Raw Deal (1986)

rawdeal_1Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Darren McGavin, Sam Wanamaker, Paul Shenar, Steven Hill, Joe Regalbuto, Robert Davi, Ed Lauter, Mordecai Lawner

Directed by John Irvin

Expectations: Moderate. I saw this a couple of times as a kid but I don’t remember much about it, which probably isn’t a good sign.

Overall:
twohalfstar

Only in terms of action:
threehalfstar


When a movie opens with machine guns, power boats, witness protection and synth rock grooves, my only answer is a broad smile. Raw Deal is not an Arnold film that gets much love these days, but it’s definitely a worthwhile entry in his filmography. While it is a minor film alongside the others that Arnold made around it (The Terminator, Commando and Predator), taken on its own Raw Deal more than delivers its share of great Arnold moments and excellent ’80s action.

Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Mark Kaminsky, an ex-FBI agent currently serving as the sheriff of a small town. His wife is furious about being stuck in the country for the last five years, so when Arnold’s former colleague at the bureau offers him an undercover mission infiltrating the Chicago mob, Arnold jumps at the chance so that he might be able to make his wife happy again. Or just to get away from her. Little details like this are not the strong suit of ’80s action films. Anyway… cue the montage of Arnold slicking back his hair, and before we can say “Great Terwilligers!” we’re on our way with Schwarzenegger to break up a backroom gambling joint and drive a tow truck through its walls.

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Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987)

superman4_1Starring Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Mariel Hemingway, Jackie Cooper, Marc McClure, Jon Cryer, Sam Wanamaker, Mark Pillow, Damian McLawhorn, William Hootkins, Jim Broadbent

Directed by Sidney J. Furie

Expectations: I’m so excited.

On the general scale:
twohalfstar

On the B-movie scale:
threehalfstar


People don’t like this movie? Really? Please tell me why in the comments, because I just don’t understand it. The budget is definitely smaller here, and some of the flying looks noticeably bad. The story is a little jumpy, moving from one thing to the next somewhat haphazardly. And Superman’s adversary is Nuclear Man, a construct created by Lex Luthor from a strand of Superman’s hair who does a lot of yelling and acts like a pro-wrestler. Perhaps some of those reasons are your issues with the film? I’m still at a loss, because each and every one of those factors contribute to the stew of B-Movie awesome that is Superman IV: The Quest for Peace!

It’s the ’80s and the nuclear arms race around the globe is reaching critical levels. A schoolboy writes a letter to Superman, asking him to rid the world of its nuclear weapons, effectively disarming the world and the escalating situation. That might make the film sound like a really simplified call for world peace, but the film is much more concerned with entertainment than heavy-handed political messages. And besides, I’ve always enjoyed when comic characters are written into real world situations so I loved this aspect of the film. C’mon, Supes collects the nukes in a gigantic net in space and throws them into the sun for God’s sake! I don’t care what your political beliefs are, that’s thrilling cinema.

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