Invasion USA (Blu-ray Review)

Invasion-USAWhen America faces invasion for the first time in history, it’s up to one-man army Matt Hunter (action superstar Chuck Norris) to wage war upon the enemies of freedom. On suburban streets, in shopping malls, and even in churches, the firepower explodes in megaton fury… and death-defying stunts escalate into a heart-stopping climax when Hunter, America’s doomsday weapon, launches his final plan.  From the director of Missing In Action, Joseph Zito, comes one of Norris’ most action-packed films.  Invasion U.S.A. also includes a new audio commentary with director Joseph Zito, a new interview with screenwriter James Bruner, and a new interview with special effects makeup artists Tom Savini, Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger as bonus features. 

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Film Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1

An army of terrorist mercenaries led by Soviet agent Rostov catches America unprepared and makes it a war zone from sea to shining sea. Only one man can stem the rising tide of violence: retired agent and martial arts expert Matt Hunter. Leading the United States Army into guerrilla warfare on its own turf, Hunter won’t stop until every last bazooka-wielding enemy is taken out.

Invasion USA is nothing short of amazing.  Its the type of balls out, ruthless 1980s pure action filmmaking you just aren’t allowed and can’t make anymore.  Personally, its also my favorite film of the Chuck Norris filmography.  Many consider it to be the greatest Cannon Film of all-time (This one or Death Wish 3).  But, what’s most important is that in 1985, Chuck Norris saved Christmas.

This film was a reteaming of the group that came together for Missing In Action.  That would be Norris, director Joseph Zito and writer James Bruner.  Coming along with Zito was his effects man and gore icon Tom Savini.  The two had worked together previously on The Prowler and Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter.  Savini was coming off of Day of the Dead and brought future KNB Effects legends Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger with him.  Behind the scenes, this movie was stacked.

In the fall of 1985 as sort of crossroads happened in the action movie genre.  Norris and Charles Bronson were top dogs, and both of their films that year were #1’s as well.  But, this was the year where Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone would begin to take over the box office and own the genre.  Earlier in the year Rambo: First Blood Part II had taken the country by storm.  The week following the release of Invasion USA, Schwarzenegger came and changed the game with the highly influential genre staple Commando.  Take a look at the box office returns for merely fall 1985 and you’ll see what a hey day it was for the genre at the time.

Say what you will, but if you can’t fully appreciate and love a gonzo movie like this…I dunno what to tell you.  Invasion USA is one of the best and top tier pure action movies of the decade.  And looking back at a trashy popcorn and a beer kinda movie night, it gets no better than this.  Norris is in top form, the movie “goes there”, blows ups TONS OF SHIT, ruthlessly kills people, has great one-liners and Norris roundhouses people in the damn face.  Its everything you want and more from a Chuck Norris movie.  A must have come Christmas time, to remind folks we are able to celebrate thanks to Chuck Norris’ bravery back in 1985.

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Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  Invasion USA is not going to light the world on fire, no.  But the print is in pretty good condition and comes through with a quality reminiscent of how it probably was in theaters.  Detail is above average and decent and the image isn’t over sharpened.  Its as solid as you’d need it to be and the best the film has ever looked on home video.

Depth:  Decent depth work, a bit above average.  Interior scenes look pretty good, with background imagery coming through solid as the focus allows.  Movements are cinematic with minuscule unnoticeable blur.

Black Levels:  Blacks are pretty deep, and the nighttime scenes a little consuming.  There is not crushing and sometimes darkness can hide a detail or two.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are solid.  Everything remains to a natural appearance and nothing is really loud and flashy.  There are some reds and blues that pop a little, but nothing major.  Fire from explosions is probably the most off the screen things get.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent throughout the picture’s duration.  Close-ups provide your best look at skin texture, seeing details of make-up, wrinkles, scars and Richard Lynch’s unique skin.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some grain and light specs/dirt

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Audio Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1 Dexter-0

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English SDH

Dynamics:  Invasion USA comes blasting at you with your choice of 5.1 roundhouses to the face or just a mere 2.0 if you can’t handle it.  Norris brilliance resonates in a loud and boisterous action track that really powers its gunfire and explosions.  There is a good enough balance in this track to make the mix sound clean and loose.  Given its age, this a pretty rock solid awesome 5.1 track.

Low Frequency Extension:  Rocket launchers, houses blowing up, malls being destroyed, cars crashing, punches, kicks…you name it, the subwoofer hits it.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The front speakers keep busy following Norris’ fast feat back and forth and rocketing through an accurate portrayal of the ass-kicking on screen.  Rear speakers hang back as silent assassins with some good ambiance and capture of some offscreen action in heavily populated battle sequences.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue?  Oh that…Yes!  Everyone sounds good and and plenty audible.  Sounds a bit of its time, but still more than solid.

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Extras Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Joseph Zito

Loose Cannons (HD, 29:04) – Interview with screenwriter James Bruner.  Bruner discusses his entry into screenwriting and how Chuck Norris helped him to get his first screenplayed made which had their friendship lead them to Cannon Films.  He discusses working on Missing In Action, Delta Force and much of his other work while at the studio in this terrific interview.

Cannon Carnage (HD, 17:48) – Interview with Tom Savini, Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero. The Make-up effects of Invasion USA had an all-star roster.  There are many funny stories about the pranks on set, a huge babysitting fail and how Tom had them go to Disneyworld a lot during the shoot.  They were all excited as doing a Chuck Norris movie was like getting to do a James Bond film for them.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:33) 

TV Spot (HD, :31) 

Still Gallery (HD, 2:25) – Promotional stills and poster art

Braddock: Missing In Action III Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:32) 

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Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

I’m so damn excited this silly, ridiculous, awesome, over the top kick ass Chuck Norris movie has FINALLY made the jump to Blu-ray.  And its here in awesome fashion from Shout! Factory.  They’ve released it with a totally awesome audio and video presentation.  That’s not all, we’ve got some great new interviews with the unsung heroes behind the scenes of the film as well as a new commentary with Joseph Zito the director.  If you have one Chuck Norris movie in your collection, make it this one!



Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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