Yesterday I blogged a review about the 1986 movie Firewalker, and by merely referencing one of its few action scenes, I now feel as if I've shortchanged what had become a minor staple of heyday Chuck Norris features: the Chuck Norris bar fight. The logic behind this recurring set-piece is fairly simple, in that Cannon Films seldom had the greenback to produce high-end spectacle at every turn coupled with the fact that martial arts melee offered sustainable action-movie protein at minimal cost. As archaic as it may seem now, there was a time when certain audience demographics wholesale would pay ticket prices simply to watch Chuck Norris do karate.
To understand, food or drinking establishments can be easily acquired by plots to provide a concentration of asshole patrons eager to walk or charge in-turn towards a one-man whirlwind of fist and boot. Therefore a typical Cannon Films factory script would insert said scenario into whatever the Chuck Norris narrative. Seriously. If they had made a movie with Chuck Norris stranded on Mars, the probability nonetheless remains high that he would've manage to stroll into a dingy roadhouse of hick denizens or burly bikers before closing credits.
Firewalker is no exception.
It's not that Norris is some kind of bully. He's a nice guy, honest. He, buddy Lou Goss' and their recently obtained lady client are just visiting the local speakeasy to share in some refreshments and maybe pickup a little info that could help find their way through rural Mexico. See? No problem. Perfectly harmless. But then spacetime happens, and Chuck is once again forced to negotiate the non-negotiable the only way he knows how, by administering the proper etiquette:
But wait, I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. Let's go back and assess these chain of events objectively, starting with the point of entry. For reasons I can only surmise involve a collective contempt regarding the local failing farming industry, the three jerk-faces below vent their frustrations by denying Chuck 'n' company access to their bar; a problem Chuck solves rather succinctly using the coin toss technique:
Okay, so, maybe that was all just a random phenomenon; the rest of the evening to be cordial. And for the first few minutes everything indeed seems fine. Lou Goss' scouts for directions while Chuck and his lady friend make small-talk. When initial querying proves fruitless, Chuck takes things up another level (literally) by standing on his chair and waving some money around for anyone willing to divulge.
Parading cold cash before a barroom of strangers might seem ill-advised but, again, Chuck is a gentle soul who only assumes the best in people. Anyhow, it works and they get the scoop they're looking for.
Smooth sailing, right? Cue stock comical about-face:
Lou Goss' intervenes to pacify the situation but, alas, to no avail:
Chuck has to step in to put the big guy to bed.
But then some goons manhandle Chuck's lady friend and that's when the whole thing turns south.
The following is, amongst other things, a visual rundown of balsawood props and sugar glass laid to waste by a mildly aggravated Chuck Norris:
A couple of first-person POVs.
Another blurred kick. Chuck Norris barely registers on film. 48fps required.
Then some vaquero charges in only to be met with a Chuck Norris 'Attack Face'.
Note that said 'Attack Face' is of such magnitude that it warps the film's internal reality, thereby causing severe frame distortion:
Chuck punches one guy into a coma-state whilst kicking another out the window:
Pause for coffee break.
Note the flexibility of Chuck's safari jacket. This is important.
More economizing. Three birds with one stone.
The eye of the storm.
A little hard to make out, but Chuck is kicking his last victim through a gazebo:
Once conclude, the band commences and Chuck surveys the damage with satisfaction.
Chuck Norris walks out of a bar...