Scientists have worked tirelessly since the invention of Blu-ray looking for a way to capture the essence of Chuck Norris onto a high-definition disc. No matter how hard they tried though his fists, jaw and body hair refused to be contained long enough for the transfer to take. But finally, in the year of our Lord 2012, six years after the format’s debut… they’ve succeeded.
Seven of Chuck Norris’ classics are now available in HD.
Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) is one manly goddamn movie. Seriously. I grew a full beard over the course of its 107 minutes, and it’s no sketchy patch job either. Chuck Norris plays a bachelor who no woman can tame. His house is a mess, he rolls around in his dusty back yard whenever he wants, he drives a super-charged American-made truck, he drinks Pearl beer exclusively and he has a wolf(-like dog) as a pet.
JJ McQuade (Norris) is a Texas Ranger par excellence. He’s tough, he insists on working alone and he wouldn’t be caught dead saying “par excellence.” His captain forces a new partner onto him, and soon the two are working together investigating a wealthy businessman named Eawley Wilkes (David Carradine) who may be moonlighting as an arms dealer. The fight becomes personal when McQuade learns that Wilkes once pretended to play an Asian man on a kung fu television show.
“How’d you like to bite that in the butt, develop lockjaw and be dragged to death?”
We first meet McQuade as he attempts to corral an unruly gang of horse rustlers which apparently still exist. His single-handed effort is squandered though when a cadre of Texas cops move in too soon and too poorly leading to their capture. At which point McQuade saves the day with immense bravado, a lack of fear and a fantastic aim when firing a MAC-10 from his hip.
The incident leads to McQuade being saddled with a rookie cop named Kayo (Robert Beltran), but we’re also introduced to his daughter Sally (Dana Kimmell) and his best friend Dakota (LQ Jones). That’s right. There are three people (and one dog!) in McQuade’s life that, judging my Norris’ past films, probably won’t survive to the end credits.
Wilkes’ arrival on scene comes paired with tension over his perceived evilness but also due to the hot lady named Lola (Barbara Carrera) on his arm who takes a liking to McQuade. She becomes something of a prize between them, and by the time the film heads towards its explosive climax it’s unclear if the two are fighting a battle between good and evil or if they’re simply two dogs scrapping for rutting rights.
Either way, McQuade is out for blood.
In many ways this is the quintessential Chuck Norris movie. He’s at his most adrenalin and testosterone-fueled best here and really shows why men wanted to be him and women wanted to get lost in his beard.
Director Steve Carver allows ample time and opportunity for Norris to kick ass with various weapons as well as through sweaty fisticuffs. The end fight between Norris and Carradine could have been longer but it remains an entertaining boss battle, and Carradine is clearly having a good time here. The various set pieces throughout are exciting and well shot including gun battles and some car rooftop action. There’s lots of kicking, shooting and back-handing to be found, and the look on Norris’ face when the bad guys go too far is always an awesome moment.
Carver and writer BJ Nelson also bring a bit of fun to the pic with the addition of a James Bond-worthy mini villain named Falcon (Daniel Frishman). He’s a little person with a deep, eloquent voice who rides around in a motorized wheelchair. Absolutely no purpose is served by this, but it makes for some real character and laughs.
The subtle winks towards the audience continue with the choral singing that plays over McQuade’s scenes with Lola as the two kiss and play together in the mud in slow motion. And let’s not forget the sweater Carradine wears during the final fight. As if a sweater wearing, cigar chomping, ethnically loose guy like him ever stood a chance against Norris.
Lone Wolf McQuade is a more than a little cartoonish in its action scenes, but it never reaches excessive levels (the likes of which are found in Norris’ latest adventure, The Expendables 2). Sure McQuade runs a serpentine path between machine gun bullets and shakes loose from the bowels of the earth thanks only to his determination and nitrous-charged super truck, but c’mon. He also has a wolf.
And now, the only stats that matter:
- Chuck beats up – 12 bad guys!
- Chuck kills – 21 bad guys!
- Chuck gets shirtless at the – 19:56 mark!
Like the Optimum releases discussed earlier this week these MGM/Fox Blu-ray debuts look the best the films have ever been. On the downside though they come with essentially no special features:
Lone Wolf McQuade is a manly goddamn movie.
Buy Lone Wolf McQuade on Blu-ray from Amazon