Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Walker Texas Ranger: One Riot, One Ranger


Directed by: Virgil W. Vogel
Written by: Louise McCarn
Starring: Chuck Norris, Clarence Gilyard Jr, Gailard Sartain, Marshal Teague

Good old Chuck. Not only did he fight Bruce Lee, went Missing in Action and headed up The Delta Force he was also freaking Walker: Texas Ranger. The long running 1990s action TV show saw the bearded one take his awesomeness to prime time television to dispense justice Southern style. Cheesy as all get up but action packed, Walker: Texas Ranger took everything that was amazing about Norris (his round-housing, his beard, his penchant for making everyone around him look like a wimpy dumbass) from his movies and served it up on a weekly basis. In Texas with a stetson.

One Riot, One Ranger was the very first time Norris stepped into Walker's tight jeans, a TV-movie pilot that is still surprisingly watchable. A little slicker and more punchy than the subsequent TV show, One Riot, One Ranger sets up Walker as the badass ranger he is (i.e. Norris being Norris) introduces him to his new partner (Gilyard Jr) who would remain with him throughout the TV series, his lady squeeze and various other characters who would also pop in and out of the series. In this surprisingly action packed pilot Walker goes up against a gang of bank robbers, led by the always awesome Marshall Teague (Roadhouse, US Seals 2). This all leads to a surprisingly well done and gun blazing finale where the robbers try to rob four banks at once. Woops, guess they didn't realise Walker was a Ranger in Texas and that robbing anything or committing any kind of crime in that state would end in failure and a roundhouse to the face. Which it does.

Norris gets a bit of acting in as well, where he gets a nice long monologue talking about what happened to his family, rides bulls (for some inexplicable reason), cracks wise and pretty much everyone around him thinks he is amazing and hangs on his every word. I imagine this is pretty much what it is like in Norris' real life. Also everyone, and I mean everyone, wears a stetson at some point (just so you know they are in Texas!). Well, not the bad guys, they're not allowed as they are, well, bad and wouldn't be given anything as cool as a stetson. Still, most of this film's budget must have gone on the hats.

The action is pretty good and there is a fair bit of it for a TV movie and while Walker: Texas Ranger is always open to ridicule it was often (for some reason I still can't quite fathom) oddly entertaining. One Riot, One Ranger was a pretty good start for the bearded Texan and was from a time when TV movies and their following TV shows weren't afraid to roundhouse people in the face in the name of entertainment. Take that CSI!


Direct to Video Connoisseur said...

I haven't seen this in forever. My memories of the show I think come more from the later seasons, where by then it had devolved into a mess culminating in another TV movie where Chuck Norris was defending our national security from North Korean spies. Those early years were a lot of fun though, I should probably check them out again.

drive2 said...

yeah, i hadn't seen the show in years. found this on vhs and thought i'd give it a watch for nostalgia and comedy reasons. But it was pretty good for what it was and the show should have just stuck to the format of good old boys dishing out justice to drug dealers, gun runners and various other low life's instead of all the absurdness it went with in later series...