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Directed by Peter Maris, the same man who gave us Delirium and Land Of Doom, and written by noted comic book scribe Mark Verheiden, who wrote the scripts for projects like Time Cop, The Mask, and the 2019 Swamp Thing series, 1987's Terror Squad opens in Libya where a terrorist type is delivering an impassioned anti-American speech at a rally. The crowd eats it up and before you know it, Old Glory has been set ablaze.
From here, a quartet of Libyan terrorists sneak their way into the United States Of America and heads towards a nuclear power plant in Indiana. A few students at the nearby Kokomo High School find themselves staying after school in detention. Will this be important later? Yes, but before then, local top cop Chief Rawlings (Chuck Connors), with some help from Deputy Brown (Ken Foree) finds out about the terrorists and their plot and gets all his men to give chase leading to a whole lot of violence, explosions, death and car chases which takes up roughly a third of the movie.
Knowing that the walls are closing in on them, the surviving terrorists, Yassir (Kavi Raz) and Gamal (Joseph Nasser) to head to the aforementioned high school, watched over by a rockin' janitor named Gus (Baggie Hardiman), where they take the students in detention and their teacher, Mr. Nero (Budge Threlkeld), hostage, leading Rawlings to all in a SWAT team led by Captain Steiner (Brodie Greer). But will it be enough and will it be in time? Or will the likes of students Johnny (Bill Calvert), Jennifer (Kerry Wall), Norman (Dennis Moynahan) and Larissa (Lisa Beth Ross) have to take matters into their own hands?
While Terror Squad winds up borrowing a bit from movies like Toy Soldiers and Red Dawn in its final third, you've got to admire a movie that spends nearly a third of its running time dedicated to wholesale action and chaos. The sequences where the terrorists go on attack are tense, exciting and very well done and man oh man do a whole lot of people get shot and a whole lot of cars get blown up. Character and plot development most definitely come second in this movie, because Terror Squad is all about the action. That's not to say more character and plot development wouldn't have made for a better movie, but what we get is pretty much B-movie bliss, right up to the scene where a school bus gets driven through a train!
As far as the cast goes, Kavi Raz and Joseph Nasser are pretty fun to watch as they chew up the scenery. Yes, their performances are products of the era in which the movie was made and some might complain that they play to stereotypes, but they give 110% here and really go for it. As to the good guys, you can't really go wrong with Chuck Connors and Ken Foree as the heroes. Granted, Connors mostly just looks mad about things, using his steely visage to scowl a lot, but he does it well. Foree is just fun to watch in pretty much everything he appears in, and that's definitely the case here. The younger actors who play the high school students are all clichés to be sure (we get a jock, a cool rebel, a nerd and a hot chick) but they're ok in their parts. Bonus points for Baggie Hardiman as Gus, the janitor who shreds and plays a dual guitar solo with cool guy Johnny much to the amusement of pretty much everyone in the school.
Kino/Code Red brings Terror Squad to region A Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the ninety-four minute feature taking up just under 21.8GBs of space on the 25GB disc and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taken from a new 2k master. Overall, it looks pretty solid, but expect to see some minor print damage throughout the presentation. Colors look pretty nice and black levels are decent. Grain is fairly thick throughout but it looks natural enough. There are a couple of spots where you might notice some really minor compression artifacts but these are, thankfully, infrequent. There are no issues with noise reduction or edge enhancement to complain about. Overall, this is a pretty decent looking picture.
The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit English language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track. Optional subtitles are offered up in English only. The mix sounds good, the score in particular has some good presence to it and if the gun shots don't always sound as powerful as maybe they could have, at least the dialogue is clean and easy to follow.
The main extra on the disc is an interview with actor Kavi Raz that runs just under four minutes and sees the actor talk about how he got into acting, how it's interesting where films can end up after they've been made, thoughts on his character, the locations that were used and how he got along with the other cast members.
The disc also includes a trailer for the feature and bonus trailers for Mercenary Fighters, The Violent Breed, Checkered Flag Or Crash, Toy Soldiers and The Last Hunter as well as menus and chapter selection options.
Terror Squad is a decently paced B-grade action movie with a whole lot of explosions, shoot outs and general chaos and some pretty fun performances. It might not be the most original film ever made but it does but it does really well and is, if nothing else, very entertaining. The Blu-ray edition from Kino and Code Red isn't loaded with extras but the brief interview is interesting and the presentation is pretty decent. Recommended for fans of eighties action nonsense!
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.