Thursday, October 6, 2011

Raw Deal (1986)

By 1986, Arnold Schwarzenegger was quickly becoming the biggest action star of all time.  He had two back to back hits in Terminator and Commando and as a follow up he re-teamed with Dino DeLaurentis with whom he had done the Conan films and Red Sonja.  The end result is Raw Deal and while it has some good moments it remains a pale shadow of Commando.

Arnie plays John Kaminsky, a former FBI agent turned small town sheriff who is enlisted to take down a Chicago crime syndicate by his old boss played by Darren McGavin of Night Stalker fame.  John goes up against Luigi Patrovita (Sam Wanamaker) and his goons led by Rocca (Paul Shenar) and Max (Robert Davi) and the end result is...well, sort of adequate.

The big problem with the movie is that it clearly, desperately wants to be just as cool as Commando was and as anyone who has seen it can tell you, that just is never going to happen.  There's a fair amount of action that is well directed, especially the last act when John gets pissed off enough to drop the undercover routine and just shoot the hell out of every bad guy he runs into, but the rest of the film seems oddly muted for some reason.  The horribly sappy ending that feels grafted on from one of those inspirational dramas about triumphing over adversity hurts the film as well.

Not helping matters is the fact that some damn fool thought it would be a great idea to give Arnold, whose grasp of English is not so great even today, a ton of dialogue.  This leads to many unintentionally hilarious moments.  There are far too many to mention all of them but let's just say that the person who thought Arnold should say the phrase "molested, murdered and mutilated" was either an incurable smart ass or a true sadist of the highest order.

Arnold also fares rather poorly when matched up with the female lead, a rather pointless mob girlfriend character played by Kathryn Harrold.  She's basically there so Arnold can have someone to talk to which of course leads to the above problem I mentioned.

There are good aspects, however.  As I said, the climax (right until the last scene) is well done and I just have to smile every time I see Arnold slam a Rolling Stones cassette into his tape player just so "Satisfaction" is blasting for the first part of his assault on the bad guys.  Wanamaker is good and Davi is his usual entertaining self and Steven Hill is decent as a rival gangster.

Despite all that, it's a decent enough time waster, a good rainy day movie.  When all is said and done, the cast (apart from Arnold) is quite good in terms of talent and the action scenes have some good energy but what success the film does have is mainly based on how low your standards are.

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About Me

I've been a huge fan of action, horror and comedy for as long as I can remember.