Picks and Pans Review: Lone Wolf Mcquade

updated 05/09/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/09/1983 AT 01:00 AM EDT

To call this the best film martial artist-actor Chuck Norris has made should not mean that any of the 1983 Oscars are sewed up. Let's not forget his standards were set by such movies as The Octagon and Good Guys Wear Black. But this one is far more elaborately plotted, by writer B.J. Nelson, and well directed, by Steve Carver. The title character is a maverick Texas Ranger who is so gung ho about kung fu that his superior takes him off the Big Case: going after David Carradine, who is similarly kung-gung, but deals arms to "terrorists and stuff." Thrown in are a subplot about Norris' kidnapped daughter; a dwarf in a wheelchair (Daniel Frishman); the stunning Barbara Carrera, who gets her kicks from both kung fu men; an amusing Tex-Mex Ranger pal (Robert Beltran); some crisp combat scenes; and a slow-motion love scene finishing in a puddle with Norris caressing Carrera and Carrera caressing a garden hose. You may not leave the theater humming Chuckle's in Love, but it's nice for once to see Norris end up with something other than a mangled body to keep him company. Best scene is the one in which Norris, buried alive in his hyper-souped Land-Rover, drives right out of his shallow grave. It's straight from Night of the Living Die-Hard. (PG)

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