The Octagon (1980)

R | 104 mins | Adventure | 22 August 1980

Director:

Eric Karson

Producer:

Joel Freeman

Cinematographer:

Michel Hugo

Editor:

Dann Cahn

Production Designer:

James Schoppe

Production Company:

American Cinema Productions
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HISTORY

A 10 Dec 1979 DV news item stated that principal photography began on that day in Valencia, CA, and other Los Angeles, CA, locations. The film’s budget was $4 million, according to a 6 Nov 1979 DV brief. The 10 Dec 1979 DV also reported that the production would travel to New Orleans, LA, Mexico and Central America for additional filming. Briefs in the 31 Jan 1980 DV and 1 Feb 1980 HR stated that the company would relocate to Mexico for the last two weeks of principal photography.
       According to a 28 Oct 1979 DV brief and an Oct 1980 Box article, the production finished three weeks of filming that day at Indian Dunes, a twenty-five-acre area located in Valencia. There, the secret terrorist octagonal training center was built at a cost of $300,000 and destroyed by fire and explosions for the picture’s climax. Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that the black belts portraying deadly ninjas, as well as actors Tadashi Yamashita and Chuck Norris, rehearsed for weeks. Reportedly, director Eric Karson had screenwriter Leigh Chapman add the demise of the ninja training camp to the script because he did not want other film crews to use the unusual set before the film’s release. The controlled arson was supervised by firemen from the Los Angeles County Fire ... More Less

A 10 Dec 1979 DV news item stated that principal photography began on that day in Valencia, CA, and other Los Angeles, CA, locations. The film’s budget was $4 million, according to a 6 Nov 1979 DV brief. The 10 Dec 1979 DV also reported that the production would travel to New Orleans, LA, Mexico and Central America for additional filming. Briefs in the 31 Jan 1980 DV and 1 Feb 1980 HR stated that the company would relocate to Mexico for the last two weeks of principal photography.
       According to a 28 Oct 1979 DV brief and an Oct 1980 Box article, the production finished three weeks of filming that day at Indian Dunes, a twenty-five-acre area located in Valencia. There, the secret terrorist octagonal training center was built at a cost of $300,000 and destroyed by fire and explosions for the picture’s climax. Production notes in AMPAS library files stated that the black belts portraying deadly ninjas, as well as actors Tadashi Yamashita and Chuck Norris, rehearsed for weeks. Reportedly, director Eric Karson had screenwriter Leigh Chapman add the demise of the ninja training camp to the script because he did not want other film crews to use the unusual set before the film’s release. The controlled arson was supervised by firemen from the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
Oct 1980.
---
Daily Variety
28 Oct 1979.
---
Daily Variety
6 Nov 1979.
---
Daily Variety
10 Dec 1979.
---
Daily Variety
31 Jan 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Feb 1980.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 1980
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
25 Aug 1980
p. 6.
Variety
13 Aug 1980
p. 26.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
also starring:
co-starring:
[and]
The City
Seikura's Compound:
The City:
Doggo' Camp:
[and]
Paris Assassination:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
American Cinema Productions Presents
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
Prod mgr, Mexico unit
Asst dir, Mexico unit
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
Exec prod
WRITERS
Story
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam asst
Cam asst
Still photog
Gaffer
Key grip
Elec best boy
Elec
Grip best boy
Dir of photog, Mexico unit
Cam op, Mexico unit
Gaffer, Mexico unit
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst art dir
FILM EDITORS
Asst ed
Asst ed
Negative cutter
SET DECORATORS
Prop master
Set dec
Asst prop
Asst prop
Swing gang leadman
Const coord
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Re-rec mixer, Mus
Scoring mixer
SOUND
Sd boom man
Cableman
Re-rec mixer, Dial
Re-rec at
Supv sd ed
Mixer, Mexico unit
VISUAL EFFECTS
Re-rec mixer, Eff
Spec eff
Eff asst
MAKEUP
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Exec in charge of prod
Scr supv
Casting
Extra casting
Extra casting, Filmtrain
Loc mgr
Transportation capt
Transportation co-capt
Prod auditor
Prod coord
Prod asst
Prod asst
Craft service
Scr supv, Mexico unit
Casting dir, Mexico unit
STAND INS
Karate fight choreog
Karate fight choreog
Stunt coord
Stunt man company
Stunt man company
Stunt man company
Stunt man company
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Cry Vengeance
Release Date:
22 August 1980
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 22 August 1980
Production Date:
10 December 1979--mid February 1980 in Southern CA, LA, Mexico, and Central America
Copyright Claimant:
A C G Motion Picture Investment Fund 1979
Copyright Date:
3 November 1980
Copyright Number:
PA95205
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses/Prints
Lenses and Panaflex® Camera by Panavision®
Duration(in mins):
104
MPAA Rating:
R
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Paris, France, a hired assassin, disguised as a mother pushing a baby carriage, and an accomplice kill a Canadian diplomat in front of his home. The killer escapes, but her associate is gunned down. At a theater in Los Angeles, California, Scott James, a retired martial-arts champion, and his fellow fighter-friend, A. J., go backstage to meet dancers after the performance. Nancy Bell agrees to go to dinner with Scott, and expresses concern when she sees the newspaper story about the Canadian diplomat’s murder. Later, Scott escorts Nancy home, and they are ambushed by ninjas. Scott overwhelms several attackers, but Nancy is knifed in the stomach. Meanwhile, at an overseas ninja training camp, Seikura, its terrorist leader, outlines the harsh rules of the organization to the new recruits. In Los Angeles, Scott recounts the attack to A. J., who tells him newspapers report that Nancy’s brother was responsible for the Canadian diplomat’s murder. Later, Scott visits his friend, McCarn, who hears his story and insists that ninjas were outlawed 300 years ago, and no longer exist. Nevertheless, Scott asks McCarn to inform him if he sees or hears anything strange. On his way back to town, Scott stops to help a stranded female driver named Justine. After pushing Justine’s vehicle back onto the road, he realizes that she has accidentally taken his car keys. When Scott finds her, Justine returns his keys and insists on taking him back to his car. Later at the docks, A. J. tries to question a friend of Nancy’s brother named Johann, but he runs away. McCarn’s associates strangle the fleeing man, and McCarn warns A. J. not to contact the police. ... +


In Paris, France, a hired assassin, disguised as a mother pushing a baby carriage, and an accomplice kill a Canadian diplomat in front of his home. The killer escapes, but her associate is gunned down. At a theater in Los Angeles, California, Scott James, a retired martial-arts champion, and his fellow fighter-friend, A. J., go backstage to meet dancers after the performance. Nancy Bell agrees to go to dinner with Scott, and expresses concern when she sees the newspaper story about the Canadian diplomat’s murder. Later, Scott escorts Nancy home, and they are ambushed by ninjas. Scott overwhelms several attackers, but Nancy is knifed in the stomach. Meanwhile, at an overseas ninja training camp, Seikura, its terrorist leader, outlines the harsh rules of the organization to the new recruits. In Los Angeles, Scott recounts the attack to A. J., who tells him newspapers report that Nancy’s brother was responsible for the Canadian diplomat’s murder. Later, Scott visits his friend, McCarn, who hears his story and insists that ninjas were outlawed 300 years ago, and no longer exist. Nevertheless, Scott asks McCarn to inform him if he sees or hears anything strange. On his way back to town, Scott stops to help a stranded female driver named Justine. After pushing Justine’s vehicle back onto the road, he realizes that she has accidentally taken his car keys. When Scott finds her, Justine returns his keys and insists on taking him back to his car. Later at the docks, A. J. tries to question a friend of Nancy’s brother named Johann, but he runs away. McCarn’s associates strangle the fleeing man, and McCarn warns A. J. not to contact the police. As Scott and Justine drive, they are ambushed by a sports car and a limousine. They escape and Justine reveals that her father, a European publisher, was killed by terrorists, and she has inherited his fortune. When terrorists threatened to kill her unless she changed editorial policies, she moved to America. Later, Scott arrives at Justine’s home to take her to dinner. He learns that she hired McCarn’s men because she was told that Scott would not be willing to destroy his estranged Asian brother Seikura. Justine hopes that her charms will convince Scott to help her, but he is insulted and leaves. Walking to his car, Scott refuses to believe Seikura is responsible for the recent violence. Meeting at a bar, A. J. informs Scott that Nancy was an operative for a terrorist group and couriered money for their causes when she toured overseas with her dance company. A. J. is convinced he can do a better job controlling terrorists than the police, but Scott warns him it is too dangerous. In private, Scott makes arrangements with a man named Mr. Beatty to take an assignment as a mercenary soldier. He recalls the time that Isawa, his adoptive Asian father, banished Seikura after he tried to claim a sword that Scott had won in competition. When Seikura refused to ask forgiveness, Isawa warned Scott that Seikura dishonored the family and to never again speak his name. Justine interrupts Scott’s thoughts at a restaurant, and again tries to persuade him to help her. A. J. interrupts their conversation, and is attracted to Justine. Scott excuses himself and leaves. As the new ninjas complete Seikura’s training, they are warned they will be killed if they break the ninja code. Scott arrives at a mercenary compound in the desert, where the supervisor, Doggo, and his assistant, Aura, interview him. When Scott expresses a desire to be trained by Seikura, Doggo tells him he has no knowledge of the ninja leader. Meanwhile, Aura refuses an assignment in Egypt, steals Scott’s file, and defects from Doggo’s compound. She waits for Scott at his hotel apartment, and explains why she needs his help. Soon, Justine arrives and informs Scott that A. J. is missing, but she is not telling the truth, and Scott refuses to help her. In the building lobby, Justine wants A. J. to call off his search for Seikura, but he ignores her and hails a taxicab to the airport. A terrorist kills Justine with a poison dart. After Justine’s death, Scott changes his mind and sets out to find Seikura, while Aura agrees to help. As A. J. observes Seikura’s camp from afar, he is captured. Soon, Scott approaches Seikura’s compound, and orders Aura to stay behind. He sneaks into the camp, and fights several men before Seikura puts him to the test on an obstacle course, where he fends off more attackers. Soon, Scott and a ninja engage in a sword fight. From a tower above, A. J. throws a burning torch into the courtyard. As Scott pushes the ninja into the fire, Seikura’s men slit A. J.’s throat, and throw his body at Scott’s feet. Seikura and his men then descend into the arena to fight Scott. Terrorist recruits kill a ninja fighter, and the other ninjas chase them, leaving Scott and Seikura to fight each other. Meanwhile, Aura, with help from terrorist recruits, sets fire to the compound. As day breaks, Scott kills Seikura, and the fight is over.
+

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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