Code of Silence Blu-ray offers solid video and audio in this overall recommended Blu-ray release
Eddie Cusack is a Chicago police officer about to bust some members of the Comacho gang when the gang is shot up by a rival drug gang from the neighboring building, led by Tony Luna. Victor Comacho is the only survivor of the Comacho gang and his older brother, Luis, who is the leader of the gang, retaliates by killing Luna's family and kidnaps Luna's daughter, Diana. Cusack must face Tony Luna and Luis Comacho alone because nobody on the police force is willing to help him since he was the only cop who broke the code of silence by testifying against a fellow cop who killed an unarmed teenager, but Cusack is not really alone. A police robot called "Prowler" aides Cusack as he takes down the gangs.
For more about Code of Silence and the Code of Silence Blu-ray release, see Code of Silence Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on June 18, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
In 1985, Chuck Norris was in a peculiar place in his career. Having fought to build his brand name on a history of martial arts training and demonstration, Norris took on Hollywood with the same determination, starring in a series of actioners that transformed him into an icon, but one with questionable taste in screenplays and directors. By the mid-1980s, the star was trapped in a Cannon Films bear trap, churning out pictures such as "Missing in Action" and "Invasion U.S.A." However, in the midst of this contractual flurry, Norris managed to slip "Code of Silence" into the mix, toplining a gritty, low-wattage police thriller that only relies on Norris's standard display of kick-happy skills of defense in the final act, allowing the star to, gulp, act a little between displays of disgust. An entertaining ride through the underbelly of Chicago, "Code of Silence" manages to temporarily bring Norris to a realm of reality, sticking a bearded force for justice in the midst of mob warfare and a sickly sea of corrupt cops, gradually shaping his character into a lone wolf instead of just assuming the position before the opening titles have an opportunity to finish.
In the heart of Chicago, Eddie Cusack (Chuck Norris) is an honest cop dealing with a rising tide of mob violence, motivated by drug trafficking. When a sting operation to takedown a major player in the Comacho Family cocaine business is disrupted by an attack from a rival drug clan run by Tony Luna (Mike Genovese), Eddie's men are caught in the middle, scrambling to secure the area and make the necessary arrests. In the melee, veteran cop Cregie (Ralph Foody, perhaps best known as the VHS gangster in "Home Alone," ya filthy animals) is caught planting a gun on an innocent victim by inexperienced partner Kopalas (Joseph Guzaldo), putting the troubled man in a difficult position of silence. Grasping the enormity of the ambush, Luis Comacho (Henry Silva) orders immediate and unrepentant vengeance, slaughtering Luna's family, with a single survivor, daughter Diana (Molly Hagan), on the run. Out to protect Diana from harm, Eddie must also deal with Kopalas's burning conscience, urging him to testify against Cregie for his crimes, advice that makes the supercop the enemy of the force, making true backup impossible when Luis Comancho increases his reign of terror, leaving only Eddie to stop the mobster before he kills an innocent woman for kicks.
"Code of Silence" is a movie of textures, taking full advantage of its varied Chicago locations. Credit director Andrew Davis (who would go on to exploit the city in "The Fugitive" and "Above the Law"), a native who knows the neighborhoods well, masterminding a network of buildings and alleys for Eddie to investigate. In fact, the feature almost comes off as a tourist guide, following the cop during a surveillance run as he wanders around the Lincoln Park Zoo, visits downtown offices, and battles with Comacho goons atop the elevated transit system -- a fantastic stunt sequence highlighting a visibly uncomfortable Norris on a wobbly train. "Code of Silence" has location character, and it makes all the difference in the world to formulaic material such as this, with its buffet of crooked cops, damsels in distress, and mob intimidation, punctuated with repeated references to a ghoulish act of murder known as "The Columbian Necktie."
The chilled air and grimy locates make a perfect backdrop for Norris to carry out his one-man-army shtick, with the script pushing Eddie in two distinct dramatic directions during the movie. Of course, "Code of Silence" is a cop thriller, observing the mustachioed brawler labor to decode Comacho's plan of attack, working over henchmen and infiltrating art gallery parties(!) to locate Diana. Martial art displays are limited to a few sequences, including one where Eddie has to smash his way out of a pool hall filled with goons, idiots who never bother to attack the outnumbered cop all at once. The other side of "Code of Silence" is a police drama exploring corruption, asking Norris to play pensively, as Eddie is all too aware of bad habits under his command, urging Kopalas to make the right choice. That any of this works is a bit of a miracle, yet Norris navigates the tones of the script quite well. It's not remarkable acting, but it's acting, which is more than I could say for the rest of his filmography.
"Code of Silence" contains some clunker ideas, including the hasty introduction of a robot fighting machine (a precursor to "RoboCop") invented to replace human law enforcement, a tank-like device that returns in the final act to assist Eddie's last stand against the Comacho Family. There's also a mid-movie incident with two clowns attempting to hold up a cop bar, resulting in their immediate arrest. It's a strange "Saturday Night Live" sketch that doesn't have any place in the story, perhaps retained for atmosphere or as a favor to the producers.
The AVC encoded (1.88:1 aspect ratio) presentation brings "Code of Silence" to Blu-ray with acceptable, soft-ish results. There's a heavy layer of grain to maintain a filmic look for the feature, which is always managed relatively well, never exploding into distracting pockets of noise. Colors are unexpectedly fresh for a 1985 picture, with Norris's sandy hair keeping its glow, while thug costuming captures compelling primaries, and Chicago nightlight introduces sharp neon glow with hot reds, pinks, and blues. Skintones aren't always at full attention, but human qualities remain. Sunlit encounters bring out the best in the transfer, illuminating screen elements in full, while shadow detail suffers some in low-lit areas, showing murkiness that dilutes the vibrancy of a few shots. Fine detail is passable for this type of gritty cinematography, offering textures on a wild collection of faces, while locations covey their appropriate age and weathered appearance. Print is in decent shape, though debris and flicker are detected.
The 1.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix is blunt, forceful track keeping in line with the film's theatrical presentation. The listening experience isn't about dimension, but frontal impact, with an adequate blend of scoring cues and dialogue exchanges. The music sustains personality, preserving instrumentation and a supportive beat, managed accurately to compliment the action and dramatics. Voices are clear enough to understand, capturing differences in accents and tempers, though a few of the more heated interactions tend to mush every character together into one angry jolt. Violence hangs satisfactorily, marked by compelling gunfire and explosions, while fisticuffs deliver pronounced, sweetened wallops and thumps. It's not a terribly crisp event, lacking pinpoint accuracy, but the track retains slightly dulled charms, representing the movie well.
"Code of Silence" works itself up into a more traditional violent tizzy in the final act, unleashing a fed-up Norris on the antagonists. The noise is expected but a touch deflating, especially when earlier sections of the movie are far more grounded in reality, remaining more compelling than a backlit Norris arming himself with a bazooka to underline Eddie's heroism. Predictability aside, "Code of Silence" is an engaging feature, smartly cast (Dennis Farina charms in one of his earliest roles as Eddie's wounded partner), while showing a little more sophistication than the genre typically receives. It's too bad Norris couldn't make a few more of these before the Cannon Films curse claimed his marquee value for good.
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Code of Silence. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Code of Silence in the search box below.