?Word to the wise: Whatever you do, please don’t question the geek credentials of Mr. Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris. The man trained under Bruce Lee, had his own animated series and line of action figures, became an Internet phenomenon thanks in no small part to Conan O’Brien’s use of “The Walker Lever,” and if that weren’t enough, even starred in one of the most blatant Temple of Doom ripoffs of all time (two years after starring in one of the most blatant Rambo ripoffs of all time, no less). And yeah, we know, the ironic humor behind Norris and his roundhouse kick-packed career got old a while back thanks to his fairly creepy ?ber-conservativism.
That’s why we’re for the most part steering clear of ridiculous “Chuck Norris facts” here, focusing instead on Chuck Norris FACTS… namely, the 10 most mind-blowing products the now 71-year-old (!!!) potential Expendables 2 scene-stealer has ever seen fit to endorse. And if this list is to serve any purpose, we hope it convinces that one wacky uncle to stop buying the latest Chuck Norris Facts book for your birthday every year.
10) Top Dog
In 1995, Chuck took a cue from Burt Reynolds and attempted to make the transition from “star of crappy CBS series” to “re-crowned box office king” thanks to a family-friendly pseudo-comedy. But whereas two years earlier Evening Shade star Burt had had his first decent big-screen showing in a decade thanks to Cop and a Half, Chuck playing second banana to an oily Briard in Top Dog came and went from theaters faster than grass passing through the mutt’s digestive tract. Once again proving he has no aversion to blatant ripoffs, Chuck, along with his director brother Aaron (who will surface again on this list), thought the world needed yet another “socially inept cop teams with sly canine” riff. The one thing this flick DOES have going for it is its surprisingly graphic violence and hitmen dressed as clowns, not to mention bad guys who aren’t jewel thieves nor black-market pet smugglers, but Neo-Nazis. Perfect for the kids!
9) The Total Gym
We can’t blame Chuck for wanting to hang out with a GILF like Christie Brinkley, but in the onslaught of infomercials where he’s actively promoting the Total Gym, he gets obviously winded after spending a mere five seconds on the damn thing. Rule No. 1 for Chuck Norris: Never endorse anything that emphasizes your mortality. We realize the guy was in his 60s when he first started shilling for the home workout contraption, and we hope we’re in half the decent shape he’s in when we reach half of his age, but we can see why Chuck took on a smaller sales-pitchy role and let new T.G. enthusiast Wesley Snipes do most of the heavy lifting in the more recent ads. Still, it’s gotta smart to watch Blade and even friggin’ Steve Guttenberg perform so much better and make the ladies swoon.
8) The Official Chuck Norris Flexmark Booklight
?If for whatever reason you find yourself perusing the Shopping section of ChuckNorris.com, you’ll immediately be disappointed by two things: the “A Force of One” cap that’s listed as a “New Item” has already sold out, and there’s a dearth of Delta Force 2: The Colombia Connection movie posters up for grabs. Chuck hasn’t exactly made up for these oversights, either, instead offering crappy exclusives like “the official Chuck Norris messenger bag,” an $11 + $5.50 shipping “engraved key tag” and, perhaps most egregiously, a Flexlight bookmark whose sole intent is to make fans realize they MUST order one of Chuck’s many books so they’ll have a reason to even own a Flexlight bookmark. Though the description does helpfully point out that it includes a LED bulb that will never need replacing. Why, it practically pays the $14.50 itself!
7) The Justice Riders
?Chuck’s actually written a couple of martial arts/fitness/”inner strength” books over the years, not to mention at least two autobiographies subtitled “My Story” (both of which needed a co-writer, since, ya know, it’s so hard to tell your own life story and all). But his most ridiculous contribution to customer-free Borders stores across the nation has to be his original faith-based western novel, 2006’s The Justice Riders. Yes, after eight seasons playing a modern-day cowboy on Walker, Texas Ranger, Chuck still had to rope in three, count ’em, THREE co-writers to get all of the tired, clich? tropes of the genre down pat. (It’s safe to say that Chuck’s contributions consisted of things like “We should have ‘Justice’ in the title,” “How about an Irish character who’s a drunk?” and “Just spit-balling here guys, but what if the cover has me dressed as a cowboy?”) Not surprisingly, omnipresent Norris brother Aaron had his name shoehorned onto the cover.
6) That World Net Daily Column
We won’t get into Chuck’s rather off-putting political or religious viewpoints here (we’ll save that for all you level-headed and informed types in the comments section), but if you go to his weekly column for the conservative website WorldNetDaily.com expecting tips for achieving the perfect roundhouse kick or memories of Louis Gossett Jr. blowing milk out of his nose on the set of Firewalker, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, if things like the “Top 10 U.S. Shariah infiltrations” and ruminations on why Wall Street Republicans and conservative Republicans just can’t get along are your bag, have at it. Our theory as to why the Republicans can’t get along? The Wall Street set actually prefers Missing in Action 2 to the original. Blasphemy!
5) Those T-Mobile Czech Commercials
Falling somewhere between the endearingly apeshit Ah-nuld “Bui Bui” Japanese commercial and the rock-bottom desperation of Steven Seagal’s Mountain Dew ad, Chuck’s flirtation with T-Mobile Czechoslovakia’s Netbook finds him in full cha-ching mode. How else to explain his fainting at the sight of a carp about to be whacked with a mallet, as per above? Or this second commercial, which features him not tearing some asshole’s leg off for fucking with him while he’s napping? We’re all for the guy not taking himself too seriously, but he should have the decency to at least punch something. Until then, we’ll continue to view this as some sort of terrible, out-of-continuity Elseworlds story.
4) These Posters
Chuck rocking a popped collar on a Members Only jacket with his name emblazoned on it isn’t without its charms, but who approved that “Chuck Norris joins Bon Jovi” fan-fic come to life? Let’s just move along…even if “on a steel horse I KILL” has a nice ring to it. They’re available for purchase here and here, respectively.
3) The Official Chuck Norris Facts Book
?At first, Chuck seemed good-naturedly bemused by the “Chuck Norris facts” craze, even going so far as to read some of them when he guested on talk shows. But when the first facts book emerged in 2007, he showed off his new litigation technique and finely honed “trademark infringement” self-defense maneuvers. In 2009, Chuck published his own official “facts” book, which basically sucks all the fun out of the original premise by adding a “Let’s Be Honest…” addendum to each one. Remember laughing at “Chuck Norris can build a snowman out of rain”? Well, Chuck felt compelled to add, “I don’t know about building a snowman out of rain, but we all know about someone who built a country through snow and rain. I’m referring to Washington in the winter of Valley Forge, of course.” FBI Wanted posters pack more laughs than this.
2) Karate Kommandos Corvette
It’s difficult to come to grips with…
(a.) Chuck Norris
(b.) driving a Corvette
(c.) with blades that pop out everywhere
…somehow NOT being the most amazing thing ever. Turning a blind eye to the fact that this was part of an astoundingly nonsensical Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos ’80s toyline, what would prompt the world’s greatest martial artist to have a sports car disassembled only to add “Shinobi slicers,” an “Onokamo fender-blade” and a “trampoline spoiler”? A more important question: What does “Onokamo” mean? Apparently nothing… it’s just a made-up word that’s intended to conjure visions of dojos in the Far East, we guess. Of course, the best part of this toy is the box art with Chuck nonchalantly tossing a throwing star at no one in particular.
1) Action Jeans
For a number of years, Chuck Norris was the pretty much the only guy on the planet who had need of something like “action jeans.” The man truly was a niche market unto himself, until Van Damme and Seagal came along and stole his plainclothes-asskicking thunder. Ostensibly created for stuntmen and sold only through martial arts mags and catalogs, one of the actual selling points for these things was a “hidden gusset” that allowed for greater movement (in other words, a special piece of triangular fabric prevents your boys from getting pinched too bad). While many celebs have endorsed jeans over the years, only one man had the foresight to put his seal of approval on the protection of your nutsack. ‘Cuz if there’s one thing you can count on Chuck Norris for, it’s making sure you still get plenty of action once jeans come off.