|Directed by||Aaron Norris|
|Produced by||Andy Howard|
|Written by||Ron Swanson
|Music by||Bill Elliott|
|Edited by||Marcus Manton|
|Distributed by||Turner Entertainment|
Forest Warrior is a 1996 American adventure film starring Chuck Norris and directed by Norris's brother Aaron Norris. The film was released on direct-to-video in the United States on November 5, 1996. The film is perhaps best known since late 2011 as the source of a scene in which Chuck (a ubiquitous Internet meme himself) stops a chainsaw by grabbing it with his bare hand. The scene has been reposted numerous times on YouTube with views totaling several million, as well as made into an animated GIF for use on Internet forums and message boards.
The film opens with a campfire story being told by Clovis Madison (Roscoe Lee Browne) to a group of children, about a man named John McKenna (Chuck Norris) who was killed a century ago in the Tanglewood forest while fighting bandits. McKenna was magically brought back to life...and given the power to transform into a bear, wolf, or eagle. Inspired by this tale, the children dub their group the Lords of the Tanglewood - complete with the following pledge: "We ask you to leave it pure as found; For we are to it forever bound."
During the present day, the Tanglewood forest is targeted for harvesting by a logging conglomerate directed by villainous lumber magnate Travis Thorne (Terry Kiser). Most of the small town is against their deforestation...including the kids, who regularly camp out in a treehouse in the woods. During one of their trips, a group of loggers bully the kids - only to get beaten up by McKenna, the legendary shapeshifter, who also happens to be a master of Native American martial arts. The loggers report this to Thorne, who orders the treehouse destroyed. While the kids are gone the loggers place a bomb in the treehouse...unaware that the Tanglewood Lords' leader - and sole female member - Austene Slaighter (Megan Paul) is still there. McKenna beats up the loggers again, then uses the forest's magic to resurrect her just like he had been.
Austene is reunited with her widowed father Arlen (Michael Beck) - once the town's deputy sheriff, but now its token drunk. Meanwhile, Thorne obtains a permit to continue logging. The Lords of the Tanglewood rally in response to this; they prank the loggers with numerous boobytraps, impeding Thorne's efforts to chop down the forest. They also play rock music on a ghetto-blaster, which causes the loggers to dance around idiotically. (One of them even air guitars with a chainsaw!) Finally, McKenna appears before Thorne and intimidates him by turning into a bear; the terrified villain calls off the deforestation, and confesses all of his wrongdoing to the authorities. With their forest saved, the townspeople rebuild the kids' treehouse...while Austene sees McKenna's spirit reunited with that of his Native American wife.
- Chuck Norris as John McKenna
- Terry Kiser as Travis Thorne
- Max Gail as Sheriff Ramsey
- Michael Beck as Arlen Slaighter
- Roscoe Lee Browne as Clovis Madison
- Loretta Swit as Shirley
The film was shot in Oregon in 56 days from January 14 until March 10, 1996.
The film received mixed reviews from critics, such as from Jonathan Porras wrote "Don't watch this unless you are expecting a film made for children. This is Chuck Norris in his most family friendly movies to date. The plot is absurd and the acting pretty bad but again take it for what it is. I didn't expect a children's movie so was quite disappointed but i would imagine kids will enjoy enough". Also, only 50% of the audience liked the film.
Awards and nominations
- 1997: Nominated, "Best Performance in a TV Movie/Home Video by a Young Ensemble" – Trenton Knight, Megan Paul, Josh Wolfor, Michael Friedman, and Jordan Brower