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Saturday, 17 December 2016

Retro Review: Raw Deal (1986) #Schwarzenegger

Raw Deal
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Darren McGavin, Sam Wanamaker
Genre: Action
U.S Box Office Gross: over $15 million 

Plot: A former FBI agent turned small town sheriff agrees to help an FBI chief infiltrate the Chicago mafia when the chief's son is murdered 

'Somewhat Of A ''Flaw Deal'', Practically Saved By Arnie'

Arnold Schwarzenegger is Mark: a disgraced ex- FBI agent who becomes a sheriff in a small Southern town and is given the chance to redeem himself and get back his job, only to be assigned the task of going undercover to capture a mob boss, who has killed his son. As a mole under the alias of Joseph P. Brenner, Mark has to gain the trust of the mobster, without being identified as a cop and still bring him to justice. Along the way, Mark meets a woman named Monique who has ties with the mob and becomes romantically involved with her.

As ever, the film is fairly typical ''wham, bam'' routine and kick ass violence with the opening ten minutes not letting up with the action and bullets flying. Released in 1986, it was around that time that Arnie was still developing as an action movie star and he wanted to capitalise on his success with the first Terminator film with efforts such as this one and Commando; that and he had his usual deadpan one-liners. One of them being when a fellow cop asks him what the 'P' in his name stands for and Mark replies with ''p****''. Fellow action star Sylvester Stallone came out with Cobra, in the same year which was pretty 'meh' in my opinion.

Mark's wife, Amy was an awful character (probably the worst one in this entire film) and thus, I was disappointed that in the end, Mark still decided to go back to her, given the way she had treated him (she even threw a cake at him, and still missed!). I thought he had a good thing going with that other woman he met and I was a tad disappointed it wasn't meant to be for those two. The acting overall was all right, somewhat decent. Kathryn Harrold as Mark's love interest was not bad, and the chemistry between herself and Arnie was nice to see. I'd have enjoyed it, even more, had they ended up in each other's arms. A lot of people disliked the romantic love subplot with those two, yet I was the opposite. 

Raw Deal feels more like a and is a minor B-movie, given it is not one of Schwarzenegger's well-known titles and it did become a box office flop. & if there is one major flaw with this film, it could/would be that it operates more as a crime drama than a pure all- out action yarn and there is more dialogue than there is of action. Which for a Schwarzenegger offering is unheard of during the time of the 1980s, but it's still ordinary by his standards. The plot is so confusing that one cannot make out what it is supposed to be. Yet it still has action scenes that make it watchable, as routine as they are and these come in short, little bursts. The scene where the cops bust open a house was not bad. Some of the dialogue does run a little too long in certain scenes and the scenes without Arnold are forgettable, but the film overall is solid. 

I'd still take this over his some of his latter efforts of the late 1990s and beyond. Though it's not quite up there with The Running Man, Total Recall, Terminator 2, True Lies, Predator, Commando, Raw Deal has its moments in places. And like most of his films, they are not too deep to understand and get into. If you're looking for meaning in them, forget it. 

Final Verdict:

It may be derivative and ordinary but it is Arnie who makes it watchable and worthwhile; take him away, and Raw Deal would be an even crappier movie for it. It's not an Arnie 'must-see' type of film, and yet it is also worth seeing him, prior to Predator, Total Recall, Terminator 2. 

That's if you are interested in his earlier stuff. 


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