MOVIE REVIEW : Chuck Norris Returns With 'Delta Force 2'

The last time around, Chuck Norris and his Delta Force, a special unit of the U.S. Army, took on some Arab terrorist hijackers. This time, in "Delta Force 2: Operation Stranglehold" (citywide), Norris and his cohorts zero in on the world's wealthiest drug dealer, wanted in 17 countries.

If the first "Delta Force" played like a formula TV movie, the second is not even that. Characterizations are so cardboard and stereotypical and plotting so trite that there's not enough involvement generated to be impressed by dramatic locales and elaborate parachuting and helicopter stunts. Indeed, it's depressing to realize that several stuntmen lost their lives in making this dull action/adventure that is most notable for its nonstop violence.

There's precious little opportunity for Norris to express that dry humor he's developed over the years as he and others (notably, John P. Ryan's salty general and Richard Jaeckel's stalwart DEA agent) try to nail down the elusive, vicious drug lord Ramon Cota (Billy Drago, lean, angular and creepy, the strongest presence in the picture). Norris' brother Aaron has directed the film efficiently and energetically but without any personality. The body count on screen is staggering, so immense as to be impossible to track. (The film has been rated R for its extreme violence, but you have to wonder what they're saving the X for.)

Filmed largely in the Philippines, "Delta Force 2" is set in the fictional Latin American country of San Carlos. Curiously, the print caught at a preview had in its end credits a different title: "Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection."

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