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Hands of Steel (1986)

Vendetta dal futuro (original title)
A cyborg is programmed to kill a scientist who holds the fate of mankind in his hands. He fails and hides in a diner in a desert run by a woman who likes him. The people who sent him are after him and so is the local arm wrestling champ.


Sergio Martino (as Martin Dolman)


Sergio Martino (story by) (as Martin Dolman), Elisa Briganti (screenplay by) (as Elisabeth Parker Jr.) | 4 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Daniel Greene ... Paco Queruak
Janet Agren ... Linda
Claudio Cassinelli ... Peter Howell
George Eastman ... Raul Morales
Roberto Bisacco ... Cooper (as Robert Ben)
Pat Monti Pat Monti
Andrea Coppola Andrea Coppola ... Eddie (as Andrew Louis Coppola)
Donald O'Brien ... Prof. Olster
Frank Walden Frank Walden
Darwyn Swalve Darwyn Swalve ... Anatola Blanco
Amy Werba Amy Werba ... Dr. Peckinpah
John Saxon ... Francis Turner


Sinister industrialist Francis Turner, played by John Saxon, creates a cyborg known as Paco Queruak (Daniel Greene) who has been programmed to terminate the leader of an ecological faction that stands in the way of the dystopian country in which the story is set. After failing in his mission to eliminate the ecologist, Paco flees to Arizona where he must face his opponents; and ultimately choose between his humanity and robotic natures. Written by Zach R.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The year 1997: the guardian of the future is much more than a human being... [Scandinavian DVD cover] See more »


Action | Sci-Fi


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





Italian | Spanish | English

Release Date:

29 August 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hands of Steel See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sergio Martino had worked with Donald O'Brien on Mannaja (1977). See more »


Turner's helicopter in the long shots is a Bell Jet Ranger but in close ups, it is an Agusta A109 variant. See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK video version (released as "Fists Of Steel") was cut by 1 second to remove an ear-clap. See more »

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User Reviews

A Total Must-See for Fans of Bad Movies
14 May 2016 | by brando647See all my reviews

Oh, man. If you haven't seen HANDS OF STEEL, you are doing yourself a great disservice. This movie is amazing. You'll laugh. You'll scratch your head in confusion. You'll laugh some more. It's a science fiction/action film from director Sergio Martino, released in 1986. I'm assuming it was straight-to-video but I would totally pay to watch it on a big screen with an audience. This movie starts off nuts and only gets crazier from there. Our hero in this near future is Paco Queruak (Daniel Greene), a cybernetic assassin with a heart of gold. We meet him at the start of the film as he's about to complete an assignment; he's been ordered to murder an old, blind politician/environmentalist. Paco appears to complete his mission and goes on the run. Why go rogue? Because he had a change of heart and left the old man alive, and now Paco is the target of both the authorities and the organization who hired him. He leaves town, braving the acid rain (because it's the future and the environment, while appearing absolutely normal at a glance, has fallen on hard times) to hide out in the Arizona desert. He finds shelter with innkeeper Linda (Janet Agren) at her little highway outpost, a quiet place with the exception of the constant prostitute traffic and nightly truck driver arm-wrestling competitions. Paco seems hopeful to start a new, nonviolent life in the desert, but if the organization he betrayed doesn't get to him his new arm-wrestling nemesis Raul Morales (George Eastman) will.

HANDS OF STEEL has everything you could want: cyborgs, future stuff, strippers, violence, unintentional comedy, and loads of arm wrestling. Still not convinced you need to watch it? How about this: at one point, Paco karate chops the head off a snake. If you're not the least bit curious yet, you've got less humanity than Paco's forearms. Paco Queruak is an unsung hero of the action-packed '80s. HANDS OF STEEL is a faded jewel buried beneath a decade of low-budget genre films just waiting to be discovered. What are Paco's intentions? Who is this mysterious (and obviously well-funded) organization behind his enhancements and what did they have against the old, blind environmentalist? Why does Raul insist on tormenting a man who has proved he could twist him into a man-pretzel without breaking a sweat? Does anyone else think that one guy chasing Paco throughout the movie with the sunglasses looked like the butler from "The Nanny" with a beard? To the point of distraction? Prepare for none of these questions to be answered. They keep the premise simple. Paco was supposed to kill a man. He didn't. He's gone off the grid and the organization needs to kill him before the government gets ahold of him and realizes they've created a cybernetic assassin. Then Linda enters the picture and shows Paco friendship or love or something and gives him a reason to fight. Also arm wrestling. This movie has an obsession with arm wrestling.

You see, Linda's inn has competitions between the local truck drivers every night where they compete for who has the strongest forearms. The reigning champion is a beast named Anatolo Blanco but that doesn't stop Raul from running his mouth because he's second-best. He's loud, obnoxious, and a little too handsy with Linda for Paco's tastes. So there's some animosity between the two men right away and Raul, lacking the sense of self-preservation shared by everyone else in the bar, makes it his life mission to harass Paco. There is a fantastic sequence in the second half of the film where Raul organizes a trap that involves a bunch of locals, a car, a tape recorder, and feigned child endangerment to lure Paco out into the open. Dude, Raul is a drunken halfwit. Where did he find the competence to put this scheme together? Neither HANDS OF STEEL nor I know or care. You question every miraculous judgment call that leads to plot advancement and you'll miss out on all the fun. And a lot of the fun is in the details. I love how this movie is set in a near distant future where it's advanced nature manifests as a (single) futuristic car, a laser cannon, and a pair of cyborgs while literally everything else is so very '80s. I love how the baddies have shotguns that double as rocket launchers; seriously, you just shove the mini- rocket into the end of the barrel and pull the trigger (future magic!). I loved the fight between Paco and Suzie, the even cooler cyborg assassin disguised as a prostitute. I love Daniel Greene's wooden performance as Paco set against George Eastman's manic Raul.

But what I love most of all is that HANDS OF STEEL, like many Z-grade action films I've watched, set itself up for a sequel. At the very end right before the end credits roll, we get a final title card that warns us the movie served as the start of the cyborg era. That's right, Paco was only the first. And we'll never know how it went down from there. But at least we have HANDS OF STEEL, the tale of Paco Queruak and his battle against that jerk at the truck stop in which he karate chops the head off a snake.

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