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The Delta Force [UK] Blu-ray Review

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The Film

[Rating:2.5/5]

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Mention such names as action star Chuck Norris and Menahem Golan, the producer/director known for such mindless ’80s action fare as Blood Sport and the aptly named Over the Top, and you pretty much know what you’re in for with 1986’s The Delta Force before the opening credits even begin to roll.

This by the numbers popcorn flick seeks to blend the popular ’80s shoot ’em up genre with a high stakes chracter-driven drama, following a story of a jetliner for ATW Airlines heading from Athens to Rome and then on to New York hijacked by Middle Eastern terrorists and the elite force of US special forces, commanded by Col. Nick Alexander (Lee Marvin) and headed up by disgruntled Vietnam Vet Maj. Scott McCoy (Norris), that must swoop in to save the day.

The terrorists, calling themselves the New World Revolutionary Organization, take over the airplane mid flight and begin to separate out the male Jewish passengers, forcing a German flight attendant to find all the Jewish names from collected passports. Also on the flight are three US Navy men, and a priest, all of whom end up hostages alongside the Jewish men the terrorists take with them when they force the plane to land in Beirut. Maj. Scott McCoy and his Delta Force operatives must rescue the hostages and take down the terrorists, but time is of the essence.

The film ticks all the boxes anyone could expect from this sort of Rambo-esque take-off, providing a prime US enemy in the Middle Eastern terrorists, the “hero” military veterans, and, finally, the massive gunplay where the bullets start flying and the body count starts ticking up. Although Norris and Marvin are the nominal stars of the film, it’s actually the passengers and terrorists onboard the flight that steal the show with some of the best, albeit somewhat over the top, performances, including an always delightful Shelley Winters and Robert Forster as the head honcho of the hijackers, Abdul.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

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The Delta Force has been transferred from the original 35mm film elements by MGM, according to Arrow, and arrives in this Blu-ray release encoded in AVC at 1080p. While 80% of the time the picture offers up moments of sharp detail with a fine and natural grain structure and clean source, the remainder of the time we get a rough looking picture with obvious source damage, lots of softness and hints of video noise. In a word, it’s uneven at best, and a bit slapdash at worst, but presentable for this B-grade actioner from the ’80s nonetheless.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

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An English LPCM 2.0 stereo (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is included on this Blu-ray Disc release from Arrow. The high end sounds a little harsh and tweaked, but it is ultimately typical of these 80s action flicks with its electronically-driven, highly produced score. The sound effects are panned widely for an engulfing effect, even without the extra channels of a surround mix and there’s only some mild clipping evident in the dialogue.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3.5/5]

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  • Genre Hijackers – Mark Hartley on Cannon Films (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:14:43)
  • Chuck Norris Scribe – Interview with James Bruner, screenwriter (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:21:48)
  • May the Delta Force Be With You! – An interview with Commandant Christian Proteau, founder of the French GIGN and instructor of the first Delta Force (1.78:1; 720p/50; 00:23:20)
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1.85:1; 1080p/24; 00:01:56)
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by author John Kenneth Muir and a contemporary article on Cannon Films, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

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A mindless flick for the popcorn crowd who like their bullets flying and their explosions loud, this prototypical ’80s actioner is a pure escapist time waster that will manage to keep you entertained until the credits roll and you forget all about it.

Additional Screen Captures

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[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00IJE1QV6[/amazon-product]

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