Welcome to FOOT FIST FRIDAYS! A weekly dose of fight action where the Action-Flix.com experts share their thoughts on some of the greatest scenes of fisticuffs in action cinema history!
This week, John M Jerva serves up a nostalgic piece of kick ass 80’s fisticuffs with the climatic desert brawl between Chuck Norris and David Carradine in Lone Wolf McQuade!
Back in 1983, I was a wee little 10 year old living in Mentor, Ohio where I grew up and was just starting to get into all things action. Back then cable was beginning to make its big debut and with it the first premium channel was released as HBO hit the airwaves. It was that new and flourishing movie channel that introduced me to the man, the myth, the legend and the icon that is Chuck Norris. The movie was Lone Wolf McQuade and from the first viewing on a fateful Saturday night, I was a full time Norris fanatic through and through.
Lone Wolf McQuade was my first introduction to Chuck and I have to say that it left one hell of an impression on me as I proceeded to watch the film multiple times when it was showing on the cable network. The film was a kick ass blend of ferocious firepower and extreme fisticuffs as Norris ruled the screen with his patented Martial Arts moves that were realistic and brutal. The man just radiated coolness and he was the unstoppable hero that always won the fight.
Norris played the iconic lone wolf Texas Ranger J.J. McQuade who becomes embroiled in an all out war with a sinister arms dealer played by David Carradine and the two were on a collision course of epic and Earth shattering proportions that would culminate in one of the most legendary scenes of empty handed combat in action movie history. The film had multiple awesome action set pieces throughout but it was that one final fight between these two martial arts legends that would forever cement this film in action movie history as the pinnacle of Kumite greatness.
The scene is stellar for so many reasons and a large part of that has to be the choreography as both men give as good as they get and the classic music that is nothing short of epic just enhances the scene even more. There is nothing overly fancy about the fight but it is simple and gritty in its execution and both men get to display the moves they are known for and the iconic slo-mo jump sidekick money shot from Norris complete with roaring scream is one that I have rewound many of times. The sound effects of the hits too are spectacular and they give the scene and each of these warriors’ moves that much more bang for the buck. This is the perfect example of the icing on the cake of an already fabulous action film.
Interestingly enough, it is rumored that Carradine was going too hard with some of his moves and when Norris warned him, he let Carradine know about it by returning the favor. When Norris was asked about Carradine’s expertise as a martial artist, he famously replied, “David Carradine is every bit as good a martial artist as I am an actor.” That’s pretty brutally honest if you ask me. Carradine did write in a book later on that he and Norris never touched each other during that unforgettable brawl.
Another great tidbit is that Carradine had it written into his contact that he could not lose in a hand to hand combat fight so that is why the fight ends in a draw even though he gets hit last by Norris and the fight clearly has been decided and his character of Rawley Wilkes is killed by a grenade thrown by Norris.
This is the film and the fight for that matter that drew me into the martial arts and I have always credited Chuck Norris with being the one person who got me invested into the arts. Lone Wolf McQuade is one of my all time favorite Chuck Norris flicks and it is second to ony The Delta Force which I will talk about another time on this site.
Now behold down below, the classic scene in question and partake in its sheer awesomeness as this scene is a constant reminder of why we all love action films. Long Live Lone Wolf McQuade!