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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Miller|
|Produced by||Anthony B. Unger|
|Edited by||Richard C. Meyer|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$10.5 million (US)|
Silent Rage is a 1982 science fiction horror film directed by Michael Miller. It stars Chuck Norris as a sheriff who must stop a mentally ill man (Brian Libby) who goes on a rampage after being granted near-indestructibility in a medical experiment. It grossed $10.5 million on release.
In a small Texas town, John Kirby, a mentally ill man, kills two members of the family with whom he was staying. Sheriff Daniel "Dan" Stevens and his deputy Charlie, respond and eventually arrest John, but he breaks out of the handcuffs, overpowers the other officers and grabs one of their revolvers, forcing the officers to open fire and shoot John.
Severely injured and near death, John is transported to an institute where his psychiatrist, Thomas "Tom" Halman, works along with Dr. Phillip Spires and Dr. Paul Vaughn, two doctors and geneticists. To save John, Phillip proposes treating him with a formula created by himself and Paul to enhance cellular strength and regeneration. Tom objects to its use due to John's psychosis, and Phillip pretends to agree but later administers the formula anyway once Tom leaves. Revived and rendered nearly mute but virtually invulnerable, John escapes from the institute and tracks Tom to his home, having overhead Tom telling Phillip to allow John to die earlier. Meanwhile, Dan invites Tom's sister Alison, whom is he romancing, on a trip. John breaks into Tom's home and the two fight. Despite shooting John several times and pushing him down a flight of stairs, Tom is killed. Tom's wife Nancy finds her husband's body and is killed by John as well. Alison arrives to pick up her gear for the trip and discovers her brother and sister-in-law's corpses, but John flees as Dan and Charlie arrive with the police.
Dan and Charlie take Alison to the institute, unaware that John has also returned there to get Phillip and Paul to treat his wounds. Realizing that the situation is out of control, Phillip leaves to examine samples while Paul attempts to kill John by injecting him with acid. John survives and kills Paul after a brief struggle by stabbing him with the syringe. After finding Paul's body, Phillip returns to his office, where he briefly speaks to John about the success of their experiment. John initially seems to understand Phillip but ultimately snaps his neck. With Dan at the county coroner's office, Charlie and Alison discover John killing another of the institute workers; Charlie attempts to arrest him but is mortally wounded when John breaks his back. Dan returns just in time to discover Charlie dying and protects Alison from John.
Dan shoots John and knocks him out of a window, but John revives and nearly kills Dan. John hangs on to Dan's car as Dan and Allison try to escape and climbs into its back window, forcing them to jump out. The car crashes and explodes, lighting John on fire. This injures him, but he jumps into a nearby lake and quickly recovers. With Alison watching, Dan and John engage in hand-to-hand combat. Both men score blows, but Dan overwhelms John by roundhouse kicking him several times before throwing him into a nearby well, seemingly killing him. With John's carnage at an end, Dan and Alison leave. However, deep in the well, John suddenly bursts from the water, having survived.
Variety called the film an unintentionally funny attempt to cash in on popular exploitation film tropes. John Corry of The New York Times wrote that the only interesting scenes are those with the mad scientists, as Norris has no charisma or presence. Rita Kempley of The Washington Post called Norris' martial arts "a curious footnote in a formula horror film". Norris said that he received negative feedback from fans over his love scenes. He subsequently resolved to avoid them in the future.
The film was remade in 2009 as Indestructible.