Chuck Norris vs. ZOMBIES! A Look Back At Karate Kommandos

In the year of our lord, 1986, some animator with help of Chuck Norris unleashed a beast upon us all known as, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos. Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos only lasted five episodes and I’m happy to report that I have recently seen all five. Happy for the nostalgia, but lets be honest, the show kinda sucked.

Each show was roughly 20 minutes and featured a live and in action (not missing in action) Chuck Norris, usually working out at a gym or training as he would proceed to clearly read off a teleprompter or cue card what words of wisdom or moral lesson we needed to be taught that week. And once he and his crew saved the day, the show would once more close with wise words from Mr.Norris. This might be the highlight of the series as the actual shows leave us nothing to write home about with Chuck probably being the WORST voice actor I have ever head. Just don’t tell him I said that, he’d probably kick my ass.

And who were helping Chuck Norris kick ass? Not that he needs help, but he had his crew of Karate Kommandos which included an annoying brat named, “Too Much”. A Samoan named, “Tabe”, a samurai warrior named, “Kimo” who gives us such wise words as, “It takes more than a pack of rats to take down a tiger!”, some other dude who isn’t important, and a girl named, “Pepper”. Norris sadly never has a romance angle with this girl, as we all know Chuck Norris doesn’t need a woman’s touch.

And who’s our bad guys?? Vulture, who is lead by The Claw, that’s who! Vulture has to be THE worst group of villain in animated action series history. While the group is beefed up by goons who can’t shoot people who are five inches in front of them without missing, and a load of Ninjas who defined the term “Retarded Ninja Style”, the MAIN baddies in the group is a blue ninja with hair called, “Super Ninja” who has a never ending beef with Chuck Norris, yet never once comes close to having Chuck in any real danger, and The Claw himself, who works behind the scenes and has a claw for an arm (Well duh!). Some others come and go, but like I said, there’s never any drama, Chuck is never in any danger, and as a result the highlight is just Chuck being Chuck and at one time in a show his kicking ass in a 70’s style tuxedo.

Yet somehow this series went on to be a cult favorite, spawn comic books, and spawn a line of action figures that I myself loved as a child. And since I’ve got you here, maybe I should go ahead and run down the entire five episodes?

01: “Deadly Dolphin
Chuck Norris and his comrades are helping a scientist named Dr. Sanford test experimental equipment that would enable people to breath underwater by converting water into oxygen. The Claw sends Super-Ninja and a female operative Angelfish named to lead his men to kidnap Dr. Sanford and break into Sealab. It’s up to Norris’ team to defend them both.

 02:  “Target: Chuck Norris
The Claw places a bounty on Chuck Norris’ head in order to eliminate him once and for all, and at the same time he steals a computer chip that would permit him to gain control of NATO’s defenses. Chuck Norris and his comrades must get the chip back in order to protect the free world. When Super Ninja manages to capture Too-Much, Chuck Norris must rescue his young ward as well. 

 03: “Terror Train
Chuck Norris and his comrades are assigned to guard a robot laser while it is being transported, but The Claw has his eyes on the prize as well so he sends some of his best men to steal it. However, when Super Ninja plants some explosives onto the transport train, Norris must play his cards correctly or risk losing the lives of the passengers on board. 

 04:  “Menace from Space
Chuck Norris and his comrades head off to a space shuttle launch site in order to warn a general about The Claw’s plans, but they’re too late and The Claw manages to get away with the shuttle. To make matters worse, the space shuttle was carrying a fusion cannon that has the power to do unspeakable damage to any city in the world, so Norris decides to use an old space shuttle to go into space and stop Super Ninja before any damage is dealt.

To be honest with you, guys. It’s the 5th and final episode when my attention was caught. Why is that? Because it was then that Chuck Norris took on ZOMBIES!!! But my excitment would quickly dwindle when I actually saw the episode. Here’s the description…

05: “Island of the Walking Dead
The Claw is attempting to bring down a United States satellite in order to reprogram it so he can gain control of all the nation’s military bases, so the president decides to send Chuck Norris to stop him. However, Super Ninja manages to distract Norris long enough for The Claw’s men to succeed. Norris and his comrades head off to Voodoo Island in hope of recovering the satellite, but things take a turn for the worse, and they discover that the island is full of the walking dead.

Sadly, these zombies aren’t the flesh eating kind, or at least not in the sense we are accustom to. They aren’t green, they have regular skin color. And to make matters worse, they are all lead by some voodoo man who favors Papa Shango, They tackle people not to eat them alive, but rather take them back, cage them, and set up a BBQ. They also pretty much do anything any of the other no-name goons do. The only real difference is that they are invincible to most of Chuck’s team besides the fat sumo man, and of course, Chuck himself. But who doesn’t get their ass kicked by Norris?

I guess at the age of 28 I shouldn’t be disappointed that a cartoon aimed for kids let me down as much as this one did, but damn it, I expected more. But it is what it is, and it was at least cool to see Chuck Norris, even if he did come across about as exciting as watching grass grow. If you wish to re-live the glory days you can sometimes still catch this rarely on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. As far as I know, no DVD set has been released (have fun finding the VHS) BUT I could be wrong. That’s rare, but it has been known to happen.

Goodbye, Ladies!