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Mark L. Lester
Rae Dawn Chong,
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Mark Kaminski is kicked out of the FBI for his rough treatment of a suspect. He winds up as the sheriff of a small town in North Carolina. FBI Chief Harry Shannon, whose son has been killed by a mobster named Patrovina, enlists Kaminski in a personal vendetta with a promise of reinstatement into the FBI if Patrovina is taken down. To accomplish this, Kaminski must go undercover and join Patrovina's gang. Written by
Dave Gan <email@example.com>
2nd rate Schwarzenegger, but fans will still enjoy it
Don't be angry with me for only awarding "Raw Deal" 5 stars out of 10. It's a 'strong, almost a 6' 5, not a 'weak, barely above a 4' 5. If that makes any sense.
I think that part of the problem is that I saw this after I saw "Terminator" and "Commando", and it was a bit of a let-down. (And I might have been suffering from a bit of "Schwarzenegger-overexposure".) Arnold is a bit wasted here. It's as if someone mistakenly cast him in a role meant for someone like Chuck Norris. Let's face it, this is a smaller scale movie with a seemingly smaller budget; Dolph Lundgren or Rutger Hauer or Micheal Biehn or even that guy from "Eddie And The Cruisers" could have filled in for the S-man in this movie and you would hardly have noticed the difference, except for a few one-liners. Not to mention the director for "Raw Deal" seemed to be nowhere near Cameron's or Lester's class. Same thing goes for the cast (with all respect to Darren McGavin and Robert Davi). Kathryn Harrold is not a substitute for Linda Hamilton. She's OK, but she's a Ford Taurus to Hamilton's Corvette Stingray.
There are pacing problems, too. The screenwriter felt the need to include several filler sequences that are meant to advance the plot and fill in back story and give the other cast members something to do. But most of these sequences are pretty lackluster: a fistfight in a women's clothing store goes nowhere; a romantic confrontation between Davi and Harrold leaves no lasting impact (though it does let Harrold get off a good put-down line); and the 10 minute car chase scene where a crime boss winds up hamburger is an exercise in by-the-numbers padding if there ever was one (good sound design, though).
But the last 20 minutes serves as a payoff to the first part of the film, and it is basically one long bullet-fest. Arnold basically shoots everything short of LAWs and RPGs at the bad guys, and they obligingly miss with all their shots and fall over and die. None of this is staged with anything like the panache of the firefights in "Commando" or the desperate high speed run-and-gun highway fights in "Terminator". It's all very meat-and-potatoes stuff that wouldn't have be out of place in a typical Cannon/Golan-Globus production. But there's plenty of it, and the S-man is appropriately grim and indestructible, and any fan will be satisfied once the final bad guy goes down in the final hail of bullets.
After 3 viewings, I still don't understand why no one can hit the huge, slow-moving white guy when they shoot at him, but it's his movie, so I'll just attribute it to Arnold's penchant for bringing a Browning Automatic Rifle to a revolver fight, and let it pass.
And I don't discount this movie just because it was an Arnold vehicle - I felt that his follow-up "The Running Man" was a return to form (although still not as good as "Terminator" and "Commando").
Anyway, "Raw Deal" doesn't place in the top 5 (or even 10) Arnold films, but any Schwarzenegger completist will want to have it, and will probably find much to enjoy. And fans of "Crime Story" and gangster films in general will also find this to their liking.
16 of 21 people found this review helpful.
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