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Lone Wolf McQuade(1983)
Legendary renegade Texas Ranger J.J. McQuade is fierce with his gun - but lethal with his black belt! When his teenage daughter's life is threatened by hijackers attempting to steal a truck full of weapons and ammunition, the job becomes personal for McQuade. Uncovering a colossal arms-struggling outfit that is selling guns and ammo to terrorists all over the world, McQuade come face to face with its kingpin, Rawley Wilkes a world-renowned martial arts expert who has never lost a battle! Does the Ranger have what it takes to save his daughter and his honor - or has he finally met his match, and ultimately his demise?
For more about Lone Wolf McQuade and the Lone Wolf McQuade Blu-ray release, see Lone Wolf McQuade Blu-ray Review published by Casey Broadwater on August 21, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Chuck Norris, David Carradine, Barbara Carrera, Robert Beltran, L.Q. Jones, Dana Kimmell
Director: Steve Carver
» See full cast & crew
Lone Wolf McQuade Blu-ray Review
The sweaty, cornball '80s action flick at its ridiculous best.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, August 21, 2012
Ten years before Chuck Norris donned a duster, black hat, and silver star badge for TV's Walker, Texas Ranger, he played a similar north-of- the-border lawman in Lone Wolf McQuade, a thick slice of '80s action movie cheese. I say that with all possible fondness. In terms of over-the- top, so-dated-it's-hilarious enjoyment, the film is actually one of Norris' best, rife with campy dialogue, martial arts absurdity, and more glistening sweat than a Finnish sauna. If you're anything like me, this is the sort of mindless action fun you'd watch with your dad as a kid on a Sunday afternoon. You'd be channel surfing on the couch, flipping through, and when Norris would appear—hair limp, face grimy, busting some serious chops—you'd put down the remote and settle in, maybe slinging a few Mystery Science Theater-style comments at the television during the more ridiculous scenes. Nowadays—and I realize I'm sounding like a grumpy old man here—low-budget action movies are so ironic and winking and self-aware. In comparison, there's something guileless and loveably pure about Lone Wolf McQuade. It's hokey and laughable, but it's completely earnest.
Norris plays J.J. McQuade, a renegade Texas Ranger who—as you might gather from his lupine nickname—prefers to work and live alone. On friendly terms with his divorced wife and teenaged daughter, he squats by himself in a ramshackle house decorated with guns and American flags and mounds of trash. When the film opens, he's using the scope of his rifle to spy on a Mexican gang that's just rustled up a herd of mustangs and disarmed a group of local police in a canyon below. McQuade saunters up over the ridge like a boss, silhouetted against the sun, and basically intimidates the ever- loving crap out of the bandit underlings. Approaching unarmed, he quickly cracks some skulls, grabs an uzi, and spins around in a circle while spitting hot lead, mowing down the criminals and straight-up awing the rescued cops.
Badass doesn't come close to cutting it, but McQuade's by-the-book supervisor takes issue with his kill-em-all tactics and assigns him a partner —the comparatively clean-cut Kayo Ramos (Robert Beltran)—in hopes of keeping our bearded warrior in line. Yeah, good luck with that. McQuade has none of it—"Forget it kid, I work alone," he says—but obviously J.J. and Kayo are going to be best buds by the end of this thing. Also in play are FBI Special Agent Jackson (Leon Isaac Kennedy), a "candy-ass fed" McQuade initially despises, and the old coot Dakota (L.Q. Jones), a retired Ranger who hasn't quite finished kicking ass.
Scripted by H. Kaye Dyal and B.J. Nelson, Lone Wolf McQuade has the kind of meaningless action movie plot that exists to keep the excitement level ramped up. Which, under Steve Carver's direction, it generally does, mixing spaghetti western conventions, karate-chop theatrics, and buddy cop shoot-outs. At a party thrown by the sultry widow Lola Richardson (Barbara Carrera)—cue our hero's love interest—McQuade makes the tense acquaintance of her new boyfriend, Rawley Wilkes (David Carradine), a secret arms dealer and showboat martial arts expert. (The license plate on his Cadillac reads "CARATE," because, you know, it's his karate car.) Wilkes has been knocking off Army convoys in the desert and selling the stolen weaponry to the "Mexican mafia" honcho Emilio Falcon (Daniel Frishman)—a dwarf who tools around in an electric wheelchair, cackles maniacally at every opportunity—and McQuade is determined to crack the case and at least a few dozen ribs. For added impetus, Wilkes' cronies kidnap McQuade's daughter and hold her hostage at the derelict military base where Falcon keeps his armory. Will J.J. discover the location of the hidden base? Will he have a mano-a-mano showdown with the nefarious Wilkes? Will scores of nameless henchmen be dispatched with extreme prejudice along the way? Yes, yes, and hell yes.
In the grand tradition of Chuck Norris' entire B-movie filmography, this is unintentionally hilarious stuff, with stunted acting, kooky villains, and guns- a'blazin', fists-a'flyin' action set pieces. If you've seen one, you've bloody well seen them all, but let's run through a few of Lone Wolf McQuade's ridiculous particulars:
Lone Wolf McQuade Blu-ray, Video Quality
Looking better than it ever has on home video, Lone Wolf McQuade lopes onto Blu-ray with a faithful 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer that's framed in the proper 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Shot on a grainy 35mm stock with soft spherical lenses, the film ain't exactly eye candy, but the high definition upgrade definitely bring out the best in the picture. MGM's print is practically spotless, with no white specks or scratches, and the image is untouched by digital noise reduction, excessive edge enhancement, or other unnecessary additions. No blatant compression issues either, though the movie sits on a single-layer disc. While the film is far from razor-sharp, there's quite a bit of newfound detail to be noticed, especially if you've only ever seen McQuade on VHS or DVD. Closeups are especially improved, with finer textures and as clean of lines as the film's chunky grain structure allows. Color seems natural—there's been no egregious oversaturation here—and the picture has a good density, with punchy reds and oranges, rich neutrals, and balanced skin tones. Black levels are a bit hazy at times—and crush a bit during others—but in general the contrast seems strong. Not bad at all.
Lone Wolf McQuade Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Like the other films in MGM's recent spate of Chuck Norris releases, Lone Wolf McQuade arrives on Blu-ray with a true-to-source DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track. Given the sheer amount of sonic badassery that goes on in the film—explosions, machine gun bursts, body blows—it's unfortunate that we couldn't have also been given an upgraded 5.1 mix. That said, when you think "B-level '80s action move," you also tend to think "single channel audio," so I'm fine with this mono track. Dynamics are obviously limited, and the effects seem a bit canned at times, but everything sounds as it should. The most notable element of the mix is the Morricone-inspired score by Francesco De Masi, which mixes western orchestral motifs with wobbly synthesizers. Dialogue throughout is clear and easy to understand, and the disc includes a number of dub and subtitle options.
Lone Wolf McQuade Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The lone supplement on the disc is the film's theatrical trailer, in high definition.
Lone Wolf McQuade Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Though it isn't saying much, Lone Wolf McQuade is one of Chuck Norris' best beat-em-up/shoot-em-ups, a hybrid western/martial arts action movie that's over-the-top in all the right ways. No one's gonna mistake this one for No Country for Old Men, but it's goofy fun and it hits the spot if you're nostalgic for '80s cheese. MGM's Blu-ray release is bare-boned, with only a trailer in the "extras" tab, but the film certainly looks better here than it ever has on home video. Is it worth the cost of the upgrade for Chuck Norris fans? Probably. All others would best be served adding Lone Wolf McQuade to their Netflix queues.
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