Walker, Texas Ranger: The Seventh Season – DVD Review

When looking at the entire run of Walker, Texas Ranger is easy to say that this seventh season was probably the best the show had been since its very first year on the air. That’s not to say that the series ever really got past the level of guilty pleasure, but on its own terms this season was a step up on many of the offerings that had come before it, and even managed some decent drama at time between karate fights. Filled with fresh faces, a fun crossover with another martial arts legend, a wedding that had been a long time coming, and the death of a major character, Walker, Texas Ranger: The Seventh Season is this show running on all cylinders.

Of course, there’s still only really one reason to watch this show, and his name is Chuck Norris. Starring as the title character, Norris seems to be having more fun this time out, as comfortable as ever, and getting some better action sequences than in years before, even if the scenes are a bit heavier in the stunt man department. The fisticuffs are surprisingly well staged and shot, and seem to come a little more often than usual, with some good moments also given to longtime partner Trivette (Clarence Gilyard Jr.). As always, the two of them have a fun chemistry, and their comic timing seems to have been well-honed after seven years on the air together.

Terrifically, the sheer amount of action this season offers per episode is pretty surprising. Take for instance, the season opener “In Harm’s Way, Part 2″ in which Walker and finance Alex (Sheree J. Wilson) are traveling with evidence for an important case when their plane is shot down at the beginning of the episode. In order to get the evidence to the courthouse on time, Walker and Alex must survive attacks from a WWII fighter, a helicopter gunship, and a team of mercenaries sent to kill them. The episode is like a miniature First Blood, with Walker setting traps for the bad guys and eliminating them one at a time. Also fairly compelling is Trivette’s search for Walker’s missing plane while the whole thing is under the ticking clock of the trial needing the evidence.

Even better is the episode “Countdown”, which might actually have more action than some of Norris’ feature films, and is definitely more fun to watch than Good Guys Wear Black or Firewalker. The installment serves as an introduction to Sydney Cooke (Nia Peeples) and Francis Gage (Judson Mills), who are two “rookie” Rangers added to the series at this point, both of which help to take the action load off of Norris, who was pushing 60 at this point. The episode is pretty much nonstop action, and is impressive on a lot of aspects. Fights within the episode are some of the best choreography in the series, and the hour is punched up with a ridiculous motorcycle chase as well, making this one of the best of the season.

Perhaps the biggest thrill of these installments though, is getting to see Norris team up with Hong Kong legend Sammo Hung. Sure, neither of these men were in their prime during the period when this series was filmed, but fans of martial arts cinema should still get a thrill during the episode “The Day of Cleansing”, in which the two try to take down a white supremacist gang leader. A crossover with Hung’s series Martial Law, the finale displays exactly why these two became action movie icons in the first place and shows us why we still love them. Watching the duo take out a small army of scumbags is just as exciting as you’d expect it to be, even though this was for the small-screen and not a Hollywood or Hong Kong production.

Look, there’s no way that the seventh season of Walker, Texas Ranger is going to match up dramatically with a series like Lost or 24, but this season offers the maximum amount of modest returns that this show is known for. Each episode is like a smaller version of a Chuck Norris movie, and you can expect even more face-kicking than you normally get from the new cast members and help from action icon Sammo Hung. It isn’t going to blow your mind or surprise you in any way, but Walker Texas Ranger: The Seventh Season is this show at its absolute best.

The show is in its original fullscreen format, and CBS/Paramount doesn’t seem to have remastered this show in any way. This is just how you remember the episodes in their original broadcast.

Trailers – You get trailers for other CBS/Paramount shows, such as MacGuyver and a few others.

You know what you’re getting with this show, and if that’s what you’re expecting, then you shouldn’t be disappointed. In fact, this season is better than most, filling each episode with a lot more action than you would expect from a season of Walker: Texas Ranger. Unfortunately, there aren’t many extras to speak of, and the a/v quality of these episodes isn’t exactly anything to write home about. Still, if you’re a fan of Chuck Norris or Walker as a series, this is definitely one of the better sets of adventures.

CBS/Paramount presents Walker Texas Ranger: The Seventh Season. Created by: Christopher Canaan, Albert S. Ruddy, Leslie Greif, and Paul Haggis. Starring: Chuck Norris. Written by: Clarence Gilyard, Sheree J. Wilson, and Noble Willingham. Running time: 1081 minutes. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: March 9, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.