187) Raw Deal (1986) Dir: John Irvin Date Released: June 1986 Date Seen: June 3, 2010 Rating: 3.75/5
I found an OOP copy of Raw Deal after having written the aforementioned lengthy, as-yet-unreleased piece on Arnold Schwarzenegger's three best film roles. It came recommended by friends and boy, am I glad they told me to see it. This is easily one of the best film to visualize and exemplify '80s excess. That flagrant abandon comes to a head in the film's unrepentantly decadent bar shoot-out scene. It's not even a remotely fair fire fight: Ahnuld is completely out-numbered but he's still mowing down everyone and, more importantly, every thing in sight. Glass is being destroyed left and right; no bottle, no window, no table is spared (they were apparently having a fire sale on candy glass and pretty much used it throughout the movie, if i recall correctly). And nobody's reloading, of course. It's pretty much a shooting gallery with Arnold blowing everyone away. Die, materialist signifiers, die!
And yet, the most preposterous idea in Raw Deal is imagining that Schwarzenegger could ever consign himself to a (relatively) modest life living in a witness protection program in a small podunk town after righteously fingering (heh) a bunch of corrupt cops. The film's spectacular opening car chase scene in the lumber yard proves how Arnold can't even pretend to be Clark Kent without looking a little like a Bizarro evil Superman now and again. When his car breaks down and he has to break off pursuit of a local badman, he just leisurely takes out his gas tank, sprinkles some of its contents on the road, lights his cigar, takes a few puffs and when the culprit drives by, lights his ass up. This is shortly before Arnold comes home to find his wife drunk, spluttering about how little attention he pays her these days and eventually using a cake with gaudy pink frosting as a projectile weapon ("You should not drink and bake"). The punchline of this scene? She hasn't made the man's dinner!
Gosh, this just...this just epitomizes so much of the De Laurentiisian crassness of the era while at the same time it's decidedly a superior product of its times, both in its sporadically sleek action choreography and in its nuts-and-bolts storytelling (Arnie is especially charismatic here, too). In other words: it's brainless and silly but it's a damn good time.