Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990): Breakdown by Kooshmeister
Chuck Norris is back as Scott McCoy, now a colonel, to match non-acting with an evil drug dealer who is holding DEA agents hostage in South America.
It’s an action movie starring Chuck Norris. It’s loud, dumb, and just plain fun. Plenty of shootouts, fistfights, and one really great chase sequence involving an armored limousine driving offroad, plus Chuck Norris’ usual level of badassery, make Delta Force 2 a worthy sequel to the original film.
That said, there are problems. The title for starters. It’s called “The Colombian Connection,” but Colombia is never seen or mentioned. Instead most of the action takes place in a made-up country called San Carlos. This is strange, as the first film had no qualms about using Lebanon. Apparently at one point the story was going to be set in Colombia, but then they decided for whatever reason to follow the example of other, earlier action films set in South America (Predator and Licence to Kill come to mind) and use a fictional one. Something about the United States’ southern neighbors really made American directors leery of depicting real South American countries badly. The following year’s Toy Soldiers, though, would just come right out and say its villainous terrorist types were Colombian.
The movie also just doesn’t feature enough of the Delta Force themselves. And where they are used they’re toned down, number-wise. Gone are the armies of motorcycles, jeeps and all-terrain dune buggy things with the blue-filtered headlights. Instead our boys in black are limited to half a dozen men and forced to make due with one lousy helicopter. Don’t get me wrong, they kick ass and get the job done, but the film’s smaller budget is very evident in the title fighting force’s depiction.
On a final note, a loose plot thread. It is mentioned numerous times that there is a traitor in the DEA who keeps selling his buddies out to the bad guys. This is mirrored by the fact Cota’s organization has its own turncoat who is, in turn, feeding info to our heroes. But although Cota discovers and deals with his own spy problem, the American traitor is never revealed and in fact is just sort of forgotten about midway through. Lucky him. One could argue that after Cota bites it the traitor is no longer a threat, so who cares, but still, it just feels weird for them to drop the issue after it plays such a huge role in why the villain is one step ahead throughout the first act.
[HOW BAD-ASS ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERS?]
Chuck Norris is Colonel Scott McCoy
Gone is Nick Alexander. McCoy has been promoted to colonel and now leads the Delta Force himself, instead of just being second in command. The quintessinal American super-soldier, McCoy is clean cut (figuratively speaking anyway; that beard would get him thrown out of the real army pretty quick), patriotic, knows martial arts, and hates seeing the little guy get stomped on. This is laid out straight for us when he is introduced to us, having dinner at a restaurant with his friend Bobby and Bobby’s pregnant wife. Witnessing some biker punks harrassing the waiting staff and finally assaulting the manager, McCoy saunters over, beats the hoods up, forces them first to eat their food and admit they like it, then to pay their bill and leave, then returns to his own table and resumes dinner calmly. When asked by Bobby why he had to resort to fighting, McCoy simply responds he wasn’t fighting, he was giving “a motivational lesson.” From that moment we know McCoy is a good guy, and one who has what it takes to go the extra step and do the things we wish we could. Don’t we all see rude assholes in public every day and wanna go over and pound them senseless, but we don’t? Well McCoy does.
Paul Perri is Major Bobby Chavez
McCoy’s second in command and best friend. A fun-loving family man with a pregnant wife and a successful athlete younger brother. In other words, a dead man from the moment he first appears. He really only exists to get killed by the villains (same thing for his family) so McCoy can go on a personal crusade against them, but while he’s around Bobby is a likable enough fellow and has his moments, so it’s sad to see him go and get gassed to death.
Begoña Plaza as Quiquina Esquintla
Originally one of the workers in Ramon Cota’s drug fields, Quiquina loses everything after Cota first murders her husband and then takes her as his mistress and rapes her, and, just for kicks, kills her baby. For this, she desires only to see the smug bastard die slowly and horribly and does everything she can to make sure that this comes to pass. Sadly, although this does happen, Quiquina doesn’t live to see it, as she suffers the same fate as her husband and child. But while she is around, she, like Bobby, is likable and tough and has good chemistry with McCoy and the movie also avoids the corny cliche of having them fall in love. Quiquina isn’t looking for a new man, after all. She’s looking to kill the guy who robbed her of her old one. Maybe if she’d lived, she and McCoy could’ve hooked up after an appropriate mourning period for her hubby, but, alas, ’twas not to be.
Richard Jaeckel is DEA Agent John Page
Agent Page is sort of like Bobby’s replacement as McCoy’s sidekick. His only real weakness is errant tree branches, and although he and two other DEA agents spend most of the movie as the hostages the Delta Forces are trying to rescue, once Page is freed and provided with a gun, he becomes an able sidekick and works well as McCoy’s wingman, especially during the chaotic jungle chase where McCoy does the driving and Page keeps an eye out for the helicopter intent on blowing them to kingdom come.
Billy Drago is Ramon Cota
The word “evil” does little to properly describe this guy. This is one scary asshole. His voice rarely rises above a calm whisper, even in hectic, action-packed situation, he brutally kills people for the smallest offenses, and has no empathy or mercy whatsoever. When he learns his second in command, Miguel, has grown a conscience and has been tattling on him to the DEA, Cota, despite “loving this man like a brother,” guts him like a fish on the spot. As mentioned, he also murders Quiquina’s husband, has her baby “gotten rid of” (thankfully offscreen), rapes Quiquina, and also personally kills Bobby’s pregnant wife. The movie does everything within its power to make Cota a scary bastard you want to see die, and soon. And it works. Ramon Cota is such an unlikable and threatening villain that when he finally, finally dies, it’s the cherry on this wonderfully delicious sundae of a film.
Rick Prieto is Carlos
Cota’s chief thug wants to be Al Leong so bad it hurts. And much like Al, he is walking proof of why men with male-pattern baldness shouldn’t grow their hair long. Anyway, that aside, Carlos is a decent enough henchman for McCoy to overcome. Tough, mean and ruthless like his boss, he proves the only one of the villains capable of physically matching McCoy and hands him his ass in a pretty brutal fistfight in Cota’s mansion. Like Cota, when he finally bites it, it’s a wonderfully satisfying moment.
Mark Margolis as General Olmedo
A corrupt army general who commands Cota’s forces, Olmedo is a crafty old buzzard. Unafraid to get his own hands dirty, he prefers to handle things himself. When Cota’s mansion is attacked by the Delta Force, he flies out in a helicopter personally. His loyalty has its limits and he covets the proverbial throne. But while he will never openly rebel against his master, when he sees an opportunity to remove Cota and take his place as San Carlos’ chief drug czar, he’ll take it, which is why all of his efforts to “save” Cota almost kill him. Unfortunately he has the wimpiest death out of the villains, a simple “Bye-bye, asshole!” from the US Army’s General Taylor and Olmedo’s helicopter goes boom-boom.
[THE BODY COUNT: 87]
Slightly higher than the first movie, with most kills going to anonymous Delta Force members. McCoy scores a total of 12, quite a few less than his first outing, but still a respectable amount of dead bad guys.
[MOST SATISFYING DEATH]
McCoy has defeated the villain. Despite everything, McCoy is going to abide by the law and take Cota prisoner so they can extradite him to America for trial. This involves both him and Cota being hooked to harnesses and winched up to the Delta Force’s helicopter.
Cota’s henchman Sanchez comes to his boss’ rescue, attempting to use his machete to cut the cable holding Cota’s harness, but he only nicks it before the helicopter lifts higher, yanking Cota and McCoy out of the reach of Cota’s would-be rescuers. In midair, Cota gloats to McCoy about how he’ll get out on bail like last time and return to San Carlos when the nick caused by Sanchez’s machete gets bigger and bigger. McCoy notices but says nothing, quietly allowing Cota’s line to snap, dropping the startled drug lord thousands of feet shrieking to his doom.
In a movie filled with them, Ramon Cota’s demise is the best. It’s bloodless but it’s still satisfying as hell to see the bastard’s smug grin wiped off his face.
[BEST FIGHT SCENE]
McCoy sneaks into Cota’s mansion and is ambushed by Carlos. Taken by surprise, McCoy is nearly helpless as the Al Leong wannabe proceeds to throw him around the room and beat him senseless. But when Carlos pulls a knife and prepares to finish him, McCoy gets his second wind and proceeds to “school” Carlos in how to properly fistfight. The lesson concludes with Carlos being spin-kicked onto a sword held by a statue, and that’s the end of that.
[DUDESWEAT AND MACHISMO]
Aside from the usual scenes of the sweaty hero, Cota talks endlessly of how much he loves his right-hand man Miguel and strokes his face a lot. He means it in a brotherly way, but one wonders whether Miguel’s real reason for turning good isn’t because his boss’ unwanted, ambiguously gay advances really creeped him out.
[EXPLOITATION AND MISOGYNY]
Lots of it. Cota slaps women around, Olmedo treats his wife like shit, the usual bad guy disdain for the fairer sex is on full display.
[EPIC MOMENT AND BEST ONE-LINER]
The Delta Force’s first attempt to extradite Cota has McCoy and Bobby kidnapping the villain from his plane during its flight over US airspace. The plan is for all three to parachute out and be picked up by a waiting Coast Guard boat. One problem. Cota refuses to put his parachute on. He tries to bribe McCoy, offering to make him rich, demanding “Let me go!” So McCoy does. And by that I mean he drops Cota out of the plane, and we get the satisfyingly amusing sight of the arrogant shithead in freefall without a parachute. It isn’t the last time Cota will find himself in such a situation, but this time, McCoy has the good grace to skydive after his ass and save him by grabbing him.
Best line (for me, the most satisfying one): After listening to Cota gloat nonstop about how he’s going to evade justice, as his line is snapping, McCoy casually informs the drug dealer of his impending death with, “Not today, asshole.” It ain’t much but it’s the context that makes it so memorable to me.
[THE MORAL OF THE STORY]
You don’t always have to kill the villain yourself. Sometimes his overeager goons will do it themselves trying to save him. School’s out.