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DVD Review: ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ S4
Socrates   |  

Walker, Texas Ranger Season 4 DVDWalker, Texas Ranger
The Fourth Season
Starring Chuck Norris, Clarence Gilyard, Jr., Sheree J. Wilson, Noble Willingham
Paramount Home Video
Available Feb. 19, 2008

I’m sure that some out there might disagree, but I find it difficult to not like Chuck Norris. Or maybe I mean Cordell Walker. At any rate, certainly Chuck Norris as Cordell Walker.

Cordell Walker is a fictional Texas Ranger. The very one that the title of the 1993–2001 CBS television series Walker, Texas Ranger refers to. Walker does not belong to the baseball-playing variety of Texas Ranger. Rather, he belongs to a like-named law enforcement agency that is a division of the Texas Department of Public Safety. Film legend Chuck Norris plays Walker. Rounding out the show’s cast are Clarence Gilyard, Jr. (as ranger James “Jimmy” Trivett, Walker’s crime-fighting colleague and, essentially, right-hand man), Dallas alumna Sheree J. Wilson (as Assistant District Attorney Alex Cahill), and Noble Willingham (as bar owner C.D. Parker).

I remember various action movies in which Chuck Norris starred back in the late 1970s and 1980s. I don’t think I actually saw any of them in theaters, I mainly rented them after they came out on VHS. In those times, there were a whole lot of Golan and Globus–style action stars to choose from when you arrived at the video store. And each of them had one or more “main” movies that had a long list of sequels, the plots of which seemed to get progressively worse and more ridiculous, but for some strange reason, you’d always rent the next one anyway. There was Sylvester Stallone as Rambo, Charles Bronson in an endless series of Death Wish (and Death Wish-type) flicks, Clint Eastwood in a bunch of Dirty Harry (and Dirty Harry–type) movies, and a little later, guys like Jean-Claude Van Damme, Bruce Willis, and Steven Seagal. Hardly missing in action, however, Chuck Norris was right at the forefront of the genre from the very beginning. I seem to recall specific scenes from his movies more than I do their titles. Like there was one scene that a junior high school friend of mine used to always recall, in which Chuck is tortured in a Vietnamese prison camp. The technique used is that the sadistic camp leader ties a heavy cloth bag over Chuck’s head, but not before annoying the shit out of a large rat and throwing it into the bag to keep Chuck’s head company. Chuck is then hanged upside down and his body convulses for a few minutes, presumably from the hijinks going on with the rat. Then he suddenly goes motionless. When the evil-doers remove the bag from his head, we horrified audience members discover that Chuck has eaten the rat. Or, at least, we see that a motionless half of the rat (the half with the tail) is sticking out of Chuck’s mouth. Now, that’s a badass.

Fast-forward about eleven years to 1995, which is where Walker, Texas Ranger: The Fourth Season picks up. By this point, Chuck was about fifty-five years old, and looked even cooler than he did in the 1980s. The law enforcement officer that he plays in this long-running series seems to be basically an amalgam and refinement of the various movie action heroes that he played up until then (all of whom can reasonably be said to occasionally be hard to differentiate from Norris himself). The thing about Walker, though, is that he’s definitely more geared toward family entertainment. Indeed, although he kicks someone’s ass approximately every seven minutes per episode, he does so only when it’s necessary, and he usually politely warns a given bad guy that he’s about to get his ass kicked. If that doesn’t work, he often proceeds to apply extreme pressure to a sensitive area of one of said bad guy’s hands, to the point where the bad guy kneels in submission. Unfortunately, the resulting humiliation never quite seems to deter these hombres (who are generally more physically imposing than Walker) from attempting, immediately after regaining their respective malevolent composures, to, uh, set the otherwise mild-mannered Texas ranger straight. And that’s when Walker starts kicking ass. He also kicks a lot of face, sternum, and rectus abdominus. Sometimes in slow motion, no less.

The extras-less seven DVDs of Walker, Texas Ranger: The Fourth Season contain the only episodes of the show that I’ve ever seen, but each one is an out-and-out winner. If you like stories where the good guy always wins and wears a cowboy hat and justice is always served, this is the show for you. It’s sort of like Little House on the Prairie, only with more martial arts and no Albert. In the Fourth Season, Walker takes on all kinds of villains, ranging from South American drug lords, to steroids-dealing gym owners, to truck hijackers, to serial rapists, to vigilante police officers, to maniacal ex-husbands. One of his more memorable Fourth Season adversaries even blows up Walker’s pickup truck (with Walker in it), using a state-of-the-art military helicopter. In true action-hero fashion, Walker shrugs off the explosion, limps out of the fiery wreck, and proceeds to kick the helicopter pilot’s ass. It so happens that this particular bad guy is an old arch-nemesis of Walker’s (or Braddock’s?) from Vietnam, so in a rare moment of extra-violent violence, Walker plunges a laughably oversized, ultra-shiny hunting knife right out of Soldier of Fortune magazine into the bad dude’s chest.

But we don’t see any blood. Nor do we hear any curse words or see any sexually explicit scenes in these twenty-seven episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger. As I said, this is family entertainment.

1 Comment »

  1. walker and trivett are the best and kinda cute

    Comment by maria — November 25, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

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