Inspired by a real life plane hijacking incident, The Delta Force is an odd disjointed mix of tense hijack thriller and goofy macho comic book war film that lacks the truly unhinged quality of the most entertaining efforts by the legendary Cannon Films studios.
The plot, initially at least, loosely follows the true story of the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 by Libyan terrorists. Amongst other things, they separated the Jewish (or Jewish sounding) passengers and shot a US Navy diver who was on board and dumped his body on the runway. The fact that all this took place less than a year before the film's release, almost feels like a throwback to the 1930s Warner Brothers boast of having stories "torn from today's headlines"
The first half has both a tense, docudrama feel and an astonishing support cast that includes Hollywood veterans Robert Balsam, Joey Bishop, George Kennedy, Shelley Winters, and Lee Marvin, all of whom do their best, despite seeming totally out of place in a violent, cheap looking 80s action film.
Eventually The Delta Force switches gears drastically and turns into an A-Team episode on steroids, complete with flat cinematography and a cheesy rousing theme tune, with Chuck Norris leading his troops into battle, then leaving them behind so he can tear around on a motorbike that fires missiles, while all around him people shoot other people at close range without anybody getting hit, and there is a plentiful supply of cardboard boxes and fruit stands to drive through.
Ultimately though, this does start to drag, the endless explosions become numbing, and knowing Norris is invincible makes it impossible to create any peril or suspense.