Lone Wolf McQuade


"My kind of trouble doesn't take vacations."   - Ranger McQuade


release year: 1983
genre: action
viewing setting: home Bluray 12/7/18 and 12/7/17 and 6/21/17 and home DVD, 7/19/15 and 7/11/12 and 1/13/03

synopsis: Texas Ranger J.J. McQuade and friends go up against a nasty gunrunner.

impressions: It's true what other reviews say: this is Walker, Texas Ranger in movie form, and R-rated too. It's a good exposition of gunfights, fistfights, and machismo. Being from the 1980s, it naturally has everything, including but not limited to: fists, kicks, guns, Uzis, rocket launchers, a crossbow, grenades, and a contest between a bulldozer and an armored car. On the plot front, this movie contains, among other things, an evil cigar-smoking sneering David Carradine, a wheelchair-bound midget arms dealer with a secret rotating wall in his office, and annoying authority figures who McQuade openly ignores. This may in fact be the perfect movie, and definitely adds fuel to the "Chuck Norris is the ultimate man" argument. Norris' McQuade is all business: he lives alone in his messy house with guns lying around and a fridge full of beer, and his ferocious wolf/dog which automatically knows which people to growl at and which to ignore. When a woman tries to clean up, McQuade gets irritated and the woman leaves...and then McQuade goes out and just stands there by her car and she starts crying and being all sorry that she left. This is the same woman who he steals away from evil David Carradine without even trying. She just parks her Rolls-Royce outside and hangs around his hot, dusty place waiting for him to come home, because that's the kind of guy he is. Even his ex-wife still adores him. On the action front, McQuade usually hits the bad guys before they even finish swinging their fist - he's that fast. At one point, it takes three bad guys to wrestle him down, and that's AFTER he's been shot! When bad guys are roaming around outside his house, he just automatically wakes up. When he gets mad and loses his temper, he randomly kicks a post and brings down an entire porch. When a bad guy's getting away, McQuade just chases him down and jumps on his truck and then hangs on until the driver crashes due to McQuade being on his hood. He also runs across rooftops, offers his friends beer at the most inopportune times (like during a public award ceremony) and starts his morning by practicing fast-draws and shooting targets while rolling around in the dirt shirtless. Even when beaten and buried in his truck, he finds a beer, drinks half of it, and pours the other half over his face to freshen up...before starting the truck with its supercharger and breaking free and running over some bad guys, then stopping, opening the truck door, and shooting some more bad guys. This is great stuff.

more impressions: But that's not all! McQuade has the best friends. There's Dakota, the tough old ex-Ranger who feeds good guys beer while beating them at poker, and taunts bad guys before beating them senseless. Then there's Kayo, the eager clean-cut young partner who is determined to win McQuade's respect no matter how long it takes, and keeps on fighting after being shot twice. And then there's Jackson, the Fed who realizes that McQuade's the only one with his head on straight, so he breaks ranks and joins him when the time comes to get serious. Heck, when McQuade heads down to Mexico to finish things off, and stops for gas, Jackson's waiting inside at a table with a bandaged bullet wound, a half-full bottle of tequila, and an SUV full of rockets and grenades parked ouside. And then Kayo pulls up too, also with a bandaged bullet wound but also ready to join McQuade in the final fight. What great friends! After one gunfight, McQuade, Kayo, and Jackson (all wounded from being shot) sit down together, surrounded by dead bodies of bad guys, and share a beer. These are the kind of people who, if they weren't manly enough to begin with, actually got manlier just by hanging around with McQuade.

number of people whose ass got kicked by Chuck Norris in this movie: 16

number of people who got shot dead by Chuck Norris in this movie: 21

number of people who got their ass kicked AND THEN shot dead by Chuck Norris in this movie: 1

number of people taken out by Chuck Norris + a vehicle: 2

acting: This is archetypical Chuck Norris: quiet and competent. There's something about his acting that elevates him a bit above the level of a Seagal or a Van Damme; it's like he doesn't have to try as hard to be cool. David Carradine has a weird, low-key acting style, but it works here for his evil villain role. Barbara Carrera is the beautiful woman who has to choose between the two. Robert Beltran (who went on to a major role in Star Trek Voyager) was good as the enthusiastic young Ranger sidekick here. Leon Isaac Kennedy (who boxed his way to success in the Penitentiary film series) is the federal agent who helps out. L.Q. Jones (who had roles in hundreds of movies and TV series, among them the commissioner in Casino) is McQuade's retired Ranger friend and mentor. Dana Kimmell (who was the main girl in Friday the 13th, part 3) is McQuade's daughter. William Sanderson (who was the geneticist in Blade Runner) is a low-level bad guy here.

final word: Good 80s action.

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