A by-the-numbers action flick featuring a stern Arnold Schwarzenegger, Raw Deal has all the traditional traits of the genre. Schwarzenegger is a disgraced former FBI agent who winds up as sheriff of a backwater Southern to... more »wn. He is given a chance to reclaim his job when the head of the Bureau offers him reinstatement if he'll go undercover to capture the mob boss responsible for killing his son. Schwarzenegger must get close enough to gain the trust of the gangster without being discovered as a mole, while gathering enough evidence to take him down. One of Schwarzenegger's early films, in which he honed his persona, Raw Deal offers up the usual quotient of gun battles and tough talk, with a trace of self-deprecating humor from its star, making it reasonably worthwhile entertainment. --Robert Lane« less
"Let's face it - schlock as an art form has its place in our culture. Schlock takes many forms, from formulaic teen comedies, weepy romantic `comedies' and the trying-to-be-serious-but-looking-positively-ridiculous hard-boiled cops `n' robbers movie.
Raw Deal is the latter. Taken in a slightly different direction (and with an entirely different cast) the script might produce something dark, gripping, and ultimately rewarding. But watching John Irving's vision of Raw Deal is rewarding in its own way - lots and lots of unintentional laughs, not to mention a seemingly never-ending clatter of empty shell casings. If you like Ah-nuld pre- "Eraser," when his characters were given more leeway to act like, well, a muscle-bound Austrian playing the John Wayne role without a hint of shame, Raw Deal is an outstanding film.
As I said before, the plot could have been believable, but there's no real concern with reality here, and that works in the film's favor. The current Governor of California is a small-town sheriff in an unhappy marriage, having been removed from "The Agency" (gamely represented here by a super frumpy Darrin McGavin as some kind of rogue FBI boss named Shannon). Well, wouldn't you know it, Arnie's former boss loses a son to gangsters. To quote Mayor Quimby , "Those wacky gangsters. What're ya gonna do?" Well, Shannon decides to enlist the Terminator off the books to terminate those wacky gangsters.
But the termination comes not in the "Commando" mold of seek-and-destroy, but in possibly the least logical way possible - Mr. Schwartzenegger goes undercover in the Chicago mob. I'm no organized crime expert, but I somehow get the sense that the mob, whether Italian, Chinese, or Russian, tends to recruit from within. Walk-ons must be extremely suspect, especially if they look like escapees from WWE Raw (or the WWF, during the time this film was shot). But the mob honchos accept him with open arms, and the rest of the film is Arnold knocking the mob down piece by piece from the inside.
The film really shines in its cartoony portrayal of gun violence, where more rounds are fired per scene than in a comparable day in Iraq. Sometimes the bullets hit, and then get ready for mobsters falling off of cranes, mobsters falling down stairs, and mobsters blowing up inside their cars. My absolute favorite moment of the film comes towards the end. Arnold has just wasted an entire room of baddies, and is setting off in pursuit of the main bad guy. The main bad guy leaves one poor schmoe, let's call him `Gangster #37' at the staircase. Gangster #37 fumbles with his weapon and says something like "Bring it on! I'm going to go crazy and kill you!" Arnold just walks around the corner and wastes him. Well, at least Gangster #37's heart was in the right place.
So, if you like Arnold, and you like the idea of the mob getting its comeuppance in a hail of gunfire, check out Raw Deal. You won't be disappointed. "
Early Ah-nold yarn worth checking out
N. Durham | Philadelphia, PA | 08/30/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After finding sucess with Conan the Barbarian and the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in this half decent action yarn playing a disgraced FBI Agent called back into duty to go undercover to track a mob boss. The script, directing, action, and so forth are pretty routine for an 80's action movie, but good 'ol Arnold's magnetic charm keeps Raw Deal rolling even when it seems it's about to fall apart. The cast also includes longtime Law & Order vet Steven Hill, and most of the rest of the cast is pretty forgettable. Still worth checking out though for Arnold afficiondos who missed out on it."
Good Arnie Flick
Hans | US | 12/24/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, the script needed a little help. In many places it was rather corny, but oh well. I don't think that most people view these types of films for the literary experience. The action at the end of the movie is worth the price of the video. A good final shoot-out. I always feel better after watching this scene. It's good for venting. Arnie takes them all out in a fierce gun battle. Rather excilerating."
Schwarzenegger Leads This Genre
Thom Carey | Yonkers, NY United States | 10/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Of all the 'get burnt, get even' types of movies, Arnold leads the pack! He's huge, he's tough, you can hurt him but can't kill him, but best of all, he metes out the justice and punishment better than anyone. You'll walk away from this movie feeling satisfied and empowered. High five, Arnold!!!"
P. Whitlock | Pikesville, Maryland United States | 10/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As the Chicago Mafia attempts to murder witnesses who could incriminate them in court, Mark Kaminsky, a former FBI agent (Arnold Schwarzenegger), attempts to infiltrate the organization and root out the assassins. It's time for dues to be paid ... "Ah-nuld" style! Kathryn Harrold, Ed Lauter, Darren McGavin and Sam Wanamaker co-star."