Now that he was a big name in the movie business, the next step for Norris was obvious: video games. He wasn’t going to be making them himself, but it wasn’t long before he or one of his characters was the face of a video game.
1983 saw the release of the game “Chuck Norris Superkicks” for the Commodore 64, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 2600, and Colecovision, developed by Xonox. The game had the player controlling Norris as he moved through a map and fought enemies in order to liberate hostages.
His Resume Grows
Now as an established star, studios had little choice but to pick up Norris's films. In 1980, Norris starred in “The Octagon,” where his character had to stop a group of terrorists that had ninja training.
Studios jumped on it, and American Cinema Releasing distributed it after a bidding war. It made almost nineteen million dollars at the box office. In 1981, he starred in Steve Carver's “An Eye for an Eye,” and in 1982 he was in the action horror film “Silent Rage.” It was the first of his films released by a major studio, Columbia Pictures.
The Biggest Hit Yet
After the release of “Silent Rage,” MGM stepped up to the line and signed Norris to a three-movie deal. That same year, they released “Forced Vengeance,” but Norris was unhappy with the direction they wanted him to go, and the contract was canceled.
In 1983, he made “Lone Wolf McQuade” with Orion Pictures. Norris played a reckless and brave Texas Ranger, and the film was a worldwide hit, earning plenty at the box office and garnering quite a positive reception from movie critics. That same year had Norris publish a book of exercises called “Toughen Up! The Chuck Norris Fitness System.”
The 80s saw one Chuck Norris film after another make it big at the box office. The first film in a series of POW rescue fantasies was “Missing in Action,” which has him as Colonel James Braddock.
The film was a great success, and Norris immediately became Cannon's biggest star. A prequel to “Missing in Action” came out a year later. In the same year was also “Code of Silence.” Norris would later dedicate these films to his younger brother Wieland, who had passed away in 1970.
The Animated Action Star
Action-oriented cartoon shows such as He-Man or G.I. Joe gained a surge of popularity in the 80s. Why not turn one of the country's biggest action stars into a cartoon version of himself? That's what the creators of “Karate Kommandos” thought when they pitched the idea to Norris.
He lends his voice to a leader of a the Karate Kommandos, an animated version of himself. Marvel even adapted the show into a comic book version. Sadly the show only lasted six episodes. Seems like even Norris's star power can't do everything.