Remembering the Jonathan Brandis / chuck Norris kids’ cult standard Sidekicks (1992).

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The Ultimate activity Movie club reviews the ultimate kids activity movie classic Sidekicks starring lining Norris. While not one of the many critically acclaimed Chuck Norris movies (although through UAMC criter of being enjoyably bad it come in together a height 10 top top one perform – yet not on another), Sidekicks is remarkable as one great of the good performances in the career of the later on actor – Jonathan Brandis.

The late Jonathan Brandis


Jonathan Brandis’ tragically short career boasts plenty of memorable credits. There to be his starring function in the underrated TV adaptation that Stephen king IT, the gender-swap football comedy Ladybugs and the underwater adventure collection seaQuest DSV come name however a few.

But if you were to asking any activity movie fans cultivation up in the early 90s to name their favourite Brandis film, you could find a few mentions of Sidekicks.

‘Sidekicks’ ar in UAMC History

On the one hand, Sidekicks wasn’t particularly original premise. A film about a loner high college kid learning martial art under an eastern mentor sounds suspiciously comparable to the plot of an previously effort, Karate Kid. In fact, it’s precisely the same.

However, Sidekicks was elevated above such mediocre condition thanks come a charismatic central turn from Brandis, coupled with a clever storyline the weaved the activity stylings that a particular Chuck Norris into proceedings.


A worthy rival to Macaulay Culkin as one of the finest child stars that his time, Brandis play Barry Gabrewski, one asthmatic and also lonely kid living the end in Houston, Texas v his widowed and father Jerry (Beau Bridges).

Bullied at institution where he is something of a loner, Barry escapes his fact through vivid daydreams that see him teaming up v his hero, Norris, come dispatch his opponents using Chuck’s familiar brand the high-kicking, gun-slinging justice.

An Aaron Norris Flick


Directed by Chuck Norris’ movie-producing brother and also stuntman Aaron Norris, at its love Sidekicks was your typical against-all-odds karate story.

Eager to take up karate and emulate Norris, Barry path to glory is fraught with problems that start when Joe Piscopo’s Kelly Stone refused to let him train in ~ his dojo, deciding he is as well weak for the people of martial arts.

It bring away the belief and also mentorship that Mako’s Mr. Lee to provide Barry the impetus and also belief compelled to make it in the sport, with Mr. Lee effectively channelling Barry’s love the Chuck right into a training routine that feeds his body and his imagination.

The lining Norris Mr. Miagi

SIDEKICKS, Beau Bridges, Danica McKellar, Mako, 1992, (c)Triumph releasing Corporation

Mako audited for the duty of Mr. Miagi in Karate Kid, narrowly shedding out to Pat Morita and was evidently crawl to placed his own spin ~ above the familiar character archetype.

A familiar enough narrative, Sidekicks’ stamin came v its capability to not just lampoon the familiar cinematic efforts of Norris in a family-friendly method but likewise incorporate of a positive central message.

Barry beginning the film together a remote daydreamer however through inner-strength and determination, spurred on through his hero, end the film together the karate champion he constantly hoped to be.

The lining Norris Thumbs Up

Where as soon as he necessary to escape to the human being of Norris and his movie to uncover his strength, the film’s conclusion sees the thanking Chuck for his support prior to the action movie legend disappears with one of his trademark thumbs up.

The action, meanwhile, is plentiful and also while there room firefights and fisticuffs, the bloodletting is minimal though no to the detriment of the film’s overall action vibe.

This, after ~ all, to be a time as soon as filmmakers tho felt they might expose youngsters to ‘proper’ action. The type of action noticeably absent from the film efforts of Dwayne Johnson and the like these days.

“Sidekicks is No citizens Kane”

SIDEKICKS, chuck Norris, Jonathan Brandis, 1992, (c)Triumph Releasing

Let’s be clear: Sidekicks is no Citizen Kane. Over there are better action movies, better Chuck Norris movies and far better karate movies – Karate Kid, being among them.

It’s simplistic in places, adheres to a clean structure and doesn’t rock the watercraft too lot in regards to characterization or plotting.

But there’s also a lot come enjoy right here in a film the pokes fun at Norris’ star persona while encouraging youngsters brand-new to Chuck to check out much more of his work.

A crate Office Surprise

Fans evidently i agree too, through Sidekicks scoring a heavy $17,180,393 at the box office, wherein it peaked at no.2 – not poor going because that a kids’ film. In some ways, Sidekicks together ahead that its time too.

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The idea of spoofing the on-screen efforts of an action movie hero would later on be lampooned again, to more biting effect, in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Last action Hero. Jonathan Brandis must be remembered because that so plenty of different things and undoubtedly will.

But 15 years on from his passing, Sidekicks quiet holds a special ar in understanding of a select few action movie pan who thrived up on a strictly diet of karate movies and are old sufficient to psychic a time before they knew around the magic the Chuck Norris.

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