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He Said, She Said Review Site
Raw Deal

Raw Deal

The Last Dragon

What He said:

This is one of the few movies made during Arnold’s prime that I never saw. Recently I came across some of that stuff known as “free time.”  I watched a shitload of manly movies, and decided to give this one a chance. I was looking forward to it because I had never seen it before and was in the mood for something full of machismo.

Mark Kaminsky (Arnold) is a former FBI agent turned small-town sheriff. He lost his job with the bureau when he got a little too rough with a suspect and an aggressive prosecutor made an example of him.  He was forced to resign and take a job away from the big city or get fired and get blacklisted, so he chose option numero uno.

Raw Deal

This has made home life a little rough. Despite being really good at his job – these small-town crooks are no match for the likes of Arnold – Mark is bored. He wants to catch bigger crooks. His wife is also miserable. She hates the town they live in now. She misses the big city and holds Mark entirely responsible for their current situation.

Well today is Mark’s lucky day, because friend and former colleague, FBI Chief Harry Shannon, is about to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Shannon’s (Darren McGavin) son was recently killed by the mob. Shannon’s son, also an FBI agent, was killed while protecting a former mob member turned FBI informant. Well Shannon wants revenge. Not justice, but revenge, and he can think of only one man for the job. He offers to pay Mark to investigate who was responsible for the murder and take them out. He also promises to put in a good word for him should be succeed. Now I’m not exactly sure how an off-the-record revenge mission is going to look good for either guy, but hey who needs a storyline to make sense in an action movie!

Raw Deal

Kaminsky of course accepts and gets to work right away. He creates an alter ego named Joey Brenner. Joey Brenner is a career criminal looking for work. Luigi Patrovita (Sam Wanamaker) is a mob boss believed to be responsible for Blair Shannon’s death. Kaminsky – as Brenner – begins harassing and ruining the business operations of one of Patravita’s rivals, a man named Martin Lamanski. Lamanski once worked for Patrovita, but has been making moves recently to take over his territory. Kaminsky – still as Brenner – attacks several of Lamanski’s businesses and uses that as a means of working his way into the Patrovita family.

Patrovita and his associates are extremely skeptical. Who wouldn’t be? Nobody helps out people like him for no reason in his life of business. Brenner claims he’s just looking for work and since Patrovita is the most powerful man in town, he decided to impress him. Patrovita reluctantly brings Brenner on board and assigns one of his goons – played by Robert Davi – to keep an eye on him.

Kaminsky/Brenner spends the rest of the movie trying to infiltrate the Patrovita crime family and trying to get to the bottom of Shannon’s kids murder. Oh yeah and there’s some sort of romantic subplot…sort of.

Raw Deal

Ok, so here’s the deal. This isn’t the best movie in the world and it isn’t the worst. There was some humor early on that just didn’t fit. I’m not saying action flicks can’t have jokes in them. Hell, it’s a staple of the genre.  But Arnold’s character’s wife throwing cake at him because she’s unhappy with their situation is just too slap sticky for this kind of movie. The movie is about infiltrating the mafia and taking them out – it’s a revenge/vigilante movie at its core – and we’ve got Three Stooges type jokes in the beginning of the movie. There were a couple of things similar to that which simply didn’t fit.

The movie did have some ok action sequences. Arnold laid waste to the Chicago mob a few times throughout the movie: once when he first introduces himself and once again at the end. It’s similar to Commando, but a city this time around, and with a bunch of mafiosos instead of Columbian militia. Not all the jokes are bad either. Arnold’s got some zingers that were pretty funny. It was also a different environment that you usually see him in.

It’s an ok enough movie if it comes on TV and you’re looking for something to watch. It could have benefitted from some tweaking, but it’s decent enough to kill some time without feeling like you wasted it afterwards.

Rating: Thumbs half up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on July 3, 2014.