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Viking Night: Lone Wolf McQuade

By Bruce Hall

November 12, 2014

Subtle.

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In case you weren't aware, Chuck Norris is awesome. You don't have to take my word for it, and in fact I insist you don't.

What you need to do is watch the first 10 minutes of Lone Wolf McQuade. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that Norris descends from the clouds on a sunbeam to singlehandedly take out a gang of horse rustlers. Outnumbered ten to one, Norris wades into them like a rice plantation and personally beats a few of them to death. The rest he turns on with a machine gun. He doesn't get angry, doesn't raise his voice, or even really seem to get tired. It's all just part of the day, like drinking beer for breakfast, trimming your manly beard or practicing your gun stance alone in the back yard.

This awesome feat of badassery saves the lives of some fellow Texas Rangers, including a plucky young one named Kayo Ramos (Robert Beltran). The next day, McQuade ends up regretting this when his Captain makes Ramos his partner. This is because the Captain doesn't like McQuade's methods. But the Captain doesn't understand what it's like out there, because he's been sitting behind a desk for too long. These are off the shelf characters, so you won’t be surprised when I tell you they don't call him the “Lone Wolf” for nothing. McQuade doesn't like being threatened, he doesn’t believe in “smiling," carries a gun for every day of the week, has no time for your fancy imported beers, and he always works alone.




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That seems like a bad idea, in light of how easily McQuade makes enemies. Because he's so aggressively awesome, he tends to make a big show of not wanting to fight. But the second he senses injustice, he becomes a windmill of spinning arms and legs, kicking the absolute crap out of whoever was stupid enough to get in his way. This is more or less how he comes to meet the inexplicably named Rawley Wilkes (David Carradine), who is a smug middle aged guy who doesn’t like wearing socks, knows a little karate and drives a Mercedes. Wilkes immediately resents McQuade's intense manliness, which is exacerbated when his hot girlfriend Lola (Barbara Carrera) totally falls for said manliness.

This results in a predictable series of escalations during which a lot of people get beat up and quite possibly permanently injured. It's kind of unfortunate that Wilkes spends so much of his free time intentionally provoking a Texas Ranger who can open cans with his beard. This is because Wilkes is secretly a dangerous international criminal-slash-world karate champion who just happened to choose El Paso, Texas as his base of operations. My experience with crime is limited, but all of those choices seem counterintuitive, to say the least.

There’s much more to it, but none of it is interesting enough to try to follow, and very little of it makes any sense. To say more would ruin a series of confusing and/or derivative subplots involving Lola, McQuade's daughter, McQuade's best friend, a (not so) Mysterious Stranger and McQuade's absurdly powerful truck, which I assume is meant to represent his penis. This is a movie from another time, and the people it was meant to entertain have all grown up or died off. Or if they’re like me, video games have long since replaced the thrill of watching Chuck Norris kick people so hard their heads explode.


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