There are movies that are so bad they completely stun any sensible viewer. Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) is such a film. Orion Pictures/MGM budgeted $5 million for this turkey– director Steve Carver’s vision of a heroic Texas Ranger in action.
The star was Chuck Norris, and this turd-burger actually catapulted him up to Hollywood B-list stardom. It should be Z-list, or better yet ZZZZ-list, as Norris is unable to express a single emotion with human feeling. He always looks best, silhouetted at a distance:
Chuck Norris is ever expressionless, whether posed in silent rage or deep contemplation– it doesn’t matter, this is always what you get from Chuck Norris:
LWM made $12+M in the U.S. and did very well overseas, particularly in the European dubbed video market, which was starving for anything American action.
This movie inspired Walker, Texas Ranger, the CBS television series which ran 8 seasons, from 1993-2001.
In the opening sequence of LWM, Norris bare-handedly takes down 12-15 horse rustlers, all armed with machine guns.
After this, director Steve Carver establishes the characters:
Most of the sets have an American flag & the flag of Texas, along with guns or pictures of horses. Notice the books under Norris’ foot, and in the trash can:
McQuade is chastised by his boss for being a loose cannon, so he is assigned a partner, against his wishes. Kayo Ramos (Robert Beltran) the young, clean-cut Latino is assigned to partner with Lone Wolf. Norris rejects this at first, like everything else outside of a six-pack of Pearl beer.
While at a party hosted by the film’s vixen Lola Richardson (Barbara Carrera), Norris approaches the bar and asks for a Pearl beer. He’s told there’s only Heineken, Michelob and Dos Equiis. Norris flatly rejects the counter-offer. Got the message? Of course the vixen saves him, and has the barkeeper pull a can of Pearl from the bottom shelf. It’s true love for our hero.
The gun-smuggling villain Rawley Wilkes (David Carradine) is also introduced as an intimate of Carrera at the party:
A bunch of people then get beat up for no good reason, and the action is halted by Carrera, just as Norris & Carradine are about to square off. The viewer is made to wait for the anticipated showdown.
McQuade also has a craggy ex-wife, and a hot daughter named Sally. Guess which one he prefers?
Daughter Sally and her ‘boyfriend’ Bobby, witness the hijacking of a U.S. Army convoy loaded with guns. Bobby is conveniently shot & killed by the hijackers, while Sally is spared, left unconscious after being rolled inside her car down a ravine. Sally survives all this with only a minor gash on her forehead & a little nick on her lip, otherwise she has never looked more fetching in her hospital scene:
Chuck Norris is furious:
Norris needs information, so it’s time to beat someone up & torture them. Norris grabs a delinquent informer ‘Snow’ (William Sanderson), who is reluctant to talk until McQuade’s buddy Dakota (L. Q. Jones) points a machine gun in his direction and sprays a few bullets.
This gets the desired results, and now Norris has a clue about the bad guys.
That’s all he needs. Norris’ buddy Dakota & new partner Ramos get to stay behind and torture Snow some more, just for kicks. Here’s how Robert Beltran felt about his role as Ramos:
David Carradine asphyxiates Dakota in his house, and also has Snow killed, presumably putting him out of his misery. When Norris, who has been flying all over the place in his muddy truck discovers this, he is enraged:
Norris needs more brains, so the feds are brought in to assist, and the token black in the movie is FBI Special Agent Jackson, (Leon Isaac Kennedy). After being introduced, Norris walks out on all of them. He works alone.
Except he still doesn’t know what he’s looking for. Ramos gets on a computer, and hacks into the U.S. military database in about 10 seconds, which takes about 8 seconds too long for Norris, but McQuade now knows it’s guns that have been hijacked from a U.S. army convoy.
Norris pays a visit to a creepy wheel-chaired dwarf called Falcon, who has been spying on him (for some unexplained reason) the whole time.
Norris interrogates the handicapped dwarf:
The dwarf fingers David Carridine’s gun smuggling operation as the responsible party for his ‘daughter’s’ accident. Time to kick ass somewhere in Mexico.
Norris says he works alone, but he needs a lot of help with everything. Like finding & getting to the bad guys. Two federal agents he’s earlier rejected, show up on cue and join Norris’ assault on Carradine and his 20-30 henchmen.
Federal agents Burnside and Núñez are killed during the attack on Carradine’s headquarters. Young partner Ramos is told by Norris to flee during the assault gone awry. Norris is captured, brutally beaten, then buried alive in his truck. Maybe they should have called for back-up, instead attacking when outnumbered 5-10 times?
No worries, while buried alive in his truck, Norris quickly finds an emergency light switch. Then he calmly reaches for a Pearl and pops it open. He douses himself, then guzzles & spits up, before starting the nitro engine—> rocketing himself out of his grave.
All the bad guys are instantly killed or have disappeared. Norris is free, as Ramos who has been frozen, watching in the nearby bushes, rushes to catch him as he heroically collapses out of his truck.
Ramos pleads with Norris not to die after all he has endured. Norris tells Ramos to get him a beer. The similarities to Joe Don Baker’s performance in Mitchell (1975) are striking.
Norris now learns his babe (daughter!) Sally, has been kidnapped and taken by Carradine to Mexico. Ramos & Jackson follow Norris, and the three head into the base for another attack. Norris enters the compound first,…
and finds Sally & Carrera instantly:
Norris calmly escorts the women to safety…
… when suddenly they’re caught wide-open in a firefight. Norris pushes the women down, taking cover behind them both. Sally is shot in the leg.
An intense battle ensues and Jackson is shot in the belly again, yet he fights on– undaunted:
The final showdown between Norris v. Carradine arrives and ends. You can guess how it goes. Carradine is defeated, wounded– but not dead. He recovers and fires upon Norris, who has turned his attention away. Carrera steps in and takes the fatal bullet to save her love. Chuck Norris is heartbroken:
Everyone flees. Finally, the token Negro provides Norris with a grenade, and he tosses it into a building, killing Carradine.
Film Critic Roger Ebert gave LWM a 3.5 star rating, proving a serious lack of critical judgement. This is a wretched picture, that deserves to be studied & understood for all its toxicity, then put away forever. Resist this psychic death.
The love scenes between him & Carrera are not believable, with any knowing viewer suspecting Norris doesn’t even have an erection at the fadeout, and will soon opt for a brew as consolation. Intimacy issues at every turn for Chuck Norris.
Below are three different LWM screenshots of Norris literally throwing various forms of garbage, anywhere he feels convenient.
Chuck Norris Takes out the Trash 1:
Chuck Norris Takes out the Trash 2:
Chuck Norris Takes out the Trash 3: