Good Guys Wear Black

I like to check out older films here and there during the course of my reviews. This time, I went back to a classic action film, and one of my favorites featuring Chuck Norris. It’s funny to watch films like this again and how your perception of them changes, unfortunately it’s not always for the best as was the case with Good Guys Wear Black.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a classic action film and worth a viewing despite how the review plays out from here. It’s just not the great film that I had remembered as a kid. This was actually one of my favorite Chuck Norris films growing up as a kid in the 70’s. Films like this one, The Octagon, A Force Of One were all huge at the time, and fun to watch.

In this particular film, Chuck is home, is ex-military covert ops (naturally) and has his life back in order after the last tragic mission of his unit in which most of them were killed after being betrayed by others in the chain of command. Now, the surviving members of his old team are starting to be killed off with Chuck being among the last in the crosshairs. Classic Chuck.

The story is sufficient and predictable with a twist here and there. The directing, shooting and editing are what stand out as the most problematic. Some of the shots and editing are just bad, with weirdly amateurish kind of mistakes like some jump cut edits and choppy camera movements which the editing could’ve fixed. The action is great at times (like Chuck jumping in the air and going through the windshield of a car with one of his famous kicks) or it’s not so great where some of the fight scenes just come off kind of slow and clumsy. Fight scenes now (when not consumed by shakey-cam) seem much more realistic and intense.

The actors aren’t great, but they’re ok, meaning they get the job done in predictable ways but noone in particular lights up the screen. Norris is kind of wooden, doesn’t offer much range and is mostly one-dimensional. The lineup includes Anne Archer, Lloyd Haynes, and James Franciscus.

reviewed by Sean McKnight