I have to say that this film is one of the gems in the Chuck Norris arsenal. It surprised me in a lot of ways and not in your typical Chuck Norris way.
First of all, this the first time that Chuck Norris played a Texas Ranger. The Ranger motto of “one riot, one ranger” is very evident throughout the whole film. The movie opens with Chuck taking down a drug kingpin before he almost executes some border patrol cops. He does this all while staying atop a cliff. The scene is tense, well photographed and Chuck’s infamous coolness rains through.
As the movie picks up back in the city, Chuck is grilled like Dirty Harry for being to hard to control and he gets saddled with a young recruit (Star Trek Voyager’s Robert Beltran). Chuck is ordered to show the kid the ropes but like that’s gonna happen.
I really liked Beltran in this. He was the complete opposite of Chuck and their chemistry was kind of fun. Too bad he never guest-starred on Walker Texas Ranger reprising his character in some way. Could have been a really cool nod to the flick.
The movie’s main story comes from Chuck’s arch-villain in the piece, an arms dealer played by David Carradine and the two of them love the same woman, played by Barbara Carrera. Chuck’s bulldog approach keeps bringing him closer to taking Carradine down but in typical action movie way, the hero has to suffer first. So the villain kidnaps his daughter and shoots his dog.
There are lots of hints to this being a spaghetti western set in modern day Texas. The film’s credits follow over a tie-dye wolf with Ennio Morricone type music. The action sequences have hints of Sergio Leone and well David Carradine’s villain is very much a spaghetti western styled villain especially when he makes it personal for the hero.
The three key scenes I remember most in the picture are the baddies shooting Chuck’s dog and it’s a touching moment where Chuck breaks down. I know it’s just a dog but for some reason I didn’t find the scene cheesy at all. Chuck being buried alive and well the final showdown between Chuck and Carradine.
The final showdown didn’t use stuntmen. Chuck and Carradine did all their moves and fighting. Producers were not impressed and tried to stop the actors but they insisted.
During the fight, Chuck lost his cool with Carradine and warned him to stop kicking so hard. Can you imagine the man famous for his roundhouse kicks asking Carradine not to kick so hard??
I’d love to see this fight unedited! I wonder if the raw fight is still sitting in a warehouse some place.
(4 out of 5)
So Says the Soothsayer