Announcements + Lone Wolf McQuade

1Oct

Howdy friends, Hunter here!

First off I want to announce a few things, Stu and I will be recording Episode 1 at the beginning of the week so we should have a new show up for you all soon.  Also, I will be filling in for Clarkson Campbell over at The Film Thugs Movie Show for this week's show, so be sure to check that one out, it should be available Sunday night if all things go as planned.  If you're unfamiliar with The Film Thugs, it's a great movie podcast (what else would it be?) hosted by a couple of rowdy Texans (my kind of people), check them out over at their web site at TheFilmThugs.com!

Okay, so in Episode 0, Stu picked the Chuck Norris flick Lone Wolf McQuade as one of his palette-defining movies, and at the time of recording, I hadn't seen it.  Well, shortly thereafter I watched the copy sitting on my coffee table, and I cooked up a review for it, so check out my thoughts below!

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If one wishes to gain an understanding of the oeuvre of Chuck Norris in one go, one need look no further than Lone Wolf McQuade. Everything that Chuck would come to be known for begins here, it’s ground zero for Chuck’s invincible and cartoonishly messianic Texas Ranger archetype. The film opens with an Ennio Morricone knock-off score that whistles behind Chuck as we see him spy on a group of criminals before confronting them with the sun framing him like a Texas-fried Jesus as he steps in to literally kick their teeth in once things get ugly.  Here, as you might have surmised, Chuck plays the titular McQuade, and as the title suggests, he doesn’t like teamwork, so when his stereotypically bureaucratic boss assigns him a partner, he isn’t too happy.  McQuade likes the simple things in life, like keeping a wolf at his trashed-out house, shooting dummies in his yard, and drinking insane amounts of Pearl beer in the middle of the day.  Pearl beer seems to be to McQuade what spinach is to Popeye; in one scene the bad guys bury McQuade in his trashed out Bronco, but after busting out a can of Pearl, he pours it all over his being and manages to rev his way out of the hole once his baptism of booze gives him a second wind.  As you might have guessed, McQuade makes Martin Riggs (and, somehow, Mel Gibson by proxy) look positively sane by comparison.  He brandishes a gun when his partner comes to visit him, he drives his Bronco into crime scenes as though the concept of traffic laws never occurred to him, and yet he seems to be a picture perfect father despite his loony eccentricities.  Granted, he never cries in his trailer with a gun in his mouth the way Riggs does, but he does live like someone you would see on an episode of Hoarders, so I guess it evens out.

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The villain in Lone Wolf McQuade is played by none other than David Carradine, and seeing Chuck Norris confront and kill him seems to be something like poetic justice (c’mon, that ain’t spoilin’ nuthin’).  You see, Chuck Norris has a very close cinematic relation to Bruce Lee, as Chuck’s debut on film features him as a badass American karate expert sent to take out Lee’s kung-fu genius on a violent Roman holiday in Way of the Dragon, which Lee also wrote and directed.  The two meet in the Roman coliseum and have a duel in which Lee rips out Chuck’s chest hair before killing him.  However Lee showed a respect to Chuck’s killer karate dude that most action stars lack after killing their primary opponent, and therefore seemed to be paying Chuck respect as his contemporary as a martial artist. Bruce Lee also happened to be the creator for the concept for the TV series Kung Fu, with the intention of he himself starring in it, before the producers decided that Lee was “too Chinese” to play a “Chinese person,” instead opting for a much whiter David Carradine (who also happened to know fuck-all about the show’s namesake), keeping Lee’s Hollywood star potential at bay until the release of the Hollywood/Hong Kong co-production of Enter the Dragon, which came too late, as it was released shortly after Lee’s untimely death.  So seeing Chuck whip the shit out David Carradine (who looks as though he accidentally wandered into Bill Cosby’s wardrobe trailer prior to shooting every scene) seems somehow satisfying, as though Chuck is shoving a grenade up his ass for complying in the act of transforming Lee’s creation from something legitimately interesting, into something incredibly mediocre, safe, and ultimately forgettable.

I’m not going to say Lone Wolf McQuade is the most fun I’ve had watching a Chuck Norris movie (Breaker! Breaker!, so far in my ongoing Norris-a-thon, is hard to beat in terms of cheapie entertainment value), but it’s damn close.  It’s cliché right down to its DNA, but it also wrote the book on Chuck Norris clichés.  McQuade defines the formula for the Chuck Norris hero, the wise Texan karate cowboy that we’re all familiar with, so if I’d say if you’re unfamiliar with this Chuck Norris guy, this would be the one movie you’d have to see to get what people are talking about. Then you can decide if you want to continue, or just walk away, but if you say yes to this movie, chances are you’re already interested in seeing schlock like Hellbound and The Hitman anyway, so you might as well stick it out.

-H

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