CANNON MONTH: Invasion U.S.A. (1985)

The first in a six-film deal that Chuck Norris signed with Cannon after Missing In Action, this was inspired by Chuck thumbing through Reader’s Digest and learning that terrorists — real terrorists — were running loose in the U.S. by the hundreds.

Chuck was interviewed by the Sun Sentinel and his inspiration: “I thought, “Boy, that’s scary. What if some guy on the order of a Khomeini or a Khadafi mobilized those guys and started sending them out to every major city? I know it’s going to happen, and even in the movie, the head terrorist says, “It’s so easy because of the freedom of movement in this country.” So we’re really accessible to this. The movie is not meant to scare people, but to make us aware of a potential problem.”

Not only did this movie cost $12 milion, but it was spent the right way: the houses that get blown up real good are all real, as is the Avondale Mall. The Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport was going to bulldoze an entire suburban neighborhood to extend a runway and the mall was also being rebuilt, so the filmmakers paid enough that they could explode some real lhonest-to-goodness slice of America.

The movie lets you know a few things right off the bat. It’s a Joe Zito (The Prowler) film, it’s uncompromisin and it’s villains are simply villains. They off an entire boat of Cuban refugees in the guise of being coast guardsmen, but they’re really an internationall collective of scumbags led by Soviet operative Mikal Rostov (Richard Lynch, the best of all 80s bad guys). Their first move, after killing all those Cubans and taking the cocaine in their boat, is to try and take former CIA agent Matt Hunter (Norris) off the board. They decimate his Everglades home and kill his best friend John Eagle (Dehl Berti), which makes the retired hero re-enlist to deliver death.

As boats full of soldiers unload on the beaches of Miami while another group pretends to be cops and sow chaos. Churches are targeted, a mall is destroyed, a carnival gets bombed to bits and suburban neighborhoods are under attack. During all this, the FBI arrests Hunter for his vigilante attacks on the terrorists, but come on. You know that he’s going to be found innocent, strap on some guns and fire a rocket launcher directly at Richard Lynch. We demand blood.

This is the kind of movie where shoving a cocaine straw up a woman’s nose, launching her through a window and shooting Billy Drago in the dick is an afterthought. That’s how pure evil Lynch is.

I wish that they made twenty of these. Avenging Force may have been a proposed sequel, but Chuck wanted to do other things, so Michael Dudikoff played Matt Hunter, who may or may not be the same character. And that movie is just as deranged as this one. Perhaps slightly more so.

But yeah. Invasion U.S.A. Inspired by Reader’s Digest and then 129 people get killed. Chuck killed thirty of them. Invasion brings every state leader together with no politics. Chuck watches Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. God bless America.

You can listen to The Cannon Canon podcast about Invasion U.S.A. starring the Molasses 2×4 here.

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