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A 747 on its way from Athens to Rome and New York City is hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, demanding that the pilot take them to Iraq. They kill passengers until their demands are met. But an elite team of commandoes led by Major McCoy (Chuck Norris) and Colonel Alexander (Lee Marvin) is on its way to deal with the situation.

"You can just imagine Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus signing Delta Force deal memos on napkins and coasters on the terrace of the Carlton Hotel in Cannes. No production company seized the "greed is good" ethic like Cannon Films, founded by the Israeli cousins who wore matching satin bomber jackets and churned out hundreds of mostly dreadful films before the inevitable crash and burn at decade's end. Cannon may be gone but it did leave a few diamonds in the dustbin and this is one of them.

Menahem Golan, an able director when he puts his mind to it, helmed this deliriously funny right-wing fantasy about a planeload of passengers kidnapped by Arab terrorists (led by Robert Forster!!!) and held ransom until Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris arrive to save the day. It's impossible to defend a film which asks us to take its virulent anti-Arab propaganda seriously while also asking us to accept the casting of George Kennedy as a priest. Not having to is what makes this such a guilty pleasure. Look further at the roll call of hostages and you get the picture. There's Fassbinder's great leading lady Hanna Schygulla, resplendent with a platinum perm, playing a stewardess, "Rat Pack" member Joey Bishop looking like he wants to croon a couple of numbers to ease the tension and an hysterical Shelley Winters looking like she could still hold her breath for four minutes and save the day if required.

Also worth a special mention are George Kennedy's sunglasses which are so big they need an "oversize" sign on them. The Delta Force is long at 130 minutes but it delivers plenty as Marvin (in his last film but never too old to rock'n'roll at 62) and Norris (beard, cowboy boots, four-wheel drive) lead the raid. There's no shortage of explosions, car crashes or rent-an-Arab extras being slaughtered as bassett-face Lee and stone-face Chuck demonstrate that these terrorists are no match for the American fighting man. I can imagine Ronald Reagan, Howard Hughes-like, watching this film over and over again, smiling as those brave boys kick Arab butt and clenching his fist as Alan Silvestri's cheesy score kicks the action along.

Apart from the trailer there are no fancy extras with this release and nor should there be. With Lee and Chuck at the wheel who needs more. My consumer advice is pizza and beer accompaniment to enhance your viewing pleasure."
Richard Kuipers

Published: February 8, 2001

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CAST: Lee Marvin, Chuck Norris, Martin Balsam, Joey Bishop, Shelley Winters, Robert Forster, George Kennedy, Hanna Schygulla, Bo Svenson

DIRECTOR: Menahem Golan

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: November 2000

Original Theatrical Trailer
Subtitles in English, English (Hard of Hearing), German, German (Hard of Hearing), Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Polish.

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