Must See for Hauer Fans
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 10/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I always enjoy watching a movie with Rutger Hauer in the cast. He is a good, sometimes great, actor who often appears in low-grade junk. Moviegoers know him from such stand out films as "Blade Runner" and "The Hitcher," but he is quite capable of turning in excellent performances in movies that, for all intensive purposes, reek. Some movie fans would probably castigate Hauer more than I would for making so many B films, and they would be right to some extent, but at least when this actor shows up in schlock you know you will see something interesting. If you have any doubt as to Hauer's acting skills, look no further than an obscure little film made a few years ago called "Fatherland." There is a scene in that movie where Hauer's character tells his son a story about a watchmaker that comprises one of the most powerful moments I have ever seen in a film. My admiration for this wonderful actor prompted me to recently view this Rutger Hauer double feature DVD. The two films on the disc are 1989's "Blind Fury" and 1995's "Omega Doom.""Blind Fury" is the more recognizable of the two films. Hauer plays Nick Parker, a recently returned Vietnam veteran who went blind due to a combat injury. Afterwards, Parker spent years living in a Vietnamese village learning how to cope with his disability. Several of the men in the settlement taught Parker how to use a sword by relying on his sense of hearing, and through this training the former soldier knows how to get around quite well in the world. Parker's first goal on returning to the United States is to visit his old war buddy Frank Devereaux, a man supposedly living in Florida with his wife and young son. What Nick doesn't know is that his old friend left his family and now faces a heap of trouble after losing at the roulette wheel from a gambling tycoon in Las Vegas. The baddies want Devereaux, a chemist by trade, to whip up a batch of designer drugs that will help the tycoon keep his casino out of the hands of creditors. In order to persuade Frank to help them, the goons attempt to abduct his wife and child. A series of events beginning with Parker's arrival on his friend's doorstep culminates with a showdown between the blind man and Devereaux's enemies in Vegas. Nick also manages to bond with his buddy's son and find some closure about his disability."Blind Fury" is a fun movie, loaded with lots of shoot 'em up violence, nifty swordplay, and great character actors. Along for the ride with Hauer are Randall "Tex" Cobb as the right hand baddie of the tycoon, Terry O'Quinn as Parker's hapless war buddy, Meg Foster in a small role as O'Quinn's wife, and Nick Cassavetes as one of the thugs pursuing Parker. There are more recognizable faces in this movie than there are at a family reunion. Everybody does a good job with their roles, especially Hauer, who looks like he is having a heap of fun playing a blind guy who can wield a sword, drive a van, and generally beat up bad guys. Sure, there are plot holes you can sail a battleship through: why does the tycoon shell out big bucks to hire a sword-wielding assassin if he faces bankruptcy? Moreover, wouldn't be easier to just give up on Devereaux once the trouble with Parker starts instead of sending out waves of hired thugs to kill Nick and Devereaux's family? I could pick "Blind Fury" apart on point after point, but I really don't want to. I liked the movie and if you enjoy Hauer, you will too."Omega Doom" comes from the mind of Albert Pyun, a schlock director who occasionally manages to produce something worthwhile (see "Nemesis" and "The Sword and The Sorcerer" for proof of this claim). In the case of this 1995 Hauer vehicle, Pyun finds himself on shaky ground with a low budget rip-off of the spaghetti western genre set in an apocalyptic future where androids and cyborgs rule most of the planet. Hauer plays Omega Doom, a robot soldier who fought against the armies of the human race before receiving a wound to the head that destroyed his memory. Reconfigured by surviving humans, Omega Doom now roams the wastelands of America hunting down troublesome gangs of robots. The entire movie takes place in one or two buildings in a wasted city, where two groups of robots called droids and roms square off over the rumor of a huge cache of firearms. Both groups wish to acquire guns so they can deal with the potential threat of a renewed offensive by human beings. Omega Doom proceeds to play both groups of robots off of one another while killing off the more hostile machines. Pyun uses the robot characters to examine philosophical questions about destiny, change, and existence. This film is far from great, but it isn't nearly as bad as many people say.Action fans will likely be disappointed with "Omega Doom," as will those viewers looking for lots of flashy special effects. The fact that the "killer" robots resemble Go-Go's guitarist Jane Wieldin with a bad case of vitiligo will certainly cause more laughs than anything else, and the robot known as "The Head" is downright offensive on every level. But if you accept this lack of conventional sci-fi attributes along with a few laughable scenes and cheesy effects, you might just enjoy "Omega Doom." Between "Omega Doom" and "Blind Fury," I think I can recommend this DVD. The picture quality of both films looks good, and extras include a Hauer talent bio and three trailers. Rutger Hauer fans will enjoy this disc."