80's Action Classic
By Joseph Kuby
from Colne, Lancashire, England
, 10 Mar 2005
This film is one of the best action films of all time.
As usual, the film has its mix of dark humour and relentless action courtesy of Arnold with a list of quotes that are equally as paraphrasable as anything read in the bible (think more on the lines of Commando and Terminator 2).
The story is well told, the acting is very good, the soundtrack is well-composed & cool on numerous occasions and the action scenes are directed with the usual panache one can expect from someone who directed Hamburger Hill, When Trumpets Fade (a.k.a. Hamburger Hill 2), Shiner, Robin Hood (the one with Patrick Bergin not the Kevin Costner one), The Dogs Of War (with Christopher Walken from Pulp Fiction) and Next Of Kin (with Patrick Swayze and Liam Neeson).
The last scene which takes place in the boss' club is one of the best ever action sequences ever shot on celluloid - yes, even on an equal level with Hong Kong films. The choreography, camerawork and editing of the whole affair is sublime. Please note that this film was released in the year of 1986 - the same year John Woo went into production for A Better Tomorrow and Raw Deal was released before the other was made.
Whilst it may not be a film made on the same scale as the Terminator and Conan films, the carefully handled skill of the action set pieces more than makes up for it.
A classic genre film manages to become more than a classic of its genre and transcend its limitations to become a classic of cinema in general, and this film is one of them.
A classic film has memorable iconography and ideas which you associate with it unlike any other - especially if it presents an original idea or two.
Here, the idea is to essentially have a protagonist take on a series of henchmen whilst listening to music. In this case, Arnold dressed in a black leather jacket with black jeans & black shoes, driving in a cool, white & open-roof car (whose front shield has been knocked out so he can shoot more easily and without getting damaged by the glass) whilst being armed with an arsenal of weaponary as he drives around a gravel pit/construction area to the tune of The Rolling Stones 60's classic Can't Get No Satisfaction - a masterpiece!
Equally riveting is the packing scene, a familar scene in the Arnold canon of films where he 'gets ready' by packing everything but the kitchen sink in terms of weaponary and/or combat gear. In this case, he's in his bedroom room, getting dressed and really overloading his black bag (which resembles a mini body bag) with this nifty but kinda cheesy 80's tune playing in the background which really helps to build the momentum for the inevitable final showdown.
Speaking of 80's music, the film features some classic tunes with those familiar with the era (for old viewers it will provide nostalgia whereas for the new ones there will be a hint for familiarity).
The film also manages to be just as touching as exciting and just as in-depth as fun!
Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the best actors all time - just because his career is based on action films doesn't detract from the quality of his performances. A comment which can easily be attributed to the best action stars of all time (who've transcended the term/label 'action star') such as Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Leung Kar Yan.
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