Machismo on Parade

Code of Silence Directed by Andy Davis At the Sack 57

LOOKING for macho men drugs violence and cliched women? Honor the Code of Silence. But only if you must. If you don't have 102 minutes to spare, an episode of "Magnum P.I." Will suffice just pretend that Tom Selleck is Chuck Norris.

Norris as Chicago Police sgt. Eddie Cusack gets a chance to display his full range of histrionic talent: from macho cop to martyr cop to tender cop.

Mostly macho cop: Norris is the light-haired American hero fighting crime as personified by foreign-looking thugs. Scene after scene allows Norris to show off his bravery, his karate skills, his, confidence and his clothing-not to mention his machismo.

Norris takey-on dozens--and dozens-of opening scene. Norris wears red white and blue with a bandana around his neck. His wardrobe includes:- a University of Illinois jersey, a high school varsity letter jacket, and a Shetland sweater with matching holster. One cannot help but be taken with his nearly trimmed, all American appearance just looking at him inspires a sense of patriotism.

The rationale for the manicheistic tale is cops and robbers story (that's three sides, it you're keeping score) that takes place in downtown Chicago.

All the Chi-city landmarks are trotted count the poor neighborhoods, the sleazy pars, the high technology of the Loop Lven Risky Business's pulsating train makes an early apperance.

The plot gets rolling in a subtle fashion with the gory massacre of some Colombian drug dealers, a beautifully filmed sequence complete with coke, blood and dollar bills flying. When the Colombians get their revenge by kidnapping Diana Luna (Molly Hagan), the daughter of Italian mobster Tony Luna (Mike Genovese), Norris singlehandedly comes to the rescue.

PEOPLE in Chicago must not be very intelligent. No member of the police force is capable of uttering either a calm sentence or a sentence devoid of profanity. Translations of Spanish interjections such as "diarrhea de boca" demonstrate the eloquence of the gangsters as well.

The most meaningful female utterance is Don't the eggplants look wonderful today? After which this female is promptly blasted off the face of the earth by still more macho men. Yet women have their place in this movie filing their pink nails baking birthday takes posing in the background with little to say or wear. One women though is allowed to touch a word processor. And our heroine Diana participates in a marathon chase scene through the Loop and remembers not to drop her purse Later the survives a night from the ceiling her armpits are unshaven but she still Looks sexy.

THERE is an attempt to create a sub-plot but only an attempt. A senior police officer violently kills an innocent child during the hostility of the initial drug raid. To avoid dismissal from the force he plants a gun in the hand of his prone victim but his cover-up is witnessed by a rookie. As vet unaccepted by his peers the rookie goes along with the cover story but later struggles with his conscience.

Who does he turn to for moral guidance but Norris the Omniscient who wisely advises him. Tell it like it is I'll back you up.

The film also makes a stab at humor. After following Diana to the public library. Cusack makes it to the modern art gallery. He stumbles upon some coke-snorting artists without raising an eyebrow, bares his identity as a policeman in a phone conversation, and calmly walks out while the snorters comically try to mask their activities Another funny high point occurs when two thugs plan to hold up a seedy bar. They nervously walk in follow their script to a tee, and target their guns. The only problem is that 40 guns are pointing them in the face Yes they have managed to hold up a police hangout.

Most poignant are the scenes between Norris and Diana. After repeatedly saving her lite he looks upon this teenage beauty with lust but distance. Despairing at the murder of her family, she turns to him longingly and asks, "What do you do when you have no one to turn to?" His logical reply is, "You find someone," and we can tell that he wants to be that someone Norris however is too manly to drink beer let alone kiss a woman below the forehead.

The climax comes when Norris sets out to save the girl, who is hidden in a huge warehouse swarming with Colombian gangsters. Having alienated his colleagues with his individualism and pizzazz he sets out alone to save the world. That's not quite true. Norris has the help of the Police Prowler a remote control tank that would make Casper Weinberger seethe with jealousy. Even though he clls the Prowler another gun without a brain. Norris aces the machine to wreak havoc on lots of gangsters. It's almost like cheating but he succeeds in killing many, many men, while still emerging a hero.

Witnessing stunt after amazing stunt his fellow officers readnnt him into their clique and Diana, barely conscious yet radiant lovingly reaffirms her admiration for Norris. His response:- you know where to find me.

We know where not to look