In a movie directed by Aaron Norris, younger brother of Chuck Norris comes “Sidekicks,” a movie about Chuck Norris, co-starring Chuck Norris who plays none other than Chuck Norris. Did I mention Chuck Norris is God? “Sidekicks” is one of the many goofy “Karate Kid” knock offs of the nineties, where Chuck Norris is given a virtual platform to show everyone in America how utterly amazing he is. So amazing is he, he even stars in a young man’s homoerotic fantasies so frequently, it borders on creepy. Bow to Chuck Norris’s Norrisness.
The late Jonathan Brandis plays Barry, a young asthmatic high schooler who is frequently bullied in school and pines after Danica McKellar sans internal monologue. In an almost beat by beat series of events similar to “Karate Kid,” Barry seeks to defend himself against his school bully by taking up martial arts. Of course his school bully is great at karate, but Barry is turned away by a local and aggressive sensei. Rather than the intense brow power of Martin Kove, Joe Piscopo plays the resident villain. And he doesn’t really seem to take the role all too seriously. Barry is caught fantasizing about Chuck Norris by his teacher Ms. Chan who refers him to her uncle Lee.
Of course, he runs an Asian restaurant. And obviously, he’s an elderly and wise martial artist who is much smarter than he originally comes off when we first meet him. Think more Yoda, than Mr. Miyagi, and you’re there. Mako, to his credit, is a funny and charming character who manages to rise a bit above the muck and mediocrity of the narrative. It’s a wholesale rip off of “Karate Kid” mixed with ninety minutes of Chuck Norris idolatry that tries to convince us that he’s everything to everyone. “Sidekicks” is really a ridiculous movie, if only because Barry himself is surrounded by a group of really strong and powerful people that teach him how to survive and never comes to a clear realization that he doesn’t need Norris.
Surely Lee is old, and Ms. Chan is a woman, and his dad is frumpy, but they’re models of what it takes to survive in the world, and stay strong. But he doesn’t really learn to appreciate any of that. Until the very end, he’s still a fan boy for Chuck Norris who settles on being average because no one can rise to the heights of Norris. Rather than show admiration to the actual heroes in his life, he’s still just a starry eyed fan of a martial artist who likely rarely performed any of his stunts in most of his work. Regardless, Chuck Norris is the true winner in the end, as he’s the Earth, Moon and Stars. And “Sidekicks” remains a silly bit of Chuck Norris propaganda likely to be used in recruitment centers across the world when Norris finally conquers mankind.