Bad Movie Review: Firewalker

Films in the 80’s are a whole different kind of breed of cinema.  There’s just something about the films of the time that makes you instantly know it’s from the 80s. The 80’s had some great films: Indiana Jones, Empire Strikes Back, Back to the Future, the list goes on. But there were also some terrible films in the 80’s.  Now I would consider myself to be a halfway decent movie buff. I’ve seen lots of movies both good and bad. But every once in a while a film comes along that is so bad and so cheesy and so poorly executed that it becomes a masterpiece of failure. Something so bad that it’s fantastic and entertaining all at the same time. And one such film is Firewalker.

Firewalker stars Chuck Norris and Louis Gossett Jr as treasure hunters/friends/bickering old couple Max Donigan and Leo Porter. From the get-go it becomes apparent that Norris is supposed to be the Indiana Jones character of the film. Indiana Jones is a lot of things: tough, intelligent, charming, resourceful, funny, and inspiringly heroic yet still relatable. Norris is tough, knows kung-fu and thats about it. The other parts just come off as laughably bad or hilariously awkward. As far as the charming ladies man character trait goes, calling the eventual love interest “that fruitcake girl” is not the way to win over her heart, but somehow Norris still manages to get the chick. The plot is as predictable as it is laughably executed. They are looking for a lost treasure and an ancient medicine man named El Coyote (the coyote for all you non-spanish speakers) a villain who uses his magic to stop them so he can use the treasure to become an immortal sun god or something. El Coyote is a bad dude, or at least the movie wants you to believe it.

His father was an Indian and his mother was a pirate sorcerer.
There are certain things that this film does that just defy all logic and explanation:
  1. There is a villain introduced at the beginning of the film that you would believe to be the films main antagonist, except he is abandoned and never mentioned again till seriously right before the credits. Its baffling.
  2. El Coyote’s eyepatch changes eyes throughout the movie. I’m not kidding.
  3. Norris’ character is a monster of fighting but yet he can’t shoot a gun to save his life. It’s supposed to be a funny gag, but its more confusing than anything. How can someone in a field as dangerous as his with the fighting skills that he has NOT know how to shoot a gun?
  4. Mr. Pit from Seinfeld makes an appearance.
  5. They go visit a “good” Indian witch doctor named Tall Eagle (sure it took a long time for the writers to come up with that). They walk into his crummy shack in the middle of the dessert and he’s watching I Love Lucy. The TV is not plugged into anything. Then to top it all off the gift they give him in exchange for information is alcohol. Good job.
  6. There’s an indian chant-off between Tall Eagle and El Coyote. Its hilarious.
  7. Gimli from the Lord of the Rings randomly shows up as a jolly dictator who lives with an army in the jungle.
Now there are some pretty awesome parts of the film:

The bar fight. Things get out of hand in a Mexican bar and of course, Chuck has to create thousands of dollars in property damage. Things broken: 1 door, 2 windows, 1 bar, 7 tables. Also the heart of every woman within 25 miles

Chuck Norris dressed up as a priest. He then proceeds to smoke, drink, make jokes about virginity and eventually roundhouse kick someone in the face.

Voted “Most Hardcore Clergy” by the Vatican in 1987

This moment in particular.

Overall this is a movie that you have to go into knowing its going to be terrible. If you accept that and just watch it to be entertained, oh you certainly will be. Having a great group of friends around to watch it and riff on it with you makes it all the more entertaining.  If you’re a Chuck Norris fan of any kind you must see this movie. On the Cheese Scale I give it 3 and a half stars. On the Serious Cinema Scale I give it a 1. On the So Bad It’s Good Entertainment Scale I give it 4 stars. Go watch it and prepare to laugh.
Random Thought of the Day
If by some miracle I ever got to meet Chuck Norris I would tell him this is my favorite film of his. His reaction alone would be priceless. It would be even more priceless if I made it out of there without a kick to the face.

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