Invasion U.S.A. (1985) (part 1 of 2)

Note from the author: This is the third in my series of tributes to cheesy action movies of the ’80s and early ’90s, the first being Action Jackson, and the second being Stone Cold. Rather than in-depth recaps or straightforward reviews, these will contain a brief synopsis followed by a longer list of highlights, notes, and observations.


SUMMARY: Big Bad Chuck goes Rambo on some dastardly Russians in a Cold War fantasy that could only be shot out of Cannon Pictures.

Invasion USA (1985)

The ’80s were a golden age of big, dumb, mindless action movies. Unlike the vapid, soulless, glorified music videos that were the action movies of the ’90s, action movies of the ’80s were light on smarts, but heavy on fun, bloodshed, and things getting blown up real good. It was a time when top-tier stars like Schwarzenegger and Stallone ruled the box office. But today, my tour of duty takes me to the murky second tier. Yes folks, I’m about to examine what may be the ultimate Cannon film—to say nothing of the best Chuck Norris movie ever made: Invasion U.S.A.

One of the big movie trends of the ’80s was a sub-genre known as Cold War Exploitation, made up of cheesy, ultra-patriotic films that used the backdrop of US-Soviet relations as a staging point for exceedingly ridiculous action. And like most of the other action films of the era, they relied on a rather heavy amount of paranoia that made them even funnier.

But the best defense against a raving, paranoid concept is simple: point and laugh your ass off. I mean it—one of the best things about the ’80s is the hilarious way world issues were incorporated into action films of that period. Prime examples of this are Red Dawn, Rambo: First Blood Part II and of course, our current subject.

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Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Invasion U.S.A. (1985)

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