Bullet Points: Lone Wolf McQuade
I would describe J.J. McQuade as the long-lost brother of James Bond. Just take away the fancy tuxedos, the sissy pistol, and the Aston Martin and replace it with denim jeans, a sawed-off shotgun, and a super-charged Dodge Ramcharger and you have yourself a couple of macho dudes who are really more similar than they appear. They both take down bad guys, that’s a given. They both love the ladies (and the ladies love them). Both of them are expert fighters. And they both seem to have built themselves a rogue’s gallery diverse enough to challenge Batman. If you like James Bond, just drop him in South Texas and lose the accent and you have Lone Wolf McQuade. What isn’t to like about that?
- The Gist: Texas Ranger J.J. McQuade is the toughest guy in Texas. He works alone and he doesn’t take kindly to people breaking the law in his state. When a string of weapons shipments are hijacked McQuade is on the case and he’ll kick any amount ass needed to take down those responsible.
- The Cast: Chuck Norris is absolutely awesome in this. I think I like his character even more than when he played Matt Hunter in Invasion USA. Norris dodges bullets, struts around shirtless, and pretty much abuses his power in every single scene. The man has a wolf for a pet for God’s sakes. There is nothing more badass than that. Hell, McQuade’s truck is almost like its own character in the movie. On several occasions he uses its awesome power to project his badassery in a vehicular manner. Let’s just say that his truck has more charisma than Mark Wahlberg did in Shooter, that’s for sure. L.Q. Jones plays McQuade’s retired Ranger mentor and friend. That guy is about as “Texas” as it gets. He’s kinda the country version of Sean Connery; extremely awesome and always hittin’ on the ladies. Barbara Carrera plays Lola, who is the hottie that used to be with Carradine but now keeps her boots under McQuade’s bed.
Don’t be seduced by the coolness cause underneath all that charm is a bandanna-wearing badass with a sawed off shottie!
- The Villain: David Carradine is the bad guy from the moment he walks onto the screen. Nothing that he does in this movie is horrible; he’s not killing kids or destroying villages or anything, he’s just stealing guns and selling them to the highest bidder, a real entrepreneur. His main problem seems to be the area he’s chosen to commit his crimes. You ain’t gettin’ away with that kind of malarkey with Walker, I mean, McQuade Texas Ranger around. To be fair, not many villains can kick ass and look cool wearing an argyle sweater but David Carradine pulls it off. I’ve never been fully convinced that Carradine can really fight but he beats the shit out of a few guys here. There is also a rich little person in a motorized wheelchair named Falcon. I did not make that sentence up.
Carradine looks like a furniture salesman.
- The Action: The movie opens with McQuade taking down a bunch of horse thieves. I guess that is something that still happens in Texas. I don’t know what the penalty for that sort of thing is but let’s just say that in the end they’re all bleeding to death in the desert and Chuck Norris ain’t doing no paperwork. McQuade changes his Civil War reenactment shirts from blue, to yellow, then back to blue. Normally that wouldn’t be part of the action but he has to keep changing them cause they’re covered in a mixture of mud, blood, and beer. The final fight scene doesn’t have the flash of a lot of the showdowns that I’ve seen but it’s pretty sweet. Norris and Carradine do their own fight work and it cool to see a couple of martial arts legends go at it. At one point in the movie McQuade is buried alive in his truck but keeps calm, takes a swig of Pearl, and drives that Dodge Ramcharger straight outta the grave! Just writing this review really makes me want to drink some Pearl. This may be the best subliminal messaging/product placement in movie history!
At one point McQuade builds a shooting range in his front yard and then proceeds to blast away at the targets while shirtless!
Take it Home:
- Cast: According to the producers, the role that went to David Carradine would have been played by Bruce Lee if he had still been alive.
- Favorite quote: “How would you like to bite that in the butt, develop lock jaw, and be dragged to death?”
- A good Brew: McQuade only drinks Pearl, a beer from the Pearl Brewing Company, founded in 1883 and headquartered in San Antonio.
- Rumors: There was a rumor that Norris and Carradine had an altercation when Carradine was kicking him too hard and Norris told him to stop. Carradine did it again and Norris allegedly struck him. Carradine would later debunk this rumor in one of his books.
- Huh?: When a bad guy asks Ramos if he remembers him he replies, “Yeah, I never forget an asshole.” How many assholes has he seen?
- This is America sweetheart: Lola tries to get J.J. to take vitamins and eat vegetables…he just throws that shit on the ground and cracks open an ice cold Pearl.
- It’s a disease: I think MaQuade has a drinking problem…
This movie really is a lot of fun. It’s more or less a Western but with cars, a couple phone calls, and an early 80’s computer. The music, the feel, the pacing and the really the overall theme of the movie borrows so much from some of the classic Westerns. It is a definite must watch for any fan of action movies.
I think I’ll celebrate this review by having an ice cold Pearl….yeah, that’s refreshing….