When it comes to action film toughness it seems there is virtually no-one who can defeat the one and only Chuck Norris. Many have tried it on but instead only ended up incurring the wrath of the only man who can keep both feet on the ground and kick your butt at the same time. From his early film appearance in “Way of the Dragon” opposite Bruce Lee to his hit television series “Walker: Texas Ranger”, gun runners, drug cartels, Vietnamese prison guards and international terrorists, have all battled Norris onscreen only to be dispatched to hell in a handcart.
His illustrious career has seen him work opposite big screen icons such as Christopher Lee, Lee Marvin, David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. Off camera Norris is equally tough having served in the US Armed Forces, and in South Korea as an Air Policeman, where he learned Tang Soo Do. After serving his country, Chuck joined the competition circuit and was pitted against the likes of Joe Lewis, Skipper Mullins, and Louis Delgado.
His achievements include holding the professional Middleweight Karate Championship for six consecutive years being named the: 1969 Fighter of the Year by Black Belt Magazine, and of course developing his own martial arts system called, Chun Kuk Do.
His overall tough guy persona however is viewed by Chuck and his legions of fans with tongue firmly lodged in cheek (we hope!) giving rise to the now famous ‘Chuck Norris Facts’ (believe it or not, you can download your own official PDF copy) for example: did you know that Chuck Norris clips his toenails with a chainsaw?
Of course, there is no such thing as only a top 10 best fights in this case because every scene featuring the roughest of the tough is the best. But still at KFK we thought we’d give it a go, tirelessly racking our brains to pick some truly stand out moments that embody the action star whose roundhouse kick is rumoured to be the preferred method of execution in 16 US states. So sit back and brace yourself for the full impact of these ahem…dare we say, Top 10 Chuck Norris Movie Fight Scenes! (in descending order)
- Slaughter In San Francisco (1973) – Chuck Slaughter vs Don Wong
- Missing in Action 2: The Beginning (1985) – Colonel James Braddock vs Colonel Yin
- An Eye for an Eye (1981) – Sean Kane vs The Professor
- Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) – J.J. McQuade vs Rawley Wilkes
- Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection (1990) – Col. Scott McCoy vs Carlos (Rick Prieto)
- Walker, Texas Ranger – Fight or Die (1999) Cordell Walker vs Whitelaw Lundren
- Sidekicks (1992) – Chuck Norris vs Kelly Stone
- Delta Force 2 – Colonel Scott McCoy (Training Recruits)
- Walker, Texas Ranger – Winds of Change (2000) Walker vs Lazarus
We kick off literally with Chuck playing the bad guy (and with a name like ‘Chuck Slaughter’ what else could he be?) in this Golden Harvest production directed by Lo Wei (“Big Boss”, “Fist of Fury”). Wong Tao plays a cop looking for revenge for the death of his partner at the hands of drug dealer Slaughter (we suspect that’s Chuck’s real name). It’s rare to see Chuck play the villain and whilst there is no denying his heroic awesomeness we feel this showdown between the righteous cop and evil drug dealer attests to just how his hard guy persona and devastating skills make Chuck Norris the perfect hero AND villain.
When Chuck Norris sits in judgment after you’ve held him captive in a Vietnamese prison prepare for the punishment to be pain-ridden and final. Chuck plays Colonel James Braddock, a soldier captured in Vietnam and locked up in Colonel Yin’s (played by Soon-Tek Oh) unrelentingly brutal prison camp. Soon is eminently watchable avoiding the hammy OTT villainous cliche and letting his presence and skill do all the talking against the brow-beaten Chuck. Yet you just can’t keep our hero locked-up for long and when he finally breaks out, the result is an entertaining kick-butt court martial with Chuck dishing out some well-deserved retribution.
Essentially an unintentional re-tread of “Slaughter in San Francisco” this time Chuck is the loose cannon cop looking to avenge his partner’s death against drug lord Christopher Lee. Here Chuck battles the silent but deadly heavy-for-hire Prof. Toru Tanaka. Just when it seems like no one can take down the Professor, who better than Chuck to step in and chop down this seemingly unstoppable Goliath? Overall the film is a solid action thriller with a star cast allowing Chuck to do what he does best with kicks so powerful they sound more like laser blasters than the gristly clashing of muscle and bone.
Before taking up the role of Cordell Walker in his hit TV show, Chuck played another Texas Ranger, this time the hermit-like hard-ass J.J McQuade battling the ruthless gun runner Rawley Wilkes played by the late David Carradine. With action choreography courtesy of Chuck’s younger brother Aaron, this is a modern-day Western in every respect, complete with Sergio Leone-esque mood music, but with our two cowboys drawing fists and feet instead of guns. This is air punchingly-solid entertainment with Carradine’s sneering villain receiving his just deserts from our indestructible hero.
With brother Aaron now directing, choreography duties are in the hands of friend and student Rick Prieto, who also plays Carlos, right hand man to the evil Colombian drug lord Ramon Cota (Billy Drago). Rick, a proponent of both Tang Soo Do and Chun Kuk Do puts together a tense battle with Chuck’s Col. McCoy on a personal mission to avenge the death of his partner and his family. This explosive finale is quintessential Chuck and we get to see all the tough guy hallmarks of solid roundhouse kicks followed by equally bruising one liners as McCoy inflicts some painful lessons onto Carlos until he finally gets the point.
When “Walker, Texas Ranger” was aired in France, the French allegedly surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side, if true then surely it must’ve been this episode that did the trick. Television’s favourite Texas Ranger goes undercover in a maximum security prison to expose a brutal underground fight club. Chuck has defeated many mighty foes but none come bigger than famed wrestler ‘Macho Man’, Randy Savage. Both men move well and look in fantastic shape in this David and Goliath match up that sees Chuck use more than just muscle power to bring down this tower of a man. MMA fans in particular will enjoy this tension-filled cage fight packed with a range of techniques that typify their sport along with some gritty action adding a genuine sense of danger for our hero.
If you ever wondered what “The Karate Kid” would be like with Chuck Norris then “Sidekicks” is your answer. Bullied boy Barry (Jonathan Brandis) wants to learn martial arts to defend himself against his bullies who are students of the sadistic karate master Kelly Stone (Joe Piscopo). With the help of an old sage ‘Mr Lee’ (another brilliant performance by Mako) Barry trains for the tournament to take on his tormentors. But with Barry’s team one man down who steps in but the ultimate sidekick, Chuck Norris to save the day. The final showdown is pure fun, a battle of mullets and skills with Piscopo’s deliciously hammy turn served up with Chuck’s special cool sauce seasoned with some spicy roundhouse kicks with bite.
There’s only one place to go for Delta Force cadets to learn the most lethal skills: a special course in butt-kickery at the hands of Chuck himself. Shame nobody told them that the lessons were to be paid for in dirt and pain. This is an outstanding scene featuring Chuck, looking in awesome shape, demonstrating some bone-crunching locks and throws in true militaristic style on a group of wannabe tough hombres.
Ranger Walker has battled many a formidable foe in his duty to uphold the law and fight for justice but when it comes to TOUGH, few match up to lethal assassin Lazarus played by Roger Yuan (“Shanghai Noon”, “Bulletproof Monk”). Yuan’s acrobatic kicking skills are incredibly fast and certainly give Chuck a tough test as Lazarus proves hard to kill. Some fast and frenetic fight action mixed with some gun play, up the danger factor through which Chuck never loses his cool. Of the 195 plus, episodes this certainly impresses as an action-packed highlight.
…and in at #1 is…
Way of the Dragon aka Return of the Dragon (1972) – Colt vs Tang Lung
Rome’s Colosseum is the setting for this epic clash of two of martial arts cinema’s elite gladiators. In his breakthrough role, Norris said very little and just let his skill do all the talking. The late great Bruce Lee packed his directorial debut to the gills with great martial artists as his difficult-to-beat villains and for his scene saved the best for last. East meets West, Chinese kung-fu vs American Tang Soo Do (which is as you probably know, Korean) this is truly an emblematic cinematic match up finale with Norris proving his action star status this early on in his career.
So there we have it folks, 10 solid, rough-tough Chuck Norris fight scenes from some of his most iconic films and TV shows. What’s your favourite fight scene or movie starring Chuck and how has he influenced you? Let us know below, join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. (Feel free to check out our other Top 10’s for some extra stiff sidekicks and more!)