The Chuck Norris action vehicle Lone Wolf McQuade immediately signifies its intent with an opening credit sequence that highlights the sub-Morricone music of Francesco De Masi. We are firmly in the territory of the modern day spaghetti western pastiche. In the early moments the film seems at pains to emphasise its status as a contemporary western. We have a group of modern day Mexican bandits horse rustling, we have plentiful shots of the wide open expanse of the dusty Texan landscape, and repeated close ups of Norris’ eyes and grim expression. If this isn’t enough we also get a musical fanfare when Norris reveals the badge on his chest that signifies he is a Texas Ranger. This action sequence is entirely constructed around the need to establish the tough guy credentials of J. J. McQuade. One would have thought the casting of Norris was enough, but the film is determined to avoid the cinematic shorthand his iconic presence signifies. In one fell swoop the opening action set piece establishes McQuade’s exceptional marksmanship, incredible martial arts skills, his status as a rebellious loner, and the incompetence of his fellow rangers. With every facet of McQuade’s character established in under eight minutes of screen time, director Steve Carver can get on with the job of stringing together an absurd, but oddly enjoyable narrative.
© Shaun Anderson 2011
Review requested by Greg Stuart Smith.