Silent Rage (1982)

silent rage poster 1982 movie
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 3/10

Interesting concept

Dull visuals, development, and acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Silent Rage

Studio:  Topkick Productions

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Horror/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Martial Arts

Release Date(s):  April 2, 1982

MPAA Rating:  R

silent rage killer john kirby the shining

Here’s “not” Johnny

John Kirby (Brian Libby) has mental problems and is highly medicated.  When the pressure becomes too great, Kirby snaps killing his landlady and a man who tries to help her.  Kirby is taken down by Sheriff Dan Stevens (Chuck Norris), his deputy Charlie (Stephen Furst), and his men, only to be reborn as a super-human killer when Dr. Spires (Steven Keats) use an experimental drug on him.  Kirby is now unstoppable and insane.  The only thing standing in his way is Sheriff Stevens.

Directed by Michael Miller, Silent Rage was a strange genre blend film with action, horror, and sci-fi.  It ran heavily on television and has gained a cult following partially due to the upsurge in popularity in Chuck Norris.

I can remember this movie being on all the time growing up.  I also remember hardly ever watching anything but the ending.  With a set-up that takes too long, the movie does not really get going until the final fight.  A ******spoiler alert****** is in effect for the rest of the review.

silent rage ron silver dead toni kalem

My brother is dead…and it is my birthday next week…I wonder if he got me anything?

The movie’s plot meanders along for quite a while despite a good kick off with Kirby going crazy.  The movie also finds itself struggling between just being outright funny and painfully bad.  Of course with a poster proclaiming “Science created him, Now Chuck Norris must destroy him,” doesn’t provide much realistic hope for it being great.  The film does pick up once Kirby starts his unstoppable rampage, but it is too little too late.  Despite the prospects of a really cool, cold-blooded murdering machine, the final fight where Chuck Norris goes all kung-fu on Kirby is possibly the weakest fight you’ve ever seen.  I also like that Chuck Norris has obviously seen that the guy is powerful (he burned and healed in front of him), but he just knocks him in a well and says “It’s over”?  Come on!  Really?

Brian Libby is a pretty good killer, but the movie is a vehicle for Chuck Norris.  The movie has a different tone than a lot of Norris’s other films from this period.  The romance with Toni Kalem is pretty weak and the chemistry between Norris and Kalem is not very inspired.  Funny guy Stephen Furst is there as comic relief (which never goes well for the big guy police officer in a movie).  Ron Silver plays the good doctor while the bad doctors of course give a mentally unbalanced killer a second chance at life.

silent rage final fight chuck norris

It’s time to go Chuck Norris on you…finally!

The film is rather low budget.  Despite Norris already led films, the movie feels like it would be more comfortable in the 1970s than in the 1980s (including the “Time for Love” montage with Norris and Kalem which is sung by Married With Children actress Katey Sagal).  The film looks like a made-for-TV movie in a lot of ways and doesn’t carry the weight of a solid action, an ’80s slasher, or a edgy sci-fi.

I will say that Silent Rage is a rather strange Chuck Norris movie.  If it had been better make, it could have been really interesting and something really different for Norris.  Norris has been in very few genre films outside action, and I would have liked to have seen more like this.  I wonder how he would  have handled something like a Predator or a Terminator.  The film was remade in 2009 as Indestructible, but I would be interested in a bigger budget approach to the movie.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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