Invasion U.S.A. (1985 film)

Invasion U.S.A. is a 1985 American action film made by Cannon Films starring Chuck Norris. It was directed by Joseph Zito.[5] It involves the star fighting off a force of Soviet/Cuban-led guerillas.

Invasion U.S.A.
Theatrical poster
Directed byJoseph Zito
Produced byMenahem Golan
Yoram Globus
Screenplay byJames Bruner
Chuck Norris
Story byAaron Norris
James Bruner
Music byJay Chattaway
CinematographyJoão Fernandes
Edited byDaniel Loewenthal
Scott Vickrey
Distributed byCannon Films
Release date
  • September 27, 1985 (1985-09-27)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$12 million[1][2]
Box office$17,500,000 (US)[3][4]

Both Chuck Norris and his brother, Aaron, were involved in the writing. It was made in the Greater Atlanta area of Georgia, and Fort Pierce, Florida. Miami landmarks, such as Dadeland Mall and Miracle Mile, can also be seen in the film.[6] The 1986 film Avenging Force was originally intended as a sequel until Chuck Norris turned it down. It was instead made as a standalone film starring Michael Dudikoff, sharing only the protagonist's name.[7]


A group of Cuban refugees are on a boat sailing for the United States. They are at first met by what appears to be a U.S. Coast Guard boat, with armed personnel. The captain of the vessel declares that the refugees are welcomed to the United States, only to have the Guardsmen open fire on them and take several bags of cocaine hidden in the boat. It is revealed that the armed personnel were communist Latin American guerrillas disguised as U.S. Coast Guardsmen.

The real Coast Guard finds the boat full of the murdered Cubans off the coast of Florida. The FBI and the Miami Police Department arrive at the docks to investigate the murders. The communist guerrillas land in Florida and exchange the drugs for weaponry from a drug dealer. They are led by Soviet operative Mikhail Rostov (Richard Lynch), the fake Coast Guard captain who opened fire on the Cuban refugees. Former CIA agent Matt Hunter (Norris) is asked to come out of retirement, but he declines. When Rostov and a team of guerillas destroy Hunter's residence in the Everglades and kill his friend, John Eagle (Berti) in a failed assassination attempt, Hunter is convinced to reconsider.

Later in the day, hundreds of additional guerrillas land on the beaches of southern Florida and move inland using several pre-positioned trucks. The guerrillas begin their assault by destroying suburban homes. Another group of guerrillas impersonating Miami police officers attack a community center full of Cuban expatriates in Miami. When a squad car with genuine Miami policemen drives by to investigate the gunfire, the survivors angrily start vandalizing their car, leaving the police perplexed. While the FBI has no idea who is behind the attacks, Hunter and the CIA believe that Rostov is behind the attacks. As terrorist acts continue in Miami, race riots and general chaos develop within the city, as the terrorists have planned.

Later that night, the guerrillas start a shootout and bomb threat at a mall where people are doing their Christmas shopping. During the attack, Hunter, having shaken down an informant, comes into the mall and takes down the guerrillas one by one. National Guard troops are called up, martial law is declared, and armed civilians organize to protect their communities from further guerilla attacks. Hunter continues pursuing the terrorists, stopping their plans to bomb a church, killing Rostov's right-hand man Nikko (Alexander Zale) right before the latter can initiate a public massacre, and saving a school bus full of children from a bomb. But after arriving at a carnival bombed by the terrorists, Hunter realizes that they are spread out too far for him to effectively stem the tide of their attacks, and therefore devises an alternative plan.

Alarmed by the threat, the government establishes a special theater command for the southeastern United States with the headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. At the command center, all 50 state governors and military officials meet to stop the terror attacks. The FBI takes Hunter into custody for vigilantism against the terrorists, and he is taken to the command center, where he goads Rostov on national television to come out and kill him. Rostov orders all the guerrillas to assault the center in a mass attack, but they find no one inside; Hunter's arrest was a trap, and the National Guard arrives with tanks and troops, hemming the assailants in. While the battle rages outside, Hunter finally comes face-to-face with Rostov and kills him with a M72 LAW. The terror crisis ends when the few remaining guerrillas on the street surrender to the National Guard.



The film was the first in a six-film contract Chuck Norris signed with Cannon Films following the success of the Missing in Action movies.[8]

Norris said he got the idea to make the film after reading an article in Readers Digest that said hundreds of terrorists were running loose in the United States. "I thought, 'Boy, that's scary,' " he said. " 'What if some guy on the order of a Khomeini or a Khadafy mobilized those guys and started sending them out to every major city?'... I know it's going to happen, and even in the movie, the head terrorist says, 'It's so easy because of the freedom of movement in this country.' So we're really accessible to this. The movie is not meant to scare people, but to make us aware of a potential problem."[9]

"We're trying to make a statement here," he added. "This is about the people of the United States."[10]

The film was given a $12 million budget, twice what Norris movies had normally gotten before. There was a sequence in the everglades costing $2 million.[2] Norris' fee was almost $2 million.[2] Shooting took ten weeks.[10]

Norris says he wanted the role of the female journalist to be played by Whoopi Goldberg who had been an extra in A Force of One. Goldberg was enthusiastic - she had been cast in A Color Purple but not made it. However, the director overruled Norris. "Needless to say I have never used that director again," wrote Norris later.[11]

According to the documentary on Cannon Films, Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, the scene where terrorists destroy homes in a suburb with rocket launchers featured explosions in actual houses. Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport was going to bulldoze an entire suburban neighborhood to extend a runway, so the filmmakers were allowed to destroy the existing homes. Similarly, part of Avondale Mall was being rebuilt, so the filmmakers were allowed to destroy everything in the actual mall.

Norris said this sequence cost $5 million. "There are tanks firing, and helicopters flying among the real buildings," he said. "It's a battle like in Gone with the Wind, one of the best action battle scenes that's ever been done so far."[12]


The film debuted at number one at the box office with $6.9 million.[13]

The film met with mostly negative reviews from critics.[14][15] On the website Rotten Tomatoes it currently has an 18% based on 22 reviews. Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun Times, gave the film a negative review and called it "a stereotypical clone of action movies".[16] However, like most of Cannon's films, it developed a cult following.

Norris later said some sequences were "a little . . . too much. You see, when you're making a movie, it takes over five months. Not until you bring it down to an hour and an half do you see just what you've done. It was . . . too much, unfortunately."[17]


Invasion U.S.A.
Cover of the novelization.
AuthorJason Frost
CountryUnited States
GenreAction, Novelization
PublisherPinnacle Books
Publication date
October 1985
Media typePaperback
Pages214 pp

See also


  1. SPIN - Google Books. September 1985. Retrieved 2013-09-28.
  2. Maslin, J. (1985, Apr 26). AT THE MOVIES. New York Times Retrieved from
  3. Andrew Yule, Hollywood a Go-Go: The True Story of the Cannon Film Empire, Sphere Books, 1987 p111
  4. Invasion U.S.A. at Box Office Mojo
  5. "Longtime King Of The Karate Flicks Is Finally Winning Over The Critics". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  6. "Chuck Norris Is An All-out Star, With The Scars To Prove It". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-12-04.
  7. McCormick, James (11 May 2017). "Ninjas, Break Dancing and Filmmaking: An Interview With Director Sam Firstenberg". That's Not Current. Retrieved 14 June 2017.
  8. CHUCK NORRIS SIGNS A 6-MOVIE CONTRACT. (1985, Mar 17). Philadelphia Inquirer Retrieved from
  9. Klemesrud, J. (1985, Sep 28). NORRIS ENJOYING NEWFOUND ACCLAIM FOR ROLES IN ACTION-PACKED MOVIES. Sun Sentinel Retrieved from
  10. BROESKE, P. H. (1985, May 19). CHUCK NORRIS--AN ALL-AMERICAN HIT. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  11. Norris, Chuck; Abraham, Ken (2006). Against all odds : my story. Broadman & Holman Publishers. p. 137.
  12. Klemesrud, J. (1985, Sep 05). LONGTIME KING OF THE KARATE FLICKS IS FINALLY WINNING OVER THE CRITICS. Orlando Sentinel Retrieved from
  13. AP. (1985, Oct 03). Invasion U.S.A. conquers boxoffice. Toronto Star Retrieved from
  14. "Invasion U.S.A." Variety. 1984-12-31. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  15. Canby, Vincent (1985-09-27). "Invasion U.S.A." The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
  16. "Invasion U.S.A." Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
  17. Chuck Norris: A Hero Hazards Comedy: [ALL EDITIONS] By Mike McGrady. Newsday, 30 Nov 1986: 09.
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