LONE WOLF MCQUADE
* * * * (1983, 80 minutes, Rated PG)
The Lone Wolf Rides... Alone.
You’ll be pleased to know that Chuck Norris plays a Texas
Ranger in Lone Wolf McQuade. Yes, his name is
McQuade in the film, but that’s not what you’re wondering,
is it? You’re thinking, “But is he a 'lone wolf?'” Oh. Hell.
High a top a desert cliff, lone wolfy Lone Wolf McQuade
watches a horse theft in progress. It’s a pretty big
operation, run by a big sweaty guy sporting a leather vest
and the most outrageous Speedy Gonzalez accent I’ve
heard since… well, since I took high school Spanish (the
teacher was not amused by my efforts).
McQuade then sees a number of his fellow rangers show
up on the scene. In a stunningly poor display of law
enforcement, the rangers attempt to apprehend the horse
thieves by pulling out a bullhorn and shouting, “Stop! Or I’ll say ‘stop’ again!” That goes about as
well as you’d expect, and the rangers are all taken captive. That leaves it up to Lone Wolf McQuade
to Chuck Norris the shit out of the crooks, which he does with authority.
This review is part of our special MAY SWEEPS month here
at the Bargain Bin Review, where I'll take on some of the
choice films featured on WPNY's "Magnificent Movies @ 8."
Which I just happen to host.
If you somehow question the awesomeness of Lone Wolf
McQuade, then get a second opinion of the film over at
Invasion of the B-Movies.
|That's right: At the Bargain Bin Review, we use
"Chuck Norris" as a verb.
Despite singlehandedly taking down an
entire horse-thieving ring and saving
the lives of a half dozen of his fellow
rangers, the Captain is eight kinds of
pissed at McQuade. This is a movie,
after all, and that’s what police captains
do. Also, the Captain is ticked off
because McQuade isn’t married (?) and
doesn’t go to church (??). If it were me,
I’d be more concerned about
McQuade’s utter lack of hygene – he is
one filthy guy.
The Captain is also steamed about a front-page article in the newspaper about how Lone Wolf
McQuade is such a lone wolf and doesn’t cooperate with the other law enforcement agencies in
the area. I swear I just caught a similar article on the front page of my newspaper the other day.
The Captain assigns McQuade a newbie partner. This newbie is so new, he still has that new cop
smell. McQuade shows his appreciation by immediately blowing off Newbie to go home and shoot
up a whole gang of defenseless scarecrows.
It turns out McQuade isn’t such the lone wolf after all, as we meet McQuade’s teenage daughter
and professional damsel-in-distress, Sally, and McQuade’s mentor, a retired old coot named
Dakota. In an admirable show of restraint, Dakota never utters the phrase “Darn tootin’!”. We also
find out that McQuade has outfitted his truck with a never-ending supply of beer and a frickin’
|Cruising in McQuade's truck.
|In a move that must have been the 1983 version of
the De Niro-Pacino face off in Heat, the antagonist is
played by none other than David Carradine. Here,
Carradine is Wilkes, a gun smuggler who spends
much of the movie channeling Hannibal from “The A-
Team.” Just when you’re thinking he should be the
good guy in this film, Wilkes ruins it with a vanity
license plate that reads “Carate.”
Yep, that’s “karate” with a “c.”
Wilkes is interested in his dead business partner’s
(cough cough) Wicked Sexy Widow (WSW), but once
she catches a whiff of McQuade’s man musk, she’s smitten. Wilkes tries to bait McQuade into the
kind of karate exhibitions that all villains in kung fu movies like to engage in – even going so far as
to have one of his heavies pick a fight with Newbie – but the WSW drags McQuade away. All of this
is observed by a little man with big binoculars in motorized wheelchair. He laughs maniacally.
Yeah, this movie is a bit weird.
When the gun smugglers uzi down Sarah’s boyfriend one night and push his car (with Sarah in it)
down a cliff, it’s time for Lone Wolf McQuade to dispense some two-fisted justice! His
investigation, greatly aided by Newbie’s computer literacy, leads them to apprehending a pimp
named Snow (played by classic “Hey It’s
That Guy” guy William Sanderson!).
Naturally, said apprehension involves a
big chase scene and Chuck Norris
hanging on to the hood of a speeding truck.
There’s a fun little break in the action
where McQuade comes home to find the
WSW cleaning his house. Yes, it direly
needed it, but that must have been one
helluva good first date. She’s also
replaced all of McQuade’s beer with
vegetables and vitamins. Amazingly, when
|William Sanderson (the one without the face
paint), top shelf character actor.
he gets miffed about that, she’s the one who is offended and he has to apologize. That apology
does lead to a strange cleaning/frolicking in the mud montage, so I guess everyone is happy in the
Maybe not everyone. Not content to simply have McQuade’s daughter hospitalized and her
boyfriend killed off, Wilkes has Dakota and Snow killed off, leaving Newbie to sit and stew in his
own wet pants. That somehow gets McQuade suspended for “violating jurisdiction.” And then he
has McQuade’s newly clean house shot up and his pet wolf put down. It’s as if they’ve thrown
every country music cliché into the film.
Wilkes even attempt to kill McQuade’s truck by burying it (with McQuade inside, unconscious).
Fortunately for McQuade, Wilkes doesn't know about the hyperdrive.
Needless to say, there's only one way this film can end, so all that matters is if the Norris vs.
Carradine lives up to the hype. I’m glad to say it does, and the filmmakers even pipe in some
organ music for the occasion.
Come to think of it, Lone Wolf McQuade lives up to the hype, too.