Plot: An evil organization known as VULTURE plans to unleash chaos on the world, under the leadership of The Klaw. This nefarious villain has big plans and with his trusted sidekick Super Ninja, he is determined to rule over the world through acts of unbridled terrorism. In dark times like this, a hero often emerges to battle back the forces of evil and this time, that hero is Chuck Norris. While Chuck alone could defend the planet, he assembles a squad of colorful warriors to help him in this quest, calling it the Karate Kommandos. Each member was handpicked by Chuck for unique skills, but they’ll need those skills and more to fend off VULTURE. The Klaw begins to seek out powerful weapons of destruction, but the Karate Kommandos are always ready to thwart those efforts. But can even Chuck and his buddies stop Klaw’s march of evil, when one mistake could mean the end of the free world?
Entertainment Value: This five episode series was a blink and you’ll miss it run, but it did spawn some cool action figures. The show is ridiculous, but immense fun and if you’re a fan of Norris, you’ll have a blast here. Chuck opens each episode with a personal introduction and returns after the finale, to offer words of wisdom and remind us of the lesson we’ve learned. These scenes alone make the series worthwhile, as they’re so odd and Norris takes the segments so seriously. The rest of the show is fairly typical Saturday morning cartoon stuff, but made somewhat surreal by the presence of Chuck Norris, who is so out of place in this animated world. Norris is joined by a sumo wrestler, a roguish child, a samurai, and more, so this is quite an eclectic crew. I do remember the action figures and the line was a short run, but it makes an interesting companion piece to this brief cartoon series.
I obviously think the real draw of Karate Kommandos depends on your appreciation for good old Chuck, as his presence is the selling point. If you’re a fan and want to see him camp it up in an animated series, this is heaven sent entertainment. Or if you just like offbeat content, this also has that absurdist appeal, as well as clear nostalgic value for those who grew up in this period. So I do think there is a good deal of potential interest, for varied reasons. I can’t argue that this is one of the better animated shows of the time, as it is pretty standard Ruby-Spears stunt casting entertainment, but it is brisk and with only five episodes, isn’t much of a commitment. The animation is typical of similar shows from the 80s, but come on, this show has animated Chuck Norris sporting a neckerchief. What else do you people want? If you have an appreciation for 80s cartoons, odd animation, Hanna-Barbera, or the man Chuck Norris, this one is a lot of fun.