Twelve Days of Christmas Review #6: Invasion U.S.A. (1985)

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Let’s take that road before us and bring a Norris or two…

Subgenre:  Action

Summary:  When terrorists invade America, it’s up to one ex-operative to stop them.

Review:  Having seen all the classic Christmas action movies (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, etc.), I had to go out a bit outside the box to find this one.

Invasion U.S.A. tells the story of Matt Hunter, a retired C.I.A. spy living a quiet life in the swamplands of Florida.  When his old nemesis Mikhail Rostov mounts an elaborate attack on the nation, Matt will stop at nothing to end the terror once and for all.

Right off the bat, Invasion U.S.A. lets us know just how evil its villain is, with a half-disturbing, half-ridiculous scene showing his unique methods of dispatching his enemies.  In fact, the movie’s first act focuses primarily on the bad guys, with Norris absent for quite a bit of it.  This pacing (or lack thereof) is the movie’s greatest fault.

Invasion U.S.A.’s attempted blending of Commando and Red Dawn doesn’t work, mainly because it doesn’t allow for a central location around which to stage the action.  The movie is comprised of three parts, each of which basically consists of the same scene repeated ad nauseam: first the successful terrorist attacks, then the attacks thwarted by Norris, and finally Norris vs. the terrorists.  Though I do admire the movie’s boldness in showing civilians being killed (as they realistically would), it still becomes boring after you’ve seen it a few times.

Another weakness of Invasion U.S.A. is Norris himself.  He lacks the charisma of Schwarzenegger or Van Damme – neither particularly talented actors, but both fun to watch nonetheless.  Norris just feels wooden, an impression heightened by his scenes with Richard Lynch’s hammy villain.  Lynch is the most memorable part of this movie; the dude just looks evil.

The Verdict:  It has its moments, but Invasion U.S.A. should’ve been more fun.  I give it four fearsome freedom fighters out of ten.

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