Gort vs Chuck Norris: The Delta Force is based on a true story - no, really

Commander's log, Stardate 11102013.2

This week saw the Mothership visited by Galactic Alliance Commander Chuck Norris. As soon as he arrived, Gort began squaring up to the reputed hardest man in this sector of space.

"You know, I don't have a chin underneath my beard - just another fist," Norris deadpanned.

"Really?" Gort answered,"underneath my chin is a neutron disintegrator." Norris vanished in a flash of light.

"Well, at least he won't have to do any more Expendables movies...." I consoled.


On June 14th, 1985, TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome was hijacked by Lebanese Islamic extremists seeking the release of Muslim prisoners from Israeli custody. The hijackers took the plane to Beirut, then forced a German stewardess to collect the passengers' passports and separate out any Jewish-sounding names for execution. While doing so, they found a US Navy diver among the holidaymakers and shot him and dumped him off the plane.

The rest of the passengers were gradually released over the course of several weeks and the hijackers escaped. This is a situation up with which Hollywood would not put. As such, the following year, a film was released that recreated the events of the hijacking point by point, up until the end when Chuck Norris showed up on a bike kitted out with missile launchers and kicked some Johnny Foreigner ass.

"A real-life hijacking is recreated point by point, until Chuck Norris shows up on a bike kitted out with missile launchers"

The first half of the movie is rife with ham-fisted attempts at balanced social commentary. We're reminded Americans are good, honest people; that the military save lives; that Jews were persecuted during the war and brave Germans are determined to never let that happen again. Equally, the brutal terrorists show moments of civility - returning wedding rings and dolls to well-behaving passengers and telling stories of their own dead children. The result is that you lose track of who you're meant to be sympathising with so the realism doesn't distract from your enjoyment of things getting blowed up - mission accomplished.

The film turns out like a cross between a Tom Clancy novel (may the elder gods rest his jingoistic soul) and Megaforce, with an uneasy balance between gung-ho action, science-fiction weaponry and accurate real-world military and political intrigue. This is a film that accurately documents a historical event, but then Chuck Norris shows up slapping a Stars and Stripes on his uniform and shouting "we're Americans" as if that automatically gives him legal jurisdiction to conduct black ops assassinations on foreign soil. Real deaths are dramatised accurately, but Norris can also teleport across the room to kick a gun out of a terrorist's hand. It's completely insane and, when it gets going, a hell of a lot of fun.

This isn't exactly Syriana, but if you're looking for a fun little political action movie that has just enough realism and clumsy, shallow moralising not to leave the bad taste of apple pie in your mouth, then Delta Force manages to be exactly what Team America is satirising, but still be less offensive than the parody. Long live the beard.

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