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The Top 5 Chuck Norris Movies

July 4, 2024 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Invasion USA Chuck Norris Image Credit: Cannon Film

The Top 5 Chuck Norris Movies

Agent Recon is a new, low-budget, sci-fi action flick written by, directed by, and starring Derek Ting. Alongside Ting, Agent Recon also features the Beastmaster hisself, Marc Singer, and the great Chuck Norris in his first movie role since 2012’s all-star ensemble action extravaganza The Expendables 2. I haven’t seen Agent Recon yet, but it’s definitely on my “to eventually see at some point” list for this year. It appears that Norris is playing some sort of alien robot, and he has to help Singer’s character and Ting’s character fight off alien robot zombies. Or something. The movie looks incredibly weird. I mean, why did Norris decide that he wanted this movie to be his cinematic comeback? And on top of that, if you look at Ting’s IMDB page, is Agent Recon meant to be a sequel to two other movies Ting also stars in, Agent (2017) and Agent Revelation (2021)? It certainly looks that way. Ting plays a character named “Jim Yung” in all three movies. How are these movies connected? Are they connected? Am I going to have to watch them before I see Agent Recon?

Am I going to have to review all three movies in The Gratuitous B-Movie Column at some point? Yes, I think I might have to at some point.

Knowing that Agent Recon is currently playing on various Video On Demand platforms, I thought it would be fun to do a Top 5 list of what I think are the Top 5 Chuck Norris movies. I’ve always been a big Chuck Norris movie fan, and I think it’s worth putting a list together of what the man’s best movies are. So that’s what I’ve done here. There will be no Honorable Mentions (I felt that if I did do Honorable Mentions for Big Chuck, this Top 5 list would have become a Top 10 list, and I didn’t want to do that).

And so, without any further what have you, here are the Top 5 Chuck Norris Movies. Enjoy.

The Top 5 Chuck Norris Movies

Image Credit: AVCO Embassy Pictures

5-An Eye for an Eye (1981): Directed by the now late but always great Steve Carver, An Eye for an Eye has Chuck as a badass cop in San Francisco, seeking revenge for the death of his partner (Bernie Lomax hisself Terry Kiser) while also taking on a big deal drug running operation run by a TV station manager played by Christopher Lee. Yes. Christopher goddamn Lee. Count Dooku. Saruman. Count Dracula. Up against Chuck Norris. That’s beyond awesome! The movie is filled with plenty of great action scenes and fight sequences, with Chuck’s Sean Kane taking on multiple henchmen, including Professor Toru Tanaka. Also appearing in An Eye for an Eye alongside Chuck, Kiser, and Christopher Lee is Shaft, John Shaft hisself Richard Roundtree, the great Mako, and Stuart Pankin. This movie used to be a staple of basic cable back in the day (I don’t know how many times I watched it on TBS back in the day. Remember when TBS used to do “No Football? No Problem!” programming blocks on the weekend, when the NFL was in that week between the end of the playoffs and the Super Bowl? An Eye for an Eye used to be a big part of that). I think it’s out of print at the moment, but it’s worth tracking down the DVD or Blu-ray that was released by Kino Lorber several years ago, as the release contains a terrific commentary track with director Carver. The movie is also on a bunch of streaming services at the moment, so be sure to check it out when you can. It’s a classic through and through.

Image Credit: Scorpion Releasing

4- Lone Wolf McQuade (1983): Also directed by Steve Carver, Lone Wolf McQuade might be Chuck’s most important movie in terms of his overall career. Why? It’s the movie that functions as the bridge between his “martial arts superstar” persona that ended with Forced Vengeance (1982) and his “mainstream action movie superstar” persona that began with Missing in Action (1984). Lone Wolf McQuade also functions as the prototype for the “mythic cowboy” persona that Chuck would later develop with his Walker, Texas Ranger TV show ten years later. In Lone Wolf McQuade, Chuck is badass Texas Ranger JJ McQuade, who, when he isn’t taking on cattle rustlers singlehandedly, he’s drinking beer, engaging in shirtless target practice in his backyard, and trying to be a good father to his teenage daughter (McQuade also seems to have a pretty good relationship with his ex-wife). McQuade eventually hooks up with a hot babe (Lola, played by Barbara Carrera) he meets at a public horse riding event, a hot babe that is also the girlfriend of charismatic criminal scumbag Rawley Wilkes (the immortal David Carradine). McQuade also has to deal with a new partner, Kayo, played by Robert Beltran, and an FBI agent played by Leon Isaac Kennedy. The great LQ Jones also shows up as McQuade’s best friend Dakota, along with William Sanderson as a criminal, and Daniel Frishman (he plays Falcon, a dwarf crime boss in a motorized wheelchair). Future horror icon Kane Hodder also has a brief moment as a Wilkes henchman. The movie is filled with plenty of great action moments (the moment where McQuade kicks down his porch in slow motion after his wolf dog is killed will live with you), a terrific score by Francesco De Masi, and a truly epic final fight between McQuade and Wilkes (the score makes this fight seem beyond epic). Lone Wolf McQuade is also the first Chuck Norris movie where Chuck sports a beard. That’s important, too. The movie still kicks ass four decades later.

Image Credit: Shout Factory

3- Invasion U.S.A. (1985): This non-stop action flick from director Joseph Zito has Chuck as Matt Hunter, a badass retired CIA agent who is called back into service after psycho Soviet monster Rostov (the great Richard Lynch in a truly demonic performance) initiates a full scale invasion of the United States by a terrorist organization that plans to kill a bunch of people, cause general social unrest, and destabilize the American government. Hunter drives around in his pickup truck, killing various bad guys while trying to find Rostov. After multiple set pieces, including once of the greatest mall attacks in motion picture history and a harrowing bomb attack on a school bus, gun battles, and gigantic explosions, the movie ends with Hunter and Rostov squaring off inside an office complex while the American military takes on Rostov’s henchmen outside. And the last sequence? Dueling rocket launcher city. Invasion U.S.A. is probably the most “Chuck Norris” movie ever made. There’s the action, the badass Matt Hunter character, the whole “Hunter wears denim and has two Uzis” thing, the scene where Rostov kills a drug runner by jamming a handgun into his pants and shooting his dick off (Rostov also rams a cocaine straw up the drug runner’s girlfriend’s nose and then throws the poor woman out a window), the suburban neighborhood attack sequence, and so many more. Chuck also co-wrote the screenplay with James Bruner. Invasion U.S.A. is just action movie awesomeness personified.

And who could ever forget the immortal badass line from Matt Hunter: “If you come back in here, I’m going to hit you with so many rights you’re going to beg for a left.” Again, action movie awesomeness.

Image Credit: Mill Creek Entertainment

2- Silent Rage (1982): Directed by Michael Miller, Silent Rage is the first of three action horror flicks that Chuck made during his career (the other two are 1988’s Hero and the Terror and 1994’s Hellbound. Some people might argue that 2003’s Bells of Innocence is also a horror movie, but I don’t agree with that. It has a few horror elements, but it’s more of a low-budget weirdo Christian movie than a horror movie). Part slasher movie, part science fiction monster movie, and part action flick, Silent Rage has Chuck as a Texas sheriff that has to take on and bring down the unkillable killer John Kirby, brilliantly played by Brian Libby. And when I say unkillable I mean Kirby can’t be killed. He can be beaten up and knocked down, but due to a sort of “healing factor” given to him through a science experiment initiated by scientists played by Ron Silver, William Finley, and Steven Keats, Kirby can’t be killed. Before any of that happens, though, Kirby has a serious mental breakdown and kills multiple people, and Chuck’s Dan Stevens has to stop him. There’s plenty of great moments of suspense, with Kirby stalking around silently, and there are moments where Kirby will just creep you the hell out. The final fight between Stevens and Kirby is one of Chuck’s best fights because there’s a sense that, even though he is Chuck Norris, Chuck might lose to the unkillable killer. The way the movie ends is fantastic and scary as hell, because, if you look down that well today, there’s a good chance that Kirby is still down there (watch the movie and you will see what I’m talking about). The movie also has a terrific theme by Peter Bernstein and Mark Goldenberg (it’s very much a riff on John Carpenter’s theme for Halloween). And how cool is this? Kent Dorfman hisself Stephen Furst is in the movie, too, as Chuck’s deputy. How goddamn brilliant is that casting? It’s too bad we never got a sequel to this.

Image Credit: Kino Lorber

1- Code of Silence (1985): Directed by Andrew Davis, Code of Silence features Chuck’s best performance as an actor. Chuck plays a badass Chicago cop that has to take down multiple criminal gangs (one of the gangs is led by the immortal Henry Silva) while also dealing with his fellow cops who don’t want him to “rat” on a piece of garbage cop. Chuck does a great job, showing that with the right story and the right director, not to mention a top notch cast of character actors that we’ve seen in numerous Andrew Davis movies that feature Chicago (if you know The Fugitive you’ll recognize multiple actors) and the presence of Silva and Dennis Farina, Chuck can act instead of just perform. I’m amazed that Chuck never got to do another movie quite like Code of Silence again, or that he didn’t get offered character parts later on. Because of Code of Silence, he could have handled it. Maybe “the people who get to decide what art is” didn’t like the whole police robot subplot? I don’t know. But Code of Silence is a real deal great movie and it’s something that you should absolutely see if you haven’t already. And you should also seek out the Code of Silence Special Edition Blu-ray from Kino Lorber, as it has a very worthwhile commentary track on it from director Davis, plus interviews with multiple people involved in the making of the movie.


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