Raw Deal (1986) Arnold Schwarzenegger Takes On The Mob

This weeks nostalgic look back at the rental movies from my youth brings me to action on the streets of Chicago in Raw Deal (1986)

Tagline – The government gave him a raw deal. Nobody gives him a raw deal! “How bad is that tagline?

Who’s our hero today?
One of the kings of action, the Austrian Oak, Arnold “Arnie” Schwarzenegger flexes his muscles whilst crushing bones with his hammer fists.

Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
Yeah of course, Arnie movies were essential for any self respecting teenager or adult, especially after Terminator (1984) and Commando (1985) and the two Conan films all being multiple renters. To see a new Arnie appear on the shelves was so exciting. The following year Predator (1987) would arrive and shit got real!

Quick plot run down.
Sheriff Mark Kaminski used to work in the FBI before being made to resign and moved out to a small-town. With news reaching him of the death of the son of his old FBI partner Agent Harry Shannon he is asked to help track down the killers. Those killers happen to be part of the Chicago Mob and completely untouchable. Harry needed Mark to infiltrate the Mob and bring the organisation down from within and help him revenge his son’s death. Mark goes deep undercover, changes his name to Joseph P. Brenner and suits up for the job in hand. Of course this will also mean opening a can of whoop ass on a bunch of mobsters and dropping cheesy one liners along the way.

Detective Baker – “What’s the “P” stand for?Joseph P. Brenner – “Pussy!“????

Does the hero have a day job?
Sheriff Mark Kaminski (Arnold Schwarzenegger) uses his tough FBI training skills to give small-time felons the cold hand of justice in his newly demoted small town job. He’s reasonably happy cleaning up the place from the criminals as the local overweight cops watch on as superman goes to work. However his home life is less than ideal. His wife has become an alcoholic after having to leaving her family and friends in the City after Mark lost his job.

What’s our heroes special skills?
One special skill is to blend in, to fit in and not look suspicious in any way. How does he do that you may ask? Well simples, he dyes his hair dark and slicks it back. Not sure if that was to make him look Italian? or just bad ass?

Heroes weapon of choice?
Shotguns, a variety of side arms, Uzi and his trusty promo poster gun, the Heckler & Koch HK94 and of course pure muscle strength.

Heroes drink of choice?
If his character is anything like his big Austrian roots then like our Arnie he would be smashing back one litre sized beer stein’s and adding the next Oktoberfest to his diary. Say in Arnie’s voice – “Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer.

Does hero have a sidekick?
His old colleague and friend from the FBI Agent Harry Shannon (Darren McGavin). He has the resources to fund Mark’s infiltration into the organisation. Fancy suits, massive cigars and a few pots of Dax hair pomade (This is not a sponsor, other hair products available). He organises from the sidelines with surveillance and records the developments.

Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
Monique (Kathryn Harrold) likes the finer things in life but can’t resist gambling all her money away. She doesn’t have luck on her side. Until she bumps into undercover Arnie. She might not get lucky with him but she does get to unleash some stored up tension. She’s not afraid to get her hands dirty. Dismantling a mannequin she swings out at attacking gangsters with arms and a “severed” head. Kathryn Harrold is great in her part, forever chain smoking and adding, at times, a little bit of comedy between the twosome.

Who’s the main baddie?
Luigi Patrovita (Sam Wanamaker) is the high up crime boss of the Chicago mafia. His right-hand man is Paulo Rocca (Paul Shenar) who runs his lieutenant hit man Max Keller (Robert Davi).

Baddies special skills?
Money, power and many inside corrupt cops, lawyer etc on the payroll.

Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 7/10
There’s a lot of them which has to bump up the score. Head boss man on his own actually doesn’t do much at all though is that what being the boss is all about? Send in the minions.

Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 9/10
He goes full Terminator. Actually literally. He dons the black leather jacket whilst blasting his way in like the T-800 carnaged its way through the police station.

Surely it features a training montage scene?
Not a training one but we do get a weapon-up montage in a riff, rip-off of his Commando gearing up for war. Just without Bazookas and Claymore mines.

Does it feature an impossible mission?
Is any mission impossible with Arnie on the case? He’s taken on alien hunters, clones of himself, robots from the future, Satan, Sinbad and Batman. The Mob should be a push over for him.

Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
Any chance he can grab his Stanley Kowalski wife beater vest and pop those guns out, we all know he’s gonna take it.

Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
Diddly squat I’m afraid to report, though Monique does reveal a few tasteful cleavage shots.

Sex scene?
No nothing at all. Oh wait, hang on. Monique wants a piece of that man mountain. Both drunk she takes off his shirt to reveal his pecs. “Oh… my… God!” she says just as Mark instantly passes out.

Any good totally random surprise scenes?
I can’t think of any to be honest. Could add Mark’s drunk wife pissed at him, as she writes shit on a cake before throwing it at him. “You shouldn’t drink and bake!” Yeah that’s another real bad one liner from our Arnie…

Films body count? Low/Medium/High
Has to be high 30s?

Best death scene?
Easy this one. I don’t know if it was intentional but to have The Rolling Stones playing as a baddie falls from a crane into a rolling stone boulder compactor in a quarry was genius or a lucky accident? Also funny how he took the time to record over the actually cassette tape he puts in the car stereo which had The Crusaders – Street Life written on it.

Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
We get the mother of all explosions at an oil refinery. TBH thinking back I have no idea why he did it? Maybe to pretend he had died, it was a bit excessive. It took out the whole factory processing plant lighting up the sky for miles…

How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
Some of the punches being thrown about did look to connect at times and heads hitting walls sure looked like they had to hurt. I’d guess no deaths but some black eyes and bruised cheekbones.

Best Lines

A Hitman – “So you wanna be a witness?… Witness This!

Mark Kaminski – Who do you think I look like? Dirty Harry!

Monique –The only way you’ll ever end up lying next to me, Max, is if we’re run down by the same car.

Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
There’s many. I’ll quickly do a few.

  • We’ve got Darren McGavin aka the Carl Kolchak The Night Stalker. Also he’s Billy Madison’s Dad and can be seen in Dead Heat (1988) along with many things.
  • Detective Baker on the case trying to figure why all the bodies keep stacking up is Ed Lauter. Such a familiar face. Can’t list them all but here’s a few films. The Longest Yard (1974) with Burt Reynolds, the rival family feud of Lolly-Madonna XXX (1973), a few Charles Bronson’s films like Breakheart Pass (1975) and The White Buffalo (1977).
  • And I’ll finish with Robert Davi. You would of seen him in Action Jackson (1988), Die Hard (1988) in a Bond film with License To Kill (1989) to the opera singing bad guy in the brilliant family favourite, The Goonies (1985)

Production Credits
Raw Deal is directed by British filmmaker John Irvin. He made many films, nothing really outstanding but all pretty enjoyable nonetheless. The Dogs of War (1980), Hamburger Hill (1987) Robin Hood (1991) but what may be the best is the superb John Le Carre series with Alex Guinness in the cold war saga of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Raw Deal was produced by Dino De Laurentiis. I’ve read that he had Arnie caught up in a multi-picture agreement that Arnie was desperate to be released from. Dino De Laurentiis also had the rights for Total Recall (1990) but did not want Arnie in the part, instead he was gunning for Patrick Swayze. With Raw Deal performing badly at the box office it resulted in Dino De Laurentiis going bankrupt and having to sell the rights of Total Recall which also released Arnie from his contract. With the new Total Recall bought by Carolco Pictures Arnie would be moving in and the rest is history so they say.

Cheese-O-Meter! Low/Medium/High?
A semi hard (oooh matron) medium cheese like a Gouda I’d say.

IMDB score rating – 5.6/10

Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 7/10

Wolfman over all film rating – 6/10

Closing thoughts………………………………………….
Truth be told I didn’t like Raw Deal that much back in the day. It was kind of boring and a messy confusing plot. This was the 2nd time of seeing it after all those years. 35 years ago! It’s much better than I remembered but you can see why, other than the iconic poster image that many had on their bedroom walls, this one is not one of Arnies best. However it still a lot of fun to be had when you sit back with a few brewski’s and just let it run.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the film if you want. But most importantly have fun with the movies.

Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.

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