During the early 70’s a craze swept across the Western world causing young men to kick and punch each other in stylised movements that were apparently styled on the movements of certain animals. The Tiger, the Mantis and the Crane were being practiced with all the grace of a jitterbugging hippo.
It was called Kung Fu and it was everywhere.
“Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”
– Bruce Lee.
Cinemas in those days used to show two films. One would be the main feature and the other some B film barely related to the main subject matter.
But for some reason the Kung Fu craze gave us two martial arts films!
Usually a badly dubbed one called something like “The five fingers of Feng shui!” where Shaolin Monks could leap high in the air and deliver a disemboweling blow as they crossed each other.
But amidst all this lip syncing tomfoolery a few gems stood out. One of those was Bruce Lee and he would beget the legend that was Carlos Ray ‘Chuck’ Norris.
The movie audience first saw Chuck as he fought leading legend Bruce Lee in The Way of the Dragon. In the film Chuck played the bad guy who is sent to kill Lee in a hand to hand fight against the backdrop of the Colosseum.
Modern gladiators battling it out using their hands and feet rather than Gladius and Trident. Needless to say in this instance Norris gets his hairy ass kicked!
It was to be the last time though as Chuck went on the rampage as a leading man flexing his Karate muscles as six times world champion in a series of martial arts movies where he inevitably played a lone maverick cop… mostly.
Films such as Slaughter in San Francisco, A Force of One and Good Guys Wear Black gave Chuck the chance to improve on his once wooden acting technique. As the films came thick and fast Chuck became more accomplished he became more prolific.
The Martial arts craze was in full swing and the American movie industry had found its hero, okay so he wasn’t the most handsome leading man but he was surely the toughest!
“Chuck Norris once slapped a criminal ten blocks away, giving birth to the saying Long arm of the law”
Many fights with Ninjas, soldiers and criminals later, and as the Kung Fu craze waned a little, an author called David Morell had written a book in 1972 called First Blood. Ten years later it would be made into a blockbuster film which led to Rambo First Blood part 2, which was preceded by Chuck becoming Braddock the star of Missing in Action. This came out in 1984 while Rambo 2 in 1985.
Coincidentally both had the same subject matter: Missing Vietnam vets, American soldiers believed to be the hostages of the Vietnam Army in secret jungle hideouts.
One was Hollywood slick and one wasn’t but both were about as good or bad as each other. Unless you were a die hard Chuck Norris fan.
Never, ever name a hurricane… Chuck Norris.
Over the years Chuck has garnered a large faithful following that even with his stinkers: Sidekicks, Top Dog and Forest Warrior (plus a few others) has grown little Chuck into the stuff of legends.
Lone Wolf McQuade is generally seen as his best film this led to The Walker Texas Ranger series on TV and it easily transitioned into the small screen.
It became a smash hit.
From September 1993 to May 2001 Chuck was kicking asses on the small silver screen, the only law being a reverse roundhouse!
A movie spinoff Trial by fire in 2005, four years after the TV series ended, did little to reignite franchise.
While Chuck still had a cult following the type of series and films he had made were becoming less popular as bigger, more expensive and massive blockbuster films ruled.
While Chuck was definitely not expendable he did a guest stint in one of the Expendables series of movies that seemed to collect the old tough guys and mix them with the next generation. Stars like Stallone and Schwarzenegger meet Statham, Li and even hot MMA fighter Ronda Rousey.
Like Chuck the Expendable movies are a cliche, a dinosaur that shouldn’t exist in today’s movie market. But they do and like Chuck this sort of forgotten bash em up style still pops up and surprises us with a punch in the face.
Chuck himself is a devout Christian, has been married twice and is a genuine chap.
I imagine he would chuckle at all the stuff that come with his legendary status.
“Chuck Norris was once bitten by a cobra. After five days of agonizing pain, the cobra finally died.”
A website known as Chuck Norris Facts has been created as a parody of his career, containing hundreds of absurdly creative statements about his intellect, strength, virility and image, such as ‘Chuck Norris once shot down a German
fighter plane by pointing at it and yelling “Bang!”.
Chuck is not offended by the website, in fact, has said he feels honored to have a website named after him and says he laughts when he reads the facts.
A lot of stuff has been written about Chuck Norris, this is just some of it!
by Carl Bray