Good Guys Wear Black (1978) – Review

1 Star

A silly and somewhat dull politically themed action thriller that seems tailor made for appeal to the late 1970s Drive-in set. Chuck Norris is John Booker Vietnam Vet and one of five survivors of an elite special forces group that was ambushed and abandoned in the jungle years ago. Booker now lives in San Francisco teaching political science studies and racing Porsches (I’m serious), then word reaches him that the remaining members of his group is being picked off one at a time.

Directed by Ted Post best known for crafting the second (and best) Dirty Harry film Magnum Force. Post’s directorial choices heighten the material by adding a touch of professionalism and class to the picture. His use of framing is intriguing in its grind-house simplicity but its effective and almost elegant in a low-key way. But lets face it elegance is not something most people expect from a Chuck Norris flick.

This is a good starting point for anyone looking to see Norris in his early career. I mean check out the poster and see Chuck in all his full Bell-Bottomed glory! A good 70’s porn-like score from composer Craig Safan keeps the mood light and is so catchy you’ll be humming it for weeks. Norris is actually fairly good in the film filling a void between Eastwood and McQueen but without the charisma. That is not to say ol’ Chuckie isn’t without merit it’s just that he seems uncomfortable in front of the camera. It would be almost another five years before he broke through to the stage of internationally recognized ‘Movie Star’.

The picture is notable for the first pairing of Norris and actor Soon-Tek Oh nearly a decade before their memorable combat sequence in Missing In Action 2. Also featured is the truly beautiful and talented Anne Archer who injects her character with so much energy we mourn he absence when she is dumped from the story 40 minutes in. Perhaps the most welcomed appearance is by Lloyd Haynes widely considered as the ‘Sidney Poitier’ of exploitation cinema. Unfortunately the action doesn’t get heated until the film is almost half over and the screenplay by Bruce Cohn and Mark Medoff lacks cohesiveness and character development. Worthy of a look for nondiscrimination viewers of the genre and Norris fans.

Director: Ted Post
Stars: Chuck Norris, Anne Archer, Lloyd Haynes

One thought on “Good Guys Wear Black (1978) – Review

  • May 11, 2011 at 4:02 am

    Hey, I like Good Guys Wear Black! If you like crappy movies, this is a great one, plus you get Norris. Btw this review reads more like a 2 star, which is around where I’d put it.


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