Picks and Pans Review: Firewalker
Sometimes you are just in the mood for one of those generic frozen-chicken pot pies-easy, comfortable, just the right amount of sustenance. Sometimes you are just in the mood for a movie like this pointless, artless and mostly witless adventure spoof. What saves it are three casually winning performances by Chuck Norris, Lou Gossett Jr. and Melody Anderson. Norris, the martial arts movie hero, does not make much of a leading man. He looks and sounds a lot like Sonny Bono for one thing. He is also so small that Gossett towers over him in physical stature as well as acting ability. Norris seems so amiable and unpretentious, though, that it's easy to like him. He and Gossett play a couple of hapless treasure seekers who end up in a Central American jungle with Anderson and her map showing the location of a cache of Aztec gold. Gossett is always a substantial presence and never tosses off even the lamest of lines (and he had plenty of chances), so the banter between him and Norris seems quite engaging. Anderson, whose TV credits include Manimal and Police Woman Centerfold, puts so much spirit into her role of a not-so-dumb blonde that she makes an entertaining something out of nothing too. First time screenwriter Robert Gosnell's script is full of lifeless lines like, "If we keep sticking our necks out, somebody is going to chop off our heads." The whole production, directed by J. Lee (Murphy's Law) Thompson, has a very low-tech look that extends down to what seems a light bulb shortage; the screen is dim most of the time. Even Anderson, Gossett and Norris can't strike up enough interest to make things more than mildly diverting. Considering the material, however, that is quite an accomplishment. (PG)
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