Friday, August 3, 2012

#718. Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)

Directed By: Steve Carver

Starring: Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera

Tag line: "Chuck Norris is Lone Wolf McQuade. David Carradine is the man that got in his way"

Trivia: There were no stunt doubles used for the final fight between McQuade and Wilkes

Lone Wolf McQuade opens in style, paying tribute to the great Spaghetti Westerns of the ‘60s and ‘70s. I love the design of its title sequence, which immediately brought to mind the films of Sergio Leone, and the score by Francesco De Masi, who himself contributed to a number of Italian Westerns back in the day, is pitch-perfect. The fact that Lone Wolf McQuade also stars Chuck Norris and David Carradine? Well, that’s a nice little bonus.

Texas Ranger J. J. McQuade (Chuck Norris) finds himself squaring off against Rawley Wilkes (David Carradine), a powerful weapons dealer. When Wilkes takes things to a personal level by threatening those closest to him, McQuade loses his cool, leading to his suspension from the Rangers. With the help of his partner, Kayo (Robert Beltran) and FBI agent Jackson (Leon Isaac Kennedy), McQuade tracks Wilkes to Mexico, using every means at his disposal to bring this dangerous gun-runner down.

The opening scene, a standoff between the Texas Rangers and a handful of Mexican bandits, is a thing of beauty. McQuade, standing high atop a mountain, watches through a rifle scope as his fellow Rangers, including Kayo, are quickly overtaken by the Banditos. Instead of jumping into the fracas, McQuade lays low, making his presence known only when absolutely necessary, leading to one hell of a showdown in the hot Texas sun. On the other side of the coin is Carradine, whose Wilkes remains a snake from the moment we meet him. He even has his own “bad guy” theme, heard for the first time when he introduces himself to McQuade. The tension between these two characters continues to build until their inevitable showdown, which, I’m happy to report, does not disappoint.

A sleek combination of Italian Westerns and ‘80s action, Lone Wolf McQuade is a fist-flying, guns-blazing, ass-kicking slice of fun, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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