James, some sort of mercenary. Seikura is now training terrorists in some camp in South-America. And so the plot thickens.

As the end draws near I am vast asleep. The Octagon has served its purpose and dozed me into dreamland. Never mind the sandman. As long as Chuck's around, there's no need to fear insomnia!
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6/10
Norris vs. Ninja
sveknu27 November 2005
Personally, I wouldn't say that this is an action movie. It's more of a thriller. The movie is in fact really slow and a bit boring most of the time. The decent action doesn't kick in until just before the end. If it hadn't been for that scene, this movie wouldn't have got more than 3 stars from me. But since the last scene was pretty good, I give it a 6. Just remember that this is an Chuck Norris-movie. Norris isn't exactly the best martial arts actor, he hasn't got any spectacular moves and I get a little tired watching him wear the same type of jeans in almost every movie. There are a bunch of ninjas in the movie. The movie tried to establish them as skilled and feared fighters, but it didn't succeed with that.
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2/10
Wake me up for the ending!!!
ClfGlltt17 April 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Had fairly high hopes for this film (think Lone Wolfe McQuade wasn't too bad)but this really tries to be too clever. If I'm missing some thing here, who is Chuck in this film? he doesn't have a job, no kids to get kidnapped(to give him motivation) and who is the player Lee Van Cleef supposed to be with all his detailed baddy information. Ok Chuck always does a plastic performance, so why not more action to spare us this bad acting(a few convincing facual expressions wouldn't go a miss). As a spoiler, if you could spoil this film anymore, all it is is Chuck's brother decides to start ninja training for terrorists and because no-one believes in ninjas anymore thinks he can get away with it. Chuck however does believe and goes to sort him out. Thats it, pure and simple, all done in a "round the world" way to get to the end of the street!
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3/10
Revenge of the ninjas...
fmarkland327 August 2006
Chuck Norris stars as the only martial artist alive who can take down a ninja clan, (led by his adopted brother) in this very dull ninja movie which earns a couple points for the inspired performance of Lee Van Cleef. Chuck Norris made only one ninja movie in his career (I think because I don't remember any others) but somehow The Octagon is a surprisingly plot driven ninja movie which isn't a very good thing since well ninja movies need to be swift. When it comes to ninja movies, it remains vastly inferior to American Ninja (And it's first sequel) and Revenge Of The Ninja which could quite possibly be the birth of the genre. The Octagon has a few moments but generally Norris' voice-overs and complete lack of action make this for Norris enthusiasts only.

*1/2 out of 4-(Poor)
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1/10
This film is awful
mm-395 March 2002
Well, I do not rate too many films a 1, but this film sure is. I did not like anything about this film. Bad story, and the acting is not as bad as with some of the other Noris movie, but its not that good, and the ending too is awful. Well, its hard to sit through this one. Avoid at all costs.
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4/10
Too bad the first hour is so dull
bensonmum214 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
The plot in The Octagon hardly matters. Trying to follow the nuances of the story is enough to give you a headache. The plot deals with a lost brother, ninja training, a woman who has something to do with a group of terrorists, and some other hokum. It makes little sense. But that's not why people watch movies like The Octagon. The main purpose of the movie is to see Chuck Norris fight a bunch of ninjas.

I recently revisited Norris' A Force of One. Chuck's acting improved dramatically between the time he made that movie and the time he made The Octagon. He still had that unnatural style of delivery, but there was improvement there nonetheless.

The big problem with The Octagon, though, isn't the acting – it's the complete lack of anything interesting. The first hour or so is, in a word, boring. Nothing much happens. Chuck spends most of the time, like the audience, just trying to figure out what's going on. I don't think he was any more successful than I was.
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5/10
It grows on you...
Gislef21 July 1999
...after the 500th repeat on TBS. It involves Norris in his best non-acting minimalist role. But Lee Van Cleef is having a grand ole time hamming it up in a role which seems to have nothing to do with anything. Basically, it boils down to a set piece to A) feature ninjas (they were big in the early 80's), and B) feature martial arts sequences. And...well, it features a lot of ninjas.

The plot seems to have something to do with ninja training terrorists in some kind of summer camp for bad boys. And the head ninja has killed someone in Chuckie's past. Or...something. It's hard to tell, really. Chuck does so little "investigating" that it's hard to figure out what's going on. Nothing really leads to anything.

The martial arts sequences are pretty fun, although you kinda wonder why ninjas (and just some of them) are running in grey robes like oversized Jawas. The main bad-ass ninja is pretty cool, and wields a mean pair of sai. And the main antagonist wields a mean pair of scythes (or whatever they're called - the Japanese term escapes me).

But basically, Octagon is an early Norris showcase. He gets a lot of whispery flashbacks (probably the inspiration for that Airplane bit where Robert Hayes hears baseball announcers in his head), but is pretty much humorless. He does get a couple of cool fight sequences, though, so give it a looksee.
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5/10
Making money for the ninja school
bkoganbing22 February 2018
Chuck Norris fans and martial art film fans in general will love The Octagon. He seems to be going for a record number of casualties in dispensing bad guys in this one.

As seems to be usual for occidental actors in these films Norris was adopted by a ninja master who raised him as his own and after his blood kin disgraced him in competition with young Norris kicked him out.

Now the ninja school is being used to train mercenaries and terrorists and the rules there are mighty strict. Counter terrorism honcho Lee Van Cleef wants to put them out of business. But Norris has to have and gets a personal reason for getting the job done.

A little bit of Eugene O'Neill's self analysis and introspection dialog is done by Norris in voice overs. Believe me it worked a lot better in Strange Interlude.

Enough action for any martial arts fan here.
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3/10
NOT Prime Chuck
barreljumpersblog24 June 2015
This movie should be the easiest sell for a movie ever...

NORRIS V. NINJAS The problem is the concept makes for an exciting movie but the execution is lacking as the movie meanders all over the place never settling on the one area we want to see - NORRIS V. NINJAS! It literally takes 90-minutes to get to the actual Octagon and then when the fights start they are choreographed in a fairly dull manner (as is common when Chuck and Aaron handled all the fight scene choreography). A movie with ninjas needs more flash and better use of weapons and...well...ninja skills.

Still, this is Chuck Norris so if I complain too much he'll find me.

The podcast Don and his Amazing Friend (www.donandhisamazingfriend.com) just did a thorough review of this movie...so thorough their podcast is almost longer than the actual movie. Give it a listen!
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7/10
Not top-tier Chuck, but not as bad as some people say.
Hey_Sweden8 February 2014
It's true that it may not appeal to martial arts movie lovers across the board because it actually has quite an involved, twisty plot and is going to be too slowly paced for some. There's not much in the way of action until the big finish. Still, for an undemanding B action picture, this viewer found the production values to be reasonably good, and there are some fine performances among the supporting cast. What lends "The Octagon" a high amount of unintentional hilarity is Chuck's overdone internal dialogue, all done with an exaggerated echo effect.

Chuck stars as Scott James, a former fighter with bad memories, particularly of growing up with a hostile adoptive brother, Seikura (Tadashi Yamashita), who as an adult is now running a training camp for terrorists. A beautiful young heiress, Justine (Karen Carlson), wants revenge against Seikura because her father was one of Seikura's victims, and tries to hire Scott for her purposes. Scott isn't too happy that somebody would try to use him, and doesn't particularly want to get involved, but eventually realizes that he must.

This is boosted to a degree by the engaging presence of Lee Van Cleef, who's a gas as an anti-terrorism expert / old friend of Scott's. Art Hindle ("Black Christmas" '74, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" '78) co-stars as Scott's buddy A.J., who makes a mistake in getting interested in a cause and gets in over his head. Sexy Carol Bagdasarian, daughter of composer / songwriter / actor Ross B., plays Aura, a terrorist-in-training who experiences a change of heart. Kim Lankford ("Malibu Beach") is likable during her brief screen time. B movie legend Richard Norton makes his film debut in two credited roles and several uncredited ones as faceless ninjas. (He's joked that he must have died a total of eight times in this movie.) And keep an eye out for people such as Brian Libby (whose next screen role was as Chuck's psycho nemesis in "Silent Rage"), Jack Carter, Ernie Hudson, Chuck's son Mike who plays Scott as a teenager, and an uncredited Tracey Walter.

Good production design (by James L. Schoppe), cinematography (by Michel Hugo), and music (by Dick Halligan) help to make this a decent if unexceptional bit of entertainment. Chuck, as always, fares much better when kicking ass than when simply acting, but he still makes for a formidable hero. And the snarling Yamashita is a worthy bad guy. Some viewers may be amused to note how brutal the violence is at times.

Overall, this is fun enough to watch.

Seven out of 10.
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6/10
It is in fact a reasonable Chuck movie.
tarbosh220005 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Scott James (Chuck) is a man who looks spiffy on the outside (he wears a pretty sweet tuxedo) but seems to have a lot of turmoil on the inside. Not only is he constantly flashing back to his childhood and his initial Martial Arts training (the young Scott is played by Mike Norris), but the voices in his head are overpowering and seem to tell him important things. All this is going to come in handy when Scott James faces off against perhaps the ultimate foe: terrorist ninjas. Yes, terrorist ninjas. While protecting a woman named Justine (Carlson) from said TerNin's - which he does with the help of mentor McCarn (Van Cleef) - he realizes the true depth of what he's up against. The nefarious group trains in an octagon-shaped facility, and their organization is named...The Octagon. Will Scott James triumph over these squares? Find out today! While The Octagon contains no cage fighting, or Punchfighting of any kind, it is in fact a reasonable Chuck movie. It's not bad, but it's not great either. By today's standards, the pace might be too slow for some viewers, and at 104 minutes it's certainly on the long side. But what else would you expect from director Karson, who later was responsible for Van Damme dud Black Eagle (1988)? But the cast perhaps makes up for it. Besides the aforementioned Norrises, and of course the legendary Lee Van Cleef, we have Tadashi Yamashita of Sword of Heaven (1985) fame, whose hair steals his own performance out from under him. The great Gerald Okamura has a brief role as a member of The Octagon, as does John Fujioka, and John Barrett does stunts as well as a small role. There's even a young Ernie Hudson on board as a fighter. As is usual for a Chuck movie, Aaron Norris was stunt coordinator, and besides doing stunts, Richard Norton has a nice appearance as a baddie who gets in a fight with Chuck.

Norton's hair and mustache combo look awesome, and his blonde bowl haircut is so bright, it actually lights an entire dark scene all on its own. But back to Chuck, this movie definitely belongs to the era in his acting career where his performances were noticeably, obviously wooden. Or, WoodChuck for short. But beyond the fact that this is a WoodChuck movie, at least you can hear his thoughts, which is enlightening. There's a passing mention that Scott James was a Vietnam vet, and the baddies' training camp is seems like a dry run for the later American Ninja (1985) - which would also reunite Norton, Yamashita and Fujioka.
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5/10
This movie should have been better...better...better...
TOMASBBloodhound6 December 2009
If ever there was an action movie that seemed to have all the right pieces and couldn't fit them together, The Octagon is it. Chuck Norris, in the prime of his fighting days, plays some type of Karate exhibitionist/merc/counter terrorist who is recruited by a wealthy woman to defeat an army of ninjas being trained at a secret camp. But there is more going on here than is even necessary. The needlessly convoluted plot has too many supporting characters butting in and causing the final conflict to feel almost anti-climatic. This is a shame because though it is under-lit, the action is still very rousing.

Maybe it was also the forced plot line of having the man in charge of training the ninjas also be Chuck's long lost brother? Or why was Lee Van Cleef's character needed? Maybe the most unneeded character was that of Art Hindle who supposedly plays Chuck's partner at the karate dojo. I don't recall him doing much other than talking tough and getting taken prisoner at the end. Hindle himself admits during the DVD commentary of Black Christmas that this film embarrasses him to this day.

The acting is pretty much non-existent, but I've often been able to overlook that when it comes to action films. If something is billed as an action, then I expect the fight scenes, stunts, and explosions to win me over more than anything else. Most of the action here takes place over an hour into the film, and the screenplay seems to be going around in circles more often than moving forward. Also laughable is Chuck's recurring inner monologue that echoes as we hear him ponder details made to sound compelling but are often ponderous and go nowhere. Maybe they just thought it sounded cool as he whispers things like, "Ninjas...ninjas...ninjas.... has to be....be...be.... But they don't exist....exist....exist..." It gets tedious. Anyway, the final 15-20 minutes are exciting if not at least interesting. So, I'll be a good sport and give it 5 of 10 stars.

The Hound.
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7/10
Norris at his very best...
poe42617 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I learned early on (when I saw BREAKER! BREAKER! at a local drive-in) that one of the premier point-fighters in tournament karate was not going to be confused with the likes of Charlton Heston or Lawrence Olivier. Without Bruce Lee to guide him (as he had in WAY OF THE DRAGON, wherein Norris pretty much played himself as an international hatchet man flown in for that spectacular duel in the Roman Coliseum), Norris seemed ill at ease. His performance in GOOD GUYS WEAR BLACK wasn't much better- but he finally seemed a little less stilted in A FORCE OF ONE. (Bill Wallace, the real-life middleweight full contact karate champion, played a coked-out psychotic whose deer-caught-in-the-headlights stare suited his role. The hand-to-hand combat in and out of the ring helped make A FORCE OF ONE worth seeing.) Without a doubt, THE OCTAGON is Norris's showpiece: boasting more action (and less acting) than any of his other films, it's the perfect vehicle for the man and is still, after all these years, worth a look.
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1/10
Amazingly Bad
qormi23 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This film was laughably bad. Chuck Norris narrated his thoughts as in an echo chamber. Why? His sidekick, A.J., had the worst 70's hair imaginable. His hair resembled topiary. Instead of a haircut, I'm sure he got pruned. The plot was actually so simplistic, it seemed complicated. It seemed that I was always missing something because I subconsciously couldn't handle the fact that this movie was indeed that bad. Norris was more wooden than Sequoia National Park. In one scene, Norris is lying on a cot next to a beautiful woman who is lying on her own separate cot. Norris says nothing in the well lit room. His shirt is off and he looks like a monkey with piles of reddish, stringy hair all over his arms, chest, and back. He's obviously two chromosomes away from an orangutan. He lifts up his arms, revealing massive armpit hair. At this juncture, the woman disrobes, walks to his cot, and climbs on top of him.

Everything about this film was ludicrous. The crazy ninja training camp, which looked like a scene from "Hot Shots! Part Deux", the mysterious woman who got killed by blow gun dart, the pointless car chase, Lee Van Cleef's nonsensical character....this movie is classic garbage. A monument to ineptitude.
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2/10
Chuck Norris "action" star.
Captain_Couth21 August 2005
The Octagon (1980) was another crappy vehicle for Chuck Norris. His handlers were trying desperately to make him out to be an American Bruce Lee (but non-threatening). With a porn mustache and moppy hairdo, Chuck bust some "moves" and made a series of mediocre and bland action films (they range form average to down right awful). This is one of his most tired efforts. If it wasn't for the stunt work and brief appearance of Aussie Kung-Fu star Richard Norton this would have received a one.

Chuck Norris plays a dude who tries to infiltrate a secret fighting society called THE OCTAGON. What does he finds in the mysterious fighting sect? Who is behind the organization? How does any of this information make the movie sound more appealing? Does anybody care? Lame action set pieces and wooden acting are what you're in for when you try watching this movie.

For die hard Chuck Norris fans only.
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2/10
Norris's worst
bth200411 June 2005
The Octagon is the Chuck Norris attempt at making a Ninja movie. A worthy aspiration, especially in the very early 80's. Too bad for Norris that this is one of the worst American martial arts films ever made.

First, the acting is possibly the worst I have ever seen on film. When Chuck Norris is pretty much the best actor in the movie, you really have a problem with your cast. The only actor with skill in the whole thing was Lee Van Cleef, and he didn't get enough screen time to really give the film much help.

Second, I have no idea what happened, but Norris's end of the martial arts combat in this was just plain sloppy. In reality, he is one of the best martial artists alive, so the director or choreographer must have interfered with his real talent.

Please don't waste brain matter watching this movie. If you want a karate film you can appreciate, pick something else.
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