Review Date: 4/28/13
Cast: Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera, Robert Beltran, Leon Isaac Kennedy
J.J. McQuade (Chuck Norris) is a tough-as-nails Texas Ranger, but his etiquette and hygiene could use some help. He and his new partner, Kayo (Robert Beltran), are investigating a military convoy that was hijacked by a sinister Rawley Wilkes (David Carradine), and things get personal when Wilkes kidnaps McQuade's daughter. With some help from Federal Agent Jackson (Leon Isaac Kennedy), McQuade storms Wilkes's stronghold and takes him on in a martial arts smackdown.
Now I remember why I wasn't a big action movie fan back in the 80's, because this is the caliber of stuff that Hollywood was cranking out. The action is laughably bad and the fight scenes are downright embarrassing. Chuck throws a couple of nice roundhouse kicks, but the choreography is weak, the execution is sloppy, the camera work is poor, and the film cuts away from every hit. On the plus side, it's nice to see real people performing real stunts, and real explosions instead of all the CGI bullshit that's onscreen today. The plot is cliché and super tacky, the acting is stiff, the dialog is poor, and there's even an awkward love story thrown in. Yet, despite its formulaic trappings and Hollywood B-movie sensibilities, there's a certain earnestness to the film, and you can't help but cheer for the good guys. It all boils down to a conflict between the archetypes of good and evil, and the simplicity is refreshing. Just don't think about it too hard. Interestingly, this film laid the groundwork for Norris's long running "Walker: Texas Ranger" television show.