Arnold Schwarzenegger was one of the most recognisable faces of action cinema during the latter part of the twentieth century. He was arguably the biggest box office pull at one stage and his muscle-bound image became part of popular culture. Most of his early films follow a similar pattern. His dialogue was restricted (due to his strong accent) and there was an emphasis on his physicality. In Raw Deal he’s given more to do, for good or ill.
After being dishonourably discharged from the FBI for excessive use of force, Mark Kaminski (Schwarzenegger) is demoted to the position of sheriff in a small town. With his wife hitting the bottle and his career in tatters, he’s in despair. That changes when his old boss, Harry Shannon (Darren McGavin) appears out of the blue and persuades him to go undercover, off the books, to take down a crime boss (Sam Wanamaker).
There’s quite a lot going for Raw Deal. It has some amusing caricatures, decent action sequences and an interesting, if unoriginal, plot. And their lies the main problem with John Irvin’s gangster drama. Not only is it generic to a fault, it also requires the plot to move from a to b without a great amount of rhyme or reason. It also requires Arnie to do quite a bit of exposition, which is a mistake. Having said that, if you’re after a slice of throwaway ‘80s crime hoodoo, then you could do worse than Raw Deal.
Arnold Schwarzenegger – The Man Who Raised Hollywood
Raw Deal – a Generic Gangster Movie
The 4k restoration of Raw Deal is released on 4K UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD by Studiocanal on 24 October.