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Film / The Octagon

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The Octagon is an action film from the year 1980 starring Chuck Norris and Lee Van Cleef.

Retired martial arts champion Scott James (Chuck Norris) has refused to fight since a bout went bad and injured his opponent. Now, however, ninja terrorists keep appearing, causing James to question whether someone from his past could be training them at a mysterious compound called The Octagon.

Among fans of professional wrestling, the film is known for inspiring the martial arts-themed luchador "Octagón", who made his debut wrestling for AAA in 1992. Octagón (whose real name, in true lucha libre fashion, remains unknown) proved to be popular enough that his mask and name were eventually passed down to fellow Mexican wrestler Emanuel Alejandro Rodriguez, who wrestled as his successor "Octagón Jr." until 2013. The original Octagón even got an Evil Twin called "Pentagón", whose mantle was eventually passed to the successor Pentagón Jr. (real name also unknown), who wrestles as one-half of the internationally acclaimed tag-team "The Lucha Brothers" to this day.

This film has the examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Justine AND A.J..
  • Can't Catch Up: Poor A.J.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Aura is prominently placed in all the training scenes. Wonder who's going to be important to the plot later?
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The terrorist ninjas are an unstoppable, deadly force, except when confronted by James. The film tries to justify it by saying that he is The Only One since he had the same training as the ninjas' master.
  • Damsel in Distress: Averted; Aura actually ends up being helpful, and doesn't get kidnapped once.
  • The Dragon: During the climactic fight scene in the Octagon, James has to fight Seikura's enforcer before he can finally fight Seikura himself.
  • I Have No Son!: James and Seikura's dad apparently has a really low tolerance for jackassery.
  • Inner Monologue: Played straight, and with so much reverb it's sometimes unintelligible.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninja: Invoked by Seikura, who creates a ninja tactics training course that turns terrorists into near-unstoppable stealth experts.
  • Kensington Gore: The opening assassination in Paris has loads of it.
  • Man on Fire: A cloaked ninja in the Octogon gets set alight and burns for quite a while until Scott cuts him down with his katana.
  • One-Hit Kill: Scott James seems to either kill or knock out some mooks with one punch or kick. Then again, it's Chuck Norris, so it's expected.
  • The Only One: See Conservation of Ninjutsu above.
  • Police Are Useless: Interesting from a post-9/11 perspective, the reasons given for the characters' vigilantism is that most countries are unwilling to extradite, and the police are powerless to do anything against the international crime.
  • Terrorists Without a Cause:
    • Apparently Seikura just really likes being a bastard.
    • While all the possible motivations are raised — religion, nationalism, money — none specifically is given for any the terrorists featured in the film.
    • Aura wanted something to feel passionate about, and apparently decided terrorism was the route for her. She changes her mind, though.
  • Vigilante Man: McCarn, an "anti-terrorist", who garrotes and shoots terrorists and then disposes of the bodies like it's no big, and later James.