Rare Talent But Not Well Done
DeLaurentiis managed to bring in some quality talent for the “Raw Deal” production, even if they managed to fall prey to the producer’s usual curse. He chose Norman Wexler, the script writer he worked with on one of his few success stories, “Serpico”, but Wexler was unfortunately joined with another Dino acolyte, the Italian writer Sergio Donati, creator of the infamous Bo Derek vehicle “Orca”. John Irvin was brought in as director, and his good work on “Dogs of War” and “Ghost Story” was not enough to elevate this fiasco. (In fact, Irvin may have become corrupted after directing this film as he later went on to lead Patrick Swayze in “Next of Kin”.)
As much as this movie is little more than a shoot-‘em-up revenge picture, there is a hint of an interesting story, for the first ten minutes at least. Considering where Schwarzenegger was in his career, this follow up to “Commando” was fine for him, but the rest of the guys are really slumming here. The story opens at a remote cabin where the FBI has a man in their care who is a mafia informant, but the mobsters show up, killing the agents, the witness—and even shooting up the cabin to ensure that it won’t appear in court.
Next we move to a small North Carolina town where Arnold is Sheriff Mark Kaminsky. I’m sorry, but when I see Schwarzenegger I do not see him as a “Mark”. Anyway, he is working in this bog because he got in trouble as an FBI agent when he roughed up a witness. Hollywood has a blatant disdain for the Deep South and this movie is no exception, as we are taught that it is severe punishment to be ostracized to this locale. Mark seems pleased enough with the surroundings, but his wife is not dealing with it too well. He comes home to see her woozily frosting a cake as she slugs bourbon, and after some pleasant conversation, she explodes about how she hates where they live, throwing the cake at Mark. He proclaims to his lush of a bride, “You should not drink and bake.”
Mark is soon contacted by his former boss, Harry, who needs some help back in Chicago. One of the agents killed in the cabin was Harry’s son and, as expected, he wants revenge, only he doesn’t want to dirty his own hands. Since Mark is already a pariah, Harry says he would be perfect for his convoluted reprisal. He will give Mark $45,000 cash to erase his past, move to the city, infiltrate the Chicago mob, and kill those responsible for the shooting. Even though this is a plan no one knows about and involves many illegalities, Harry says there is a chance Mark can get back into the FBI afterwards, and this seems to make sense to the sheriff.
The first order of business has Mark driving out to an oil refinery in the middle of the night. He parks his cruiser inside, spills some petrol around and shoots off a flare, igniting his car…and then some fuel tanks. And eventually the entire plant explodes. Thus a major business has been eliminated and most of the local economy has been wiped out, just for the purpose of Kaminsky faking his death.
Get the rest of the story in part five of MILK CARTON CINEMA: “RAW DEAL”>>>
Posted on October 28, 2003 in Features by Brad Slager
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