Review: Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection
Chuck Norris returns as Delta Force Col. Scott McCoy, who this time out squares off against snaky, remorseless South American druglord Ramon Cota (Billy Drago) after a DEA op in Rio fails to nab him. Oh, and some DEA agents get Murder Death Killed in the process. John P. Ryan plays blustery American General Taylor, Richard Jaeckel (in his final film) is a DEA agent, Paul Perri is McCoy’s buddy whose lady friend is wiped out by Cota, and Mark Margolis turns up as Cota’s cohort General Olmedo.
Chuck Norris has never had terribly nice things to say about this 1990 action sequel from director/brother Aaron Norris (“Braddock: Missing in Action III”) and screenwriter Lee Reynolds (Cannon’s shit sequel “Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold”). I like to think that’s because of the real-life tragedy that befell five crew members in a chopper accident, because for me the film itself is really no better or worse than the original “Delta Force” or Norris’ “Missing in Action” and “Lone Wolf McQuade”. These four films stand out pretty far ahead of the rest of this filmography, uneven as they all are in their own ways.
It’s interesting that although a Cannon film (well technically, Cannon had been taken over by Pathé by this point), it’s not a Golan-Globus production. Yoram Globus produces this one with Christopher Pearce instead. Golan, who directed and co-wrote “The Delta Force” had jumped ship to start his 21st Century Film Corporation (who were responsible for the Robert Englund version of “Phantom of the Opera” among others). Apparently it was originally envisioned as a vehicle for “American Ninja” stars Michael Dudikoff and the late Steve James, but they turned it down and after a script rewrite Cannon’s other big action star Norris jumped on board. It sure as shit doesn’t play any differently in quality than Cannon’s other ‘decent’ films, as it’s a mixture of the good and the bad.
For the bad we get shocking dubbing of minor actors in the opening Mardi Gras scene, for instance. Meanwhile, there are few actors with less acting talent and more acting credits than Chuck Norris. The guy never tries, never has and never will, and although this is far from his worst performance, he’s barely giving one at all. That’s just Chuck’s way, I guess and he certainly has his fans who won’t care. Thankfully he’s got a couple of people around him here who do turn up with their working boots on. Dropping his laughable attempt at a South American accent pretty early on, there are few actors out there more evil-eyed and snaky than Billy Drago. Cast as a completely remorseless drug baron, his ruthlessness and brutality are the highlight of the film, which is otherwise typical Chuck Norris stuff. On the list of bad guys who deserve to die horribly, Drago’s character here may be second only to Hitler. Yes, I’m exaggerating but believe me this guy’s fucking evil, taking into consideration Drago’s already impressively evil on-screen standards. There’s even something a little kinky and lurid about his performance and character, and he’s the most interesting villain in a Chuck Norris movie by far. Yes, even more enjoyable than the great Christopher Lee in “An Eye for an Eye”. There isn’t an actor on screen here having more obvious fun than veteran character actor John P. Ryan. One of the only survivors of the real-life chopper crash, Ryan’s a solid actor but even by his standards he’s livening up a fairly stock-standard part, and the film is all the better for it. He’s certainly more impressive than veteran actor Richard Jaeckel, who is probably here to replace his “Dirty Dozen” co-star Lee Marvin from the original “Delta Force”, but he has none of the great man’s charisma and not that great acting ability either. He’s…serviceable and frankly looks somewhat bored. Continuing the run of veteran character actors in the film, Mark Margolis is actually surprisingly terrible and poorly wasted as Drago’s colleague with a terribly unconvincing foreign accent to boot. Paul Perri gets to play Norris’ clearly doomed buddy and is a lot better than most other Norris second bananas.
There’s some fun stuff in this, unquestionably. Norris’ response to an ally’s death is to go and beat up some army cadets under the guise of training them. No, you’re just pissy and wanting to bust some skulls you prick. Norris rock-climbing with seemingly very no equipment is the most ridiculous thing ever…and then a snake turns up. I’m not remotely complaining. He’s only got one rope and the dude only uses it after his first attempt to climb unassisted goes askew. It’s priceless. We also get a fun and quite violent fight between Chuck and long-haired Rick Prieto playing South America’s answer to 80s action movie henchman Al Leong (“Lethal Weapon”, “Big Trouble in Little China”, “Rapid Fire”). Hell, despite the awful dubbing even the opener is good fun. There’s a good rum-a-dum music score by Frederic Talgorn (“Fortress”, “Heavy Metal 2000”) as well that’s a cut above the norm for a Norris flick.
A cut above most Chuck Norris cheapies, this one’s a little underrated and gets an obvious boost from the slimy villainy of Billy Drago and the unbridled enthusiasm of John P. Ryan. It’s not bad at all.