Chuck Norris. Sheesh. If there’s one thing that’s consistent about our Zombie Club write-ups, it’s that any rugged-looking action hero of few words is often quickly referred to as the evening’s poor man’s Chuck Norris, especially if he has a scruffy hairdo or lots of body hair (try googling the phrase ‘poor man’s Chuck Norris’ and see where we come).
So we figured, why not compile the definitive list of our Top Ten Poor Man’s Chucks? After all, what’s the worst that can happen? I mean, there are sooo many to choose from, it’s not like we’re going to get desperate and have several entries for the same actor or anything. Nah, that’d be ridiculous.
10 .Ottaviano Dell'Acqua as Kurt (1984) Rats - Night of Terror Alright, so even mentioning a movie as heinus as Rats in the same breath as Chuck Norris might be considered blasphemy in some circles, but there's no denying the rugged qualities of Kurt, the Norris-haired leader of the hapless morons from Rats – Night of Terror. He's also a man of few words like Chuck, but that's probably because he doesn't speak much English. He does look the part though, which is why he makes our definitive list, even though I did call him a pussy leader when this movie made it to Zombie Club.
9 .Jameson Parker as Brian Marsh (1987) Prince of Darkness (1987) Kurt Russell was apparently unavailable when Prince of Darkness went in to production, so Carpenter decided to go with future TV star Jameson Parker instead for this clever tale of unearthing ancient evil. What was he thinking! This guy is one of the most pathetic poor man’s Chucks ever, although he does have the look nailed down with a nice scruffy mop and moustache combo. Very blonde, very Chuck, even went on to guest star in an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger, but ultimately talks to much in Prince of Darkness to get any further up the list. Shame, although he did make it to a Zombie Club, the lucky fella.
8 .Al Cliver as Kirk (1984) Rome 2033 Yeah okay, Zombie Club’s favourite poor man’s Chuck Norris doesn’t have a very big part in Rome 2033 (see here for our comments) but he does get to do chin-ups over an electrified floor and ride one of those cool gladiatorial bikes at the end. At least I think he does… Oh whatever, it’s Al Cliver God damn it; he’s got the Chuck facial hair and the silent tough guy thing down pat, I tell you. I think we’ll see more of him before the day is out.
7 .Robert Carradine as Wade Parker (1996) Humanoids From The Deep Easy money here for Robert Carradine (brother of Keith) who goes a long way to saving an aging Emma Samms from those pesky fishmen. He’s got his own boat, knows how to dive, and has a dodgy mullet. He’s a man of action, and a worthy contender to the throne. He can currently be seen in Nash Bridges, Lizzie McGuire movies, and just about every other crappy crime show on Sky. He also has much nicer hands than his father did in The Bees.
6 .Keith Carradine as Spencer (1981) Southern Comfort Another prolific member of the Carradine dynasty, Keith (brother of Robert) has been in over 100 films and TV shows in his long career, but he’ll be most remembered though for his heroic everyman portrayal of National Guardsmen Spencer when his unit’s run-in with a bunch of rednecks while on maneuvers turns sour. A hard man and hero under pressure, Keith makes our top ten. He also has Chuck-like hair, which had a lot to do with it.
5 .Richard Norton as Zamir (1985) Gymkata Yes, when Gymkata graced Zombie Club, it was obvious who this movie’s poor man’s Chuck was, but the truth is actually stranger than fiction. A few years before, Norton played the bad guy in Chuck’s The Octagon and apparently he also played every other ninja in the background too (he’s on record as saying that he thinks he was killed over half a dozen times in that film!) Also to be seen later with Don ‘The Dragon’ Wilson in Cyber Tracker. Don’t bother looking that up as it stinks, you can have my copy if you like.
4 .Al Cliver as Shannon (1983) Endgame Ah yes, it’s that guy Al Cliver (also known as Pier Luigi conti) this time in a lead role. Here he plays Shannon, the mop haired, bearded, man of few words champion of a violent futuristic game shown known as Endgame, who for some reason ends up saving a fully clothed Laura Gemser and a load of telepathics from an evil government regime. Or something – what matters is Al excels himself in his poor man’s Chuck-ness, always looking deceptively hard and saying very little. He does hear voices in his head though, a little bit like Chuck Norris in The Octagon. Brilliant.
3 .Chuck Norris as Chuck Slaughter (1974) Karate Cop aka Slaughter in San Fransisco Oh dear. Filmed straight after Way of the Dragon and sporting a video sleeve that has nothing to do with the actually movie, Chuck plays a poorly dubbed bad guy although he still has that mass of chest hair that he sported in the Bruce Lee flick. A shadow of his later glories, I don’t think even Chuck Norris himself would argue that here he’s a poor man’s version of himself. Um, I don’t plan to be the one that tells him though.
2 .Barry Bostwick as Ace Hunter (1982) Megaforce From the dizzying heights of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to Megaforce in seven short years; that'll teach him to appear onscreen wearing a skin tight silver catsuit. Great hair and beard combo though (he could also get onto anyone’s poor man’s George Michael list) and his bike is very similar to Chuck's in Delta Force except its got wings. Yes wings. On a bike. I’ll bet Chuck wanted to be in Megaforce, but had prior commitments.
1 .Al Cliver as Peter Weston (1980) Devil Hunter Wow. Al Cliver plays ace ransom deliverer Peter Weston in perhaps the most notorious and quite frankly shit video nasty of them all. This is Al’s big moment and he’s loving it, right up until that classic showdown at the end against that huge black guy with ping pong eyeballs. It’s just a shame he had to go and spoil it all by falling over right in the middle of the movie (check here for a more detailed account of that incident). Joe Tomato, the famous Italian trash director, once said that Al Cliver was your perfect “poor man’s Nick Nolte”. I put it to you that he was mistaken, Al Cliver is by far and away the best poor man’s Chuck Norris this world has ever seen.