The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

FIREWALKER (1986) **

Most people write off Firewalker as Chuck Norris’ worst movie. I don’t think that’s the case at all. I’m not going to argue that it’s a good movie. It’s far from it. In fact, Firewalker is dumber than a bag of hammers. But it KNOWS it’s dumber than a bag of hammers and is willing to flaunt it at every turn. And because of that, it’s got personality; and like Jules Winnfield said, “Personality goes a long way”.

Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett Jr. are down-on-their-luck fortune hunters. Flash Gordon’s Melody Anderson comes to them with a treasure map and gets them to help her find a cache of gold in Central America. Sonny Landham is the mystical Cyclops who also wants the gold and is following the trio in hot pursuit.

Firewalker is kinda like Cannon’s idea of an Indiana Jones rip-off with Chuck Norris in the lead. I think this was supposed to be Chuck’s idea of stretching his acting muscles as it’s more of a silly adventure comedy than the action vehicles Norris was used to. The problem was, it was directed by J. Lee Thompson (who was in between Chuck Bronson pictures), a director who is not exactly known for his comedic timing.

There is a lot of stupid shit in this movie. There’s a scene where Norris and Gossett dress up like priests on a train and have to give someone their last rites. Of course, they don’t know Latin, so they do the sermon in Pig Latin instead. You know. Because it’s funny. Then there’s the running joke about Norris being a great adventurer, but he can’t shoot straight. You know. Because it’s funny. (There’s even a groan-inducing scene where he misses an Aztec warrior and the bullet ricochets around and around before hitting its target.) Then we have John Rhys-Davies playing a Mexican revolutionary named “Corky”. We also have Will Sampson as a mystical Indian who watches I Love Lucy reruns and says stuff like, “I don’t know how Tonto did it!”

Okay, I’ll admit, I laughed at that part.

But what I admire about Firewalker is that it never apologizes for what it is. It just goes along and cheerfully eats 105 minutes of your life and gives you a couple of good chuckles in return. It’s stupid, but it’s not boring.

The whole thing sort of has a House 2 vibe to it. (And no, I’m not saying that because both films have a random Aztec warrior attack in them.) If you like (or APPRECIATE is a better word I think) House 2, you might have some fun with Firewalker.

The secret of enjoying Firewalker is wrapped up in Sonny Landham’s character. Sometimes when he shows up, his eye patch is over his left eye. Other times, it’s his right eye that's covered. Some people will scoff and call this “bad continuity” and allege that it was an unintentional mistake. I’d like to think that Thompson (and Landham for that manner) KNEW the eye patch was on the wrong eye and just went with it. I’d like to think that this was Landham’s way of winking at the camera. He just didn’t know which eye to do it with.

Tags: action, cannon, chuck norris, f, kung fu
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