Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Treasure Maps” with a minor in “Roundhouse Kicks”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week Supercult grows a manly mustache and starts some barfights! It’s Firewalker!
Max Donigan and his friend Leo Porter are soldiers of fortune with very little fortune to show for all their soldiering. Things are looking grim for the pair until a “fruitcake girl” by the name of Patricia Goodwin hires them to lead her safely to the lost treasure of the Firewalker! Max and Leo must fight their way through mercenary soldiers, Indians, rebel troops, crazed would-be dictators and even a man named ‘Cyclops’ to secure their fortunes! It’s time to cash-in on high adventure, Supercultists! Chuck Norris stars in, Firewalker!
Released in 1986, Firewalker is an action/adventure/comedy with polarizing reviews.
Imagine if you took a classic Indiana Jones movie and scraped away all the magic, humor, and swash buckling adventure. What you’d be left with would still be better than Firewalker, because at least it would have Harrison Ford. Roger Ebert recommends playing the Continuity game with this one: “Continuity is a game you play only during a movie that gives you little else to think about.” For example: the antagonist ‘Cyclops’, so named because he (you guessed it!) wears an eye-patch, begins the film with his patch on the right eye and is later seen with the patch on his left.
Firewalker is notable for including a scene in which the mustachioed Chuck Norris single-handedly beats the tar out of every male customer in a Mexican bar, destroying the bar in the process. He is also seen roundhouse kicking people while wearing a priest uniform. So be sure to cross that sight off your bucket list when the time comes. Norris’ character in the film is also known for being absolutely incapable of properly using a firearm. This of course means that Chuck Norris almost always resorts to punching his problems rather than shooting at them, which is all right with us.
Firewalker stars Melody Anderson, the same damsel who played Dale Arden in Flash Gordon(1980), as Patricia Goodwin, academy award winner Louis Gossett Jr. as Leo Porter, and three time BMI TV Music Award Winner Chuck Norris. Interestingly enough Louis Gossett Jr. and Chuck Norris’ stars on the Hollywood walk of fame are right next to each other…so there’s that.
The director J. Lee Thompson, who died in 2002 had a fantastic career throughout the 60’s, reaching his peak with the critically acclaimed “The Guns of Navarone”, the highest grossing British film at the time, which earned him an Oscar Nomination for best director and later the equally acclaimed “Cape Fear”. For some reason, however his work declined in the late 70’s and 80’s.
In a biography of Thompson, in a section tellingly titled “No Regrets?” Steve Chibnall writes,
“As British cinema hit rock bottom in the early 1980s the director it had so successfully groomed turned finally away and concentrated his talents on a succession of tough guy thrillers with Charles Bronson…in between, he found time for a couple of Indiana Jones-inspired adventure yarns – King Solomon’s Mines (1981) and Firewalker (1986) – a psycho-thriller, Happy Birthday to Me (1981), and his most critically well recieved film of the 1980s, The Ambassador (1984)…Although the films showed a high level of competence and the odd flash of inspiration, overall they were a disappointing coda to a career which had so quickly risen to distinction.”
In less florid terms, Supercultists, Thompson was a victim of the times. He spent his glory days directing the best of the best in Europe and when the market dried up, he cashed in on that well earned reputation and gently wafted into obscurity. Thompson spent his later years directing nothing but the type of low-brow, low-budget, low-art Hollywood trash that only an audience like ours can call ‘classic’ with absolute sincerity.
Firewalker has no critical reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but has a solid 31% audience score and a 4.9 on IMDB. Roger Ebert gave Firewalker 1 out of 4 stars saying,
“Where to start with this movie? Where to end? Even more to the point, in which order to show the reels?…This time [J. Lee Thompson] has directed by rote, failing his actors by letting them appear blasé in the moments when they should be excited, and, even worse, excited when they should be blasé …Consumer note: Nobody walks on fire in this movie.”
But let’s forget all that and go to an equally acclaimed critic, IMDB user illegal_alien51, who writes,
“It is not so much about having a mission and being unbeatable and hard as iron on your way to your goal. It is rather about not being sure how, but going there anyway without even really being prepared for it…No, for gods sake, don’t take it seriously, just turn off your sensors and let it fill your brain with all the nonsense, the many very nice humorous scenes, the sometimes flat but charming dialog, the playfulness and the situations where the heroes are in trouble but where you know they’re gonna make it even though they are a bit stupid…Grab a beer, lay back, and enjoy this confused but very entertaining ride!”
Well said illegal_alien51…well said.
The Supercult show is proud to present, Firewalker!