Can the premise even be articulated?
With some difficulty. This script had been in circulation for ten years and was being changed a bit with every producer, so there’s kind of a Chinese Democracy effect. Essentially, Chuck is a private eye who is hired to find this old jeweler who has been kidnapped. Some interpol guy sneaks into the house of the missing man and ambushes Chuck with a taser for no reason and quickly leaves. The interpol guy is then is killed and has no other role in the story. But it turns out the jeweler has been kidnapped to cut truly outrageous gems stolen from a Hebrew artifact, which gives Chuck a chance to show of his knowledge of the Old Testament to the Jews while he imagines them burning in hell. A lot of other factors are involved, but if I try to explain, I’ll sound like a schizophrenic. Let’s just say, a PI tries to find missing man under extremely convoluted circumstances and the movie sends secret messages to my brain.
Evidence That The Script Was Written by Kenny Bania:
Chuck: Where’s Isaac Teller, or do I have to beat it out of you?
Villain: That’s what I like about you. You’re worried about Isaac when you should be worried about yourself.
Chuck: Should I take that as a threat?
Villian: No. As your last will and testament.
Uptight Cop: You think you’re real funny.
Chuck: About as funny as your questions are stupid.
Uptight Cop: Did you know the guy who got his throat slashed from ear to ear?
Chuck: No, did you?
Uptight Cop: No, but we’re running him.
Non-Uptight Cop: Speaking of which, you’re running out of lives, Shep.
Bargain Bin Quality
The main villain Chuck is pursuing is billed as a “chameleon” who “speaks foreign languages” and is a “master of disguise.” Lord knows, you would never guess that this file photo is of a man in disguise. One of the other photos of his disguises features him wearing sunglasses and a baseball hat with the brim pulled down.
Another amusing scene takes place a while after Chuck has found the interpol guy dying. The man whispered his last words into Chuck’s ear. Chuck has just completely written off the event, but his companion, the niece of the Jewish jeweler they are looking for, is curious.
Niece: The guy told you something before he died.
Chuck (dismissively): Yeah but it didn’t make any sense.
Niece: What did he say?
Chuck: First he said “Hebrew,” then he said “Hoshen mishpat.”
So, Chuck has dismissed this as the nonsensical sputtering of a dying man because he doesn’t understand or recognize Hebrew. Even though the man prefaced the Hebrew by saying “Hebrew.”
I have to throw in my favorite scene in the film as well. It’s a montage of Norris banging the heavy bag to let off some steam after he tracked down a kidnapping victim, only to find her already dead. The scene is pretty bad to begin with. Then Norris WHISPERS in voice over, “I’m sorry I was too late–too late. Toooooo laaaaaate.”
Christ. Well, Chuck drives this beat up, blue van which for some reason struck me as awesome, especially since he uses it in a high speed chase. I miss vans.
VESTIGES OF GLORY
The past holds the key.
You probably know that Chuck is a religious nut and that at some point, he decided to incorporate his beliefs into his work. Being a devout Christian is pretty much the same thing as being gay. There are a couple of nice looking, older women dying for his touch, but to the extent that he even notices, he abstains. However, he has never seemed more at home in the violent embrace of another man.
17 dead is not an embarrassing total, especially as so much time is wasted trying to make this into an archeological themed thriller, but it’s nothing to crow about either. The closest we come to a novelty death is a guy getting his throat slit.
Postmortem One Liner:
Did you have to throw him through the window?
I needed some air.
What You Learned:
Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice. It was during a screening of this movie.