1986 / Director. J Lee Thompson.
Following RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK the 80s was chock-full of imitators. When I was a kid and too naive to understand the meanings of derivative and plagiarised I lapped them all up. Action movies were action movies and I would get adventure however it came. I relished movies like ROMANCING THE STONE, SKY PIRATES, ALLAN QUARTERMAIN and HIGH ROAD TO CHINA... and of course there was FIREWALKER, starring Chuck Norris and Lou Gossett. To adult eyes this is a lame, second-rate, B-movie... but to child eyes it's an exciting and funny adventure. I vividly remember the thrill of watching this movie as a kid and I carry that with me now when I watch it again. Chuck and Lou play two treasure hunters who are enlisted by a young woman to search for a fortune of gold hidden deep in the South American jungles. It's typical formula and no need to say more. Of all the Indiana Jones clones this, along with KING SOLOMON'S MINES, is a bottom-dweller. Most of it looks shoddy and just about all of the "exterior" shots are filmed on stages. Cave walls look like badly carved styrofoam, jungle settings look like Chris & Marie's Plant Farm and treturous rivers feel like close ups of a muddied kids pool. The dialogue is terrible and the action is lame. But like I said, I watch the movie with my 10 year old self in mind. It also helped that I had my 12 year old son beside me recently and he reacted to it as I had in the 80s. It's hard to not love Chuck Norris and in FIREWALKER he's as cheesy as ever. In it he fancies himself a funny guy, always on the look for cheap laughs. Lots of cheesy grins, fumbled antics and pathetic one-liners... and all the while he's still Chuck Norris, kicking ass, smashing faces and taking out dozens of bad guys with swift blows. There is no question that FIREWALKER is a peice of shit... but it's an 80s piece of shit that holds a place in my heart. Very cool poster art and as with any worthy RAIDERS rip-off, it's not without the mandatory appearance of John Rhys-Davies.