October 05, 1981 12:00 PM

The nimble Chuck Norris still gets his kicks from karate. But the Great White Box Office Hope of martial arts cinema needs a script. His lines here can put you out faster than a savage kick to the attention span. Director Steve Carver is a Roger Corman disciple whose credits include Angie Dickinson’s biggest embarrassment, Big Bad Mama. He has cast Norris as a San Francisco cop who quit the force to avenge the murder of his partner during a drug investigation. The murder trail leads back to—surprise!—a secret society. Norris’ nemesis is the titanically blubbery (four creases in the back of his neck) “Professor” Toru Tanaka, a 290-pound pro wrestler, whose emoting is limited to stomps and grunts. Christopher Lee, fiendish even without his Dracula fangs, is dapper as a villainous TV executive. While Norris succeeds in saving the free world from the Asian poppy crop, he can’t rescue his fans from the even more insidious Hollywood poppycock. (R)

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