Director: John Irvin
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kathryn Harrold, Sam Wanamaker, Paul Shenar, Robert Davi
The government gave him a raw deal. Nobody gives him a raw deal.
Mark Kaminsky was kicked out of the FBI for being too rough towards the suspects. He now lives a more quiet life as a sheriff in a small town. His wife is not happy living the new life outside of a big city and Mark is missing the action of bringing down the big guys in the criminal underworld.
He gets a chance to go on a new mission when his old boss calls him needing help to bring down a big shot mafia boss by working on his own, without the backing of the law. Mark fakes his own death and starts to re-emerge as the convicted felon Joseph P. Brenner and with his new identity he works on becoming one of the henchmen for crime boss Luigi Patrovita and then ultimately take him down.
Raw Deal is a great example of how great action films could be in the 1980’s. There’s nothing original about the story or the way it is executed, but for some reason it just works on nearly all levels. Having Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime is in no doubt one of the reasons why it is so fun and I guess it could have a lot to do with nostalgia, as I feel like there is something magic when a film is so much fun and yet it has so much violence.
Arnie is, as mentioned, in his prime here. His acting is pretty much awful, but it looks like he is having fun cracking jokes and beating down bad guys. If anyone has ever wondered why we love Arnold, then they only need to witness his charisma in films like this one.
I also wanna give props to Chris Boardman, Tom Bähler and Albhy Galuten who are credited for the music in this film. The music used is perfect for setting the tone to the film and the music is not something I often notice when it comes to action films like this one. The film was directed by the British director John Irvin, a film maker also known for Hamburger Hill and the horror film Ghost Story. He is very aware of what type of film he is making her and seems to embrace it and make the most out of it.
I do wish that the film had better bad guys though, as neither Sam Wanamaker as Luigi Patrovita or Paul Shenar as Paolo Rocca brings memorable performances here. It does help that Robert Davi shows up as Max Keller as he is perfect for roles like that, which is also something he has made an entire acting career of doing. It is also a bit too long, with a running time of 115 minutes. It should have been shorted down around 10-15 more minutes for a more appropriate length.
Raw Deal is an awesome 80’s action film. It’s simple, fun and entertaining and that’s good enough for me. I’m not sure if the modern audience of today would appreciate this film as much as I do, so keep it in mind that I grew up with watching this film several times and have some nostalgic feelings for it. Even so, I recommend this to every action fan out there.