Action Heroes – Schwarzenegger: Raw Deal

This is like the forgotten Arnie flick from the 80s. Even Conan the Destroyer and Red Sonya get mentioned from time-to-time – thanks largely to the original Conan being so good and Red Sonya being so lame. But Raw Deal barely gets a mention these days. Could it be that its mediocrity has counted against it? Is it that bad that we washed it from the collective pop-cultural memory? Raw Deal isn’t a poor film; it just isn’t that memorable – certainly not compared to what Schwarzenegger had done before and then went onto do.

Raw Deal just is one we don’t have to bother with too much. I did own it when it came out on video, and watched it a few times. But I never upgraded to a disc copy, and probably didn’t see it for a good 15 years or more before watching it again recently.

The plot has the son of a big FBI guy get killed, and in response the father hires Arnold’s sheriff to go undercover and bring the bad guys down. Which he promptly does.

The film features the odd familiar face.  Sam Wanamaker as head bad guy is fairly workman-like – as are most of his cronies, except perhaps Robert Davi (who went onto play a role in Die Hard as well as a main, and memorable, Bond villain).

It’s all just pretty routine until Arnie’s cover is blown and he has to then go on a one-man rampage to take the remaining bad guys out. Then he gets to go home to a happier wife, and help his old buddy (who has been seriously injured in the meantime) learn how to walk again. Cue cheesy freeze frame.

The problem is that there is a distinct absence of one liners and a lack of big action spectacle. The film is almost a made for TV thriller, at best. It wasn’t terrible; I just didn’t find it particularly riveting. This is probably why this is my shortest retrospective; there is simply not enough material to get excited or upset about. Thank God his next film was Predator!

Steven Hurst

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