REVIEW: Raw Deal (1986) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Raw Deal (1986)


Runtime: 107 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: Expect it to be more entertaining now than it was then, if you haven’t watched in a while

The plot isn’t exactly riveting.  In fact, it doesn’t even make sense.  Schwarzenegger is used to infiltrate the mob.  Couldn’t the FBI find someone more inconspicuous than a 6’2 booming Austrian bodybuilder?  And yet, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Because then it probably wouldn’t have led to a trail of death and destruction (not that Arnie’s profile was the giveaway) and it could’ve been, y’know… boring.  I’d rather have a good action movie than a bad thriller.  It is nonetheless actually one of Arnie’s weaker films from the 80’s.  Though that’s not really a bad thing.

In fact, a weak Arnie movie from the 80’s is probably going to be on par with what would be considered a ‘good’ movie for most actors.  I mean, it’s a pretty good for a stop-gap between Commando and Predator, right?  And by today’s weaker standard of action movie, probably some shitty DTV filmed in who knows where, this Arnie B-side is also superior.  It was shot in Chicago.  It has Robert Davi as one of its villains.  And it dispenses with shitty romantic subplots 5 minutes in — at the start, Schwarzenegger puts his drunk wife to bed then heads off to take on a job and we never see her again.  And then the violence starts.

Was this movie an experiment for Schwarzenegger in between bigger projects?  Because you sort of get the feeling that the intention was to film an edgier, more thought provoking film with a heavier plot.  I said that was the intention – it’s not how it actually turned out.  At some point they must have ditched the idea and gone for formula.  And I’m glad.  There’s an act of violence and/or action in this movie every 5-6 minutes and this is no exaggeration. Schwarzenegger himself kills 25 men.  I counted.  And sub machine guns were evidently the fashion accessory of choice in mid-80’s Chicago, where it seems that half the cast (including extras) in this movie had one. Schwarzenegger had several.  

At the end, you also get not one but two bloodbath shootouts.  The first in a quarry.  No time to explain the consequences of that, time for another one at mob head quarters.  In fact, these should more accurately be described as massacres or atrocities — they don’t even show him driving from that location to the second.  It just presents you instantly with an additional gun battle, like a McBain clip from The Simpsons.  The final scene with Schwarzenegger kicking down a door frantically, so that he might murder an individual is, quite frankly, hysterical.  I mean come on man, even when the Terminator was killing people inside buildings, it took its time.

And like I said, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.