The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum
thevideovacuum

LONE WOLF MCQUADE (1983) ** ½

Chuck Norris stars as J.J. McQuade, a Texas Ranger who doesn’t play by the rules.  His captain (R.G. Armstrong) doesn’t like the bad press he gets when he submachine guns a bunch of horse thieves and saddles him with a wet behind the ears rookie partner (Robert Beltran from Night of the Comet). 

 

Just so you know, McQuade’s the kind of guy who lives out in the desert in a dilapidated trailer and spends his days blowing away scarecrows for target practice. 

 

After a skeevy arms dealer played by David (Kill Bill) Carradine doesn’t like it when McQuade starts making time with his woman (Barbara Carrera), he has McQuade’s daughter (Dana Kimmel from Friday the 13th Part 3) almost killed.  That makes McQuade mad and he starts gunning down dozens of Carradine’s underlings, but not so mad that he doesn’t have time to make out with Carrera some more.  But then Carradine mows down his former captain (L.Q. Jones) and that gets McQuade REAL mad so he retaliates by machine gunning MORE of Carradine’s underlings.  Carradine gets fed up so he knocks McQuade unconscious, stashes him in his truck, and buries them both in an unmarked grave.  Luckily, McQuade comes to, downs a beer, hits the accelerator and he and his truck RISE FROM THE GRAVE! 

 

Brilliant.

 

McQuade spends the rest of the movie healing up so he can go toe to toe with Carradine for the big showdown in which McQuade hops in a bulldozer and battles Carradine’s Army Jeep.

 

The film more or less plays like your average updated Spaghetti Western (the music is mock Ennio Morricone) except it features Norris rising from the grave in his trusty truck, Uzis, kung fu, and video game playing paraplegic midget gun runners.  It’s also quite a thrill seeing two titans of martial arts cinema squaring off as Big Chuck trades knuckles with Caine from Kung Fu.  

 

Too bad a lot of the movie is utterly stupid. 

 

Like the final scene.  It’s hilarious.  Carrera jumps in the way of Carradine’s bullet, which is intended for Norris.  Carradine then gives her just enough time to deliver her impassioned deathbed proclamation of love to Norris before reloading.  Of course Old Chuck gets REALLY mad and when Carradine finally fires the rest of the clip, it of course comes nowhere near hitting him, giving Chuck the opportunity to blow him up with a grenade. 

 

But Lone Wolf McQuade has a tender side too.  Take for instance the scene where Carrera moves in with McQuade and starts vacuuming the floor, makes him take vitamins and worse, THROWS OUT HIS BEER.  But Chuck’s such a wimp in this movie he actually CONSENTS to this de-masculinization and even makes love to her in the mud while opera music plays!  Not logical.  Half star deduction for that.   

 

The stellar supporting cast includes Sharon (It’s Alive) Farrell, William (Newhart) Sanderson and Leon Isaac (Penitentiary) Kennedy who says “I’m not the token nigger!” 

 

Speaking of great dialogue, Carradine gets to say a lot of slimy things like “Trust is the most important thing in our business.”  But it’s Big Chuck who gets the movie’s best line when he says:  “Super-charge THIS!” 

 

Chuck basically recycled this concept for his ever popular Walker, Texas Ranger TV series. 

Tags: action, chuck norris, david carradine, kung fu, l
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