From humble roots in the dust bowl of Oklahoma, Carlos Ray Norris took his post Korean war-era stint in the Air Force and turned it into what became a black belt in three separate disciplines (Korean karate, Brazilian jiu jitsu and judo) and international karate championships, where he met and trained further with the man, the myth: Bruce Lee.
Tapped by Lee for his Way (nee Return) of the Dragon, he shortly found his way into film, starting with the trucker and CB craze hicksploiter Breaker! Breaker! and parlaying his success into a chain of strikingly unique and philosophical karate-based action films: Good Guys Wear Black, A Force of One, An Eye for an Eye and Forced Vengeance.
He single handedly kicked off the international ninja craze of the 80's with The Octagon and crossed over into the contemporaneous mania for slasher films with the strikingly bizarre Silent Rage, before signing up with the legendary Cannon Films, where he shifted into a strangely jingoistic run of over the top oddities like Lone Wolf McQuade, the Missing in Action films and the Delta Force series...not to mention the deliriously hilarious action/paranoia flick Invasion USA.
Peppering this run with a few attempts at a broader acceptance (cop potboiler Code of Silence, likeable Indiana Jones knockoff Firewalker and minimalist Silent Rage throwback Hero and the Terror...even the weird cartoon iteration, Chuck Norris' Karate Kommandos!), Norris would give himself over to the televised cheese of Walker, Texas Ranger and a decade or more hucking home fitness equipment before turning into a tongue in cheek all powerful meme in the internet age...
Join us as we contemplate the uniquely introspective and philosophic early films...and over the top right wing cheese that came thereafter! of the man who can apparently do anything, the inimitable Chuck Norris!
Week 68: You’re Simply Not Tough Enough for This Show: The films of Chuck Norris