johnlink ranks RAW DEAL (1986)

It has been a hectic August, to say the least. Haven’t watched much of anything, but  needed something mindless for the evening. RAW DEAL is one of the few 80s Schwarzenegger films I had yet to see.


I watched RAW DEAL (1986) on 8.13.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

After an opening bathed in fake blood and 80s style machine guns, RAW DEAL introduces us to small town sheriff Mark Kaminksy (Arnold Schwarzenegger). He was an FBI agent, but some bogus accusation forced him to resign and live a small town life. His wife (Blanche Baker) is an alcoholic who resents their new life. While this may have been set up for the sole purpose of allowing Schwarzenegger to deliver the all-time-great line “Don’t drink and bake”, it also is an obvious example of the weakness of this script.

Because, soon after having a cake thrown at him by his wife, Kaminsky is recruited to secretly rejoin the FBI. He fakes his own death, not even telling his wife. He spends the rest of the movie having a not-quite-lovers relationship with a girl Kathryn Harrold), which he never consummates because of his undying love for his wife. Who we never see again. Even at the end when, instead of that reunion, we see Kaminsky’s reunion with a different friend.

But that is not what this movie is really about. RAW DEAL is a movie about Arnie kicking butt in a revenge story (though the revenge is someone other than Arnie’s). He kicks said butt in many scenes, almost all of which are set up in a silly way and which barely deliver on any kind of action. The fight choreography in this is bored and less than impactful. A couple of scenes, like a shooting at an airport from a bus, are decent enough to have their desired effect. Otherwise, this is a movie which never rises to the level of the great Schwarzenegger classics from the 80s like TERMINATOR, PREDATOR, or (the more directly related) COMMANDO.

Arnie is also figuring out how to act. He has plenty of awkward delivery and a whole bunch of stiff walking which feels like he never left the Terminator role. Opposite him is Agent Harry Shannon, played by Darren McGavin (who 90s fans would recognize as Billy Madison’s Dad). McGavin is surprisingly good in this, providing the only convincing acting in the entire film. He has several good scenes during which the filmmakers chose to not even show the typical reaction of the film’s hero, because there would be no way for Arnie to match the ability of McGavin.

Look. RAW DEAL is not a good movie. It is at the bottom of the Schwarzenegger barrel. See it once to be a completest, but don’t feel like you need to rush. I’d personally much rather that I had watched any number of his films again rather than seeing this a first time.



The negative bonus point is for lazy fight choreography.


FINAL SCORE: 3.25 out of 10.

~ by johnlink00 on August 14, 2014.

6 Responses to “johnlink ranks RAW DEAL (1986)”

  1. Watching Raw Deal is a raw deal. I saw it in the theater….. 😦

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