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The Films of Chuck Norris - Review


The Octagon

Starring: Chuck Norris / Lee Van Cleef / Karen Carlson / Richard Norton

Directed by : Eric Karson  - 1980

The Octagon is a 1980 Chuck Norris film that featured a unique feature of voice over effects to relay Chuck Norris's character inner self.

Here Chuck plays Scott James a man with past that holds both happiness and fear .This has repercussions as Scott has flashbacks and dreams about these times.One being about a mission he went on that resulted in his friends murder and the others from his child hood where he was raised by a Ninjitsu master from a young age alongside the masters own son.In there rigorous training the two boys would battle each other to be the best and because Scott was white Caucasian or Gwei-Lo as Westerners are often called.

This resulted in his Asian brother to resent him and grow to hate him ,when his Asian brother (Seikura) shames him self and his father ,the father banishes him from training and tells Scott never to seek him out .

Now years pass and Scott is a grown man and a champion fighter who does not compete anymore ,but has a reputation as being some one who could help out the needy.

The film evolves around the fact that a  secret ninja camp has been set up to train assassins ,who would go on to take on jobs for money .When a wealthy woman comes to Scott for help in which she tricks him to visiting her home by posing as a lady in distress at a roadside (she ends up nicking his car keys).

Anyway she gets chuck where she wants him long enough to ask him to help her about her husbands death in which she asks him to find some people because of his skills.He refuses and leaves .But when she turns up again and chuck is attacked by which he believes are Ninjas he starts to suspect that his long lost brother Seikura may be behind it.

He trie to enrol at the school by answering a ad in a paper looking for mercenaries.(it's these people that enrol for Ninja School)

But when he gets recognised by a mercenary he gets confronted and challenged by the mercenaries fighter ''Long Legs'' here played by Richard Norton who was also a fight choreographer on the film.

When a young woman from the ninja camp comes to Scott for help(she saw him at the mercenaries camp. He eventually agrees and now Scott must confront his child hood fears.

Problem is The lady that originally wanted Scott to help has become friends with one of Scott's mates (another martial arts fighter) in a bid to prove he can do as good Scott he has gone on his own mission to the Ninja camp.

With help from his army buddy and mercenary McCarn (Lee Van Cleef) he launches a plan to break in to the camp and free his friend and confront his Old Brother.

In the dead of night Scott launches a attack on the ninja camp being attacked from all sides he rolls,breaks limbs,and kicks his way deeper in to the camp ,but before he can get to where he wants he is trapped and forced to fight Seikura's chief Bodyguard ''Kyo''.(here played by Richard Norton) Yes i know he has two parts ,but you never see Kyo's Face so that's OK ,and for the record i have seen this film many times and never realised it was Richard Norton as Kyo until i viewed it the other day again.

The fight takes place in the camps Octagon and Scott must fight not for his own life but a friends to.

Then with the help of fellow mercenaries and the girl from the camp they destroy the place ,but Scott still has one last fight ,he must confront Seikura in a fight to the death.

As you all know Scott succeeds in his quest and the credits role ,so was  it worth the watch ,even though done on a budget the film has some classic moments and remember 'no CGI and special effects here created by computer .This is raw Chuck at his best ,as he utilises his repertoire to dispatch his foes.

The battle with Richard Norton as Kyo is a blast and one that will have you on the edge of your seat.And along with Lee Van Cleef it gives it all a sense of class.

Yes it's from a time when Ninja Movies where everywhere ,but this is one of the better ones ,with not to much silliness in it like flying,turning in to animals or such like.

A true classic of Martial cinema from the States and Chuck .

Score out of Ten = 8

review date 25/06/10

 Image Copyright 1980 © American Cinema Releasing / 2000© MIA Video


Alternate Artwork and Stills 

Carlos Ray ''Chuck '' Norris

Martial artist , Actor , Philanthropist 

Legendary Martial artist , Actor and Philanthropist , Former World Karate Champion . For more on Chuck Norris see our feature page on this legendary artist .


  • Chuck Norris - Scott James
  • Karen Carlson - Justine
  • Lee Van Cleef - McCarn
  • Carol Bagdasarian - Aura
  • Brian Libby - Deadwyler
  • Richard Norton - Kyo, Seikura's Enforcer/Long Legs
  • Art Hindle - A.J.
Directed by Eric Karson
Produced by Joel Freeman
Written by Paul Aaron
Leigh Chapman
Starring Chuck Norris
Karen Carlson
Music by Dick Halligan
Cinematography Michel Hugo
Editing by Dann Cahn
Distributed by American Cinema Releasing
Release date(s) August 14, 1980
Running time 103 mins.
Country United States
Language English