LONE WOLF McQUADE stands—shirtless, sweating and surly— as the Once Upon A Time In The West of Chuck Norris epics, as close as the rugged martial arts slugger got to making a decent movie and giving something on the order of what could be called a performance. Shot in the kind of absurdly exaggerated poses that Sergio Leone doused his Italian cowboys with, including ultra-dramatic music weaving an aura of mystique around the mayhem, it was directed in 1983 by Steve Carver, who spent $5,000,000 and must have been gratified that his Chuckie cheese roundhouse-kicked a gross of $19,770,000.
McQuade is the most superhuman Texas Ranger ever to take on half of greater El Paso/Juarez; brooking little interference from meddling supervisors or Feds and taking nary a breather to change clothes between fights, which occur about every ten minutes. Norris whales on David Carradine’s gun-smuggling terrorists like so many cucarachas. A little r&r is spent wrestling with Barbara Carerra, but mostly it’s wipe-outs, ridiculous from the first punch. Carradine, L.Q. Jones, R.G. Armstrong and others wisely play with tongue in cheek, direction is decent, sound effects garish: end result an entertaining action pic, as was intended and what Norris adorers ate up.
Music score is from Francesco De Masi, paying homage to Ennio Morricone. I’m not a Chuck Norris fan (never was), and I deplore his politics (sincere, it seems, and for all I know he’s a great guy: whatever) but objectively I have to report to my lib pals that this 108-minute hoot does not ring the death knell for Western Civ. What more needs to be debated when the first thing McQuade does, after being wounded and buried alive in his truck, is take a big swig of beer and splash the rest on his face? Pride rises.
The beauteous La Carrera, 38, was at her popularity peak, appearing that same year in the Bond opus Never Say Never Again and pretty much walking away with the film. With Leon Isaac Kennedy, Robert Beltram, Sharon Farrell and William Sanderson.
I have to plug a funny write-up from ‘Matt’, at the site “Ruthless Reviews” ruthlessreviews.com : “…worst of all, the crime boss is a Mexican midget in a wheelchair. I can believe a lot of things, but not Senor Sausage Fingers as a kingpin. At the very least, such a character violates my belief that the world has never produced a successful midget who wasn’t in show business.”