Day 15 Wanted Dead or Alive from 1986
Tagline – “He’s America’s most lethal weapon, a living grenade waiting to explode. Someone has just pulled the pin.“
Who’s our hero today?
That awesome Dutch dude from the Off–world colonies Rutger Hauer plays Nick Randall.
Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
I did but honestly I couldn’t recall much at all so it made for a great re-watch viewing experience. I remembered the baddie’s face but at time I had no idea who he was. To be honest had many people seen him without his iconic makeup on at the time?
Quick plot run down.
Bounty hunter gets offered a big stash of dollars by the CIA to help bring down a terrorist responsible for a horrific Los Angeles cinema bombing. There’s a bonus cash reward if he captures him alive. Random explosions across the city keeping the CIA on there toes. Soon it’s revealed an even bigger act of mass destruction is being planned. The race is on to bring this mad man to justice. Infighting and dodgy goings on within the CIA spills out making our hero bounty hunter’s day even worse.
Does the hero have a day job?
He was a CIA operative but now disillusioned by the untrustworthy organisation. He now works as a, take no shit, bounty hunter with a hatred for cops. “I don’t like cops and they don’t like me!”
What’s our heroes special skills?
All round total badass. He even has his own secret bat-cave filled with surveillance equipment and his own personal arsenal of every military grade weapon you could think of. All perfectly displayed on his wall.
Heroes weapon of choice?
A sawn off pump-action shotgun, cold steel fixed blade, semi-automatic pistol and a hand grenade just in case someone really bad is hungry.
Heroes drink of choice?
Nick like’s whisky, wine and a beer.
Does hero have a sidekick?
He has two side kicks. One a cop, the only cop he likes. Det. Danny Quintz (William Russ) is a close friend he can banter with. The other sidekick is an old CIA agent called Philmore Walker (Robert Guillaume). A trustworthy ally who he’d worked with during his own time with the organisation.
Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
Nick has a squeeze called Terry (Mel Harris) who pops on over to see the softer side of our bounty hunter. He tries to get her in the mood by playing a dodgy tune on his trusty “babe magnet” harmonica. I wasn’t sure where I had seen Mel Harris before? Then it hit me. How could I forget the classic? The Jim Belushi cop drama with his super cool partner Rando (Brannigan) the German Shepherd police dog in K-9 (1989). Mel and her poodle play the love interests. Actually I really have a soft for that film. Please don’t tell anyone!
Who’s the main baddie?
Psychotic terrorist Malak Al Rahim (Gene Simmons).
Baddies special skills?
Insanely long tongue what flutters like a rattle snake tail. He’s also pretty nifty with a makeup brush too. But when he’s not in a quirky mood he organises death, terror and destruction.
Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 9/10
He’s a despicable psychotic individual.
Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 10/10
Nick’s nad’s are the size of his home countries national Edam cheese balls. The added weight makes his anger rise to sky high levels when bad guys come to ruin his day.
Surely it features a training montage scene?
How dare they! Surely the montage should be what 80s dreams are make from but no not today!
Does it feature an impossible mission?
His back is against the wall. His adversary is pure evil. Nick needs to unleash that extra ball power and who’s ever stupid enough to poke Nick’s engorged nut sack is gonna get hit by a wave of pure wrath.
Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
No scenes like Roy Batty prancing about in his underpants here. Rutger still looked in good shape here.
Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
Not even cops sitting around eating Belgian buns!
No hanky panky in this movie. Boo.
Any good totally random surprise scenes?
It was a random scene for me until after the film had finished and I read that Wanted Dead or Alive is a kind of spiritual sequel of sorts to the 50s Steve McQueen series with the same name. I knew of the McQueen TV show and that he played a western bounty hunter but I had no clue it was connected to this. So there I am watching Nick talk to his girlfriend about an old harmonica and retelling a tale of his grandfather, Josh Randall aka Steve McQueen’s character in his show. It did seem a random conversation to have but I just went with it. So there you go, Nick followed in his grandfathers footsteps and became a kick-ass bounty hunter. Anyone remember if Steve McQueen played the harmonica in his show????
Films body count? Low/Medium/High?
Unfortunately very high.
Innocent baddie death rate?
No they all deserved the Nick Randall take downs.
Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
Well I know it was a dummy but man-o-live if that guy falling out the rear window of that car and rolling under the wheels of Nick Randall’s motor was a stunt guy then he surely met his maker.
Any cool car chases?
There’s a pretty intense chase as Nick drives down a jeep carrying a few terrorist firing machines out the back window. With only a little hole in his smashed windscreen Nick plough’s on after them firing off his shotgun. To add to the chase a cop car joins the pursuit. End result? Car-nage!
Philmore Walker – “The next time you fuck me, kiss me first!”
Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
Yep that really is The God of Thunder from heavy metal band KISS. Gene Simmons had played another baddie in a Michael Crichton sci-fi with the Magnum sized tash man Tom Selleck called Runaway (1984). I’m kinda positive I’ve seen it but I’d really like to see that as soon as possible. Might have to be a bonus review later in the year.
Robert Guillaume was everyone’s favourite butler (Batman’s Alfred was a bit pissed about it) Benson DuBois. He also voiced Rafiki the wise mandrill in The Lion King (1994). Also CIA agent John Lipton is played by the very familiar face of Jerry Hardin who among many things will be known as Deep Throat the FBI informant in The X-Files series.
The film is excellently directed by Gary Sherman who I’d thought I’d never heard of until!!! Looking at his filmography I had a few suppressed memories flood back! I’m sure I’ve seen both his early films Dead & Buried (1981) and Death Line (1972) also known as Raw Meat. Terrifying images are trying to escape. Quick change the subject Mikey!…… BOOBIES
Rutger has a few slight cheese moments but they all add to his slightly left-field character. However the dark subject matter keeps it in the low bracket reading.
IMDB score rating – 5.9/10
Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 8.5/10
Wolfman over all film rating – 7/10
I’m so happy I revisited this one. I thought it was excellent. Like many, I’m a big fan of Rutger. He had that amazing quirky quality to him. He easily fitted into any good or bad guy role. Ok he might of squeezed his makers eyeballs out but I always saw Roy Batty as the desperate and disillusioned good guy. Little factoid for you, as a little pre-wolf Mikey I had the exact hair cut as Rutger has in this film.
Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the films if you want but please don’t feel you need to as I know it’s pretty relentless this month. However, most important, have fun with the movies.
Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.
PS. A good little behind the scenes of Wanted Dead or Alive here. Good to see Rutger speaking intensely about how he’s gonna play the part. And a strange one right at the end when a coming soon promo video for the film appears introducing Rutger not as Nick Randall but as Clint McTiege!! Now that’s an 80s action star’s name!