Sticking out in the VHS section at the local Goodwill was this film: “Born American,” from 1986, directed by Renny Harlin. Renny Harlin, if you didn’t know, is from Finland and has directed good films like “Die Hard 2” and “Cliffhanger” and bad ones like “The Covenant” and “Driven,” and married Geena Davis for a time. This film seemed to have a great plot: 3 Americans, led by Mike Norris (Chuck’s son) foolishly cross into the Russian border from Finland. There they cause some mayhem and are captured and soon imprisoned.
The film starts out awesome, with lots of tension and explosions. I though I was in for another Red Dawn masterpiece. However, once the action moves to a Russian prison, the film dies. The prison is a singularly unpleasant place and none of the actors has enough screen presence to make us care and want to finish the film. That’s too bad, because the premise had real possibilities and you would think the director could pull it off. Instead, it’s his worst film. This is one bad 1980’s action movie to be avoided, unless you’re looking to remake it using the admittedly gripping plotline. And yes, Mike Norris is a terrible actor, but you probably guessed that already. The bright side is that this movie once again shows that Americans never submit or give up. And that even Chuck Norris’s brother can kick commie scum ass! And to this film’s credit, at least Bill Murray’s younger brother was not cast in this too (Moving Violations was even worse!).