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Monday, January 21, 2013

Hands of Steel (1986)


One of the pitfalls of buying movie box sets (ie- ones with 50 movies in them), is that sometimes, not all of the movies are of the genre advertised on the box.  Such was the case with the second of the January 16th "What Movie Wednesday" winners, "Hands of Steel".

After attempting to assault the leader of an environmental movement, a drifter named Paco flees to the deserts of Arizona, and meets Linda.  Soon, the corporation that sent Paco after the environmentalist, is on his trail to silence.  Too bad for them, Paco is more than a mere human...

"Hands of Steel" is more sci-fi/action than horror... though the surprise ending does have a bit of a horror touch to it.  Generally, though, this movie is more or less a cheap knock off of the much better movie, "The Terminator."  I liked the idea of a killer cyborg attempting to break away from their programming to begin a new life, but I wondered why a practically indestructible cyborg would run away, rather than just going to his corporate masters and knocking them off.  That's what I would've done, to be honest.

The story also suffered from a lot of cliches as well.  The scene of Paco fixing his arm seemed too much like the scene where Arnold does it- right down to the same sort of construction of pistons, etc.  There's also the cliche of the big, burly enemy who gets defeated in an arm wrestling match showing up later to help the hero. Plus, there's the main villian killing off henchmen for failing to kill Paco.  It was a good premise smothered in too much cheese sauce.

The characters didn't exactly help much either.  Of the characters, the only one I liked was Linda- played by Janet Agren.  I just couldn't get behind the hero, Paco OR the villian.  They were just too... bland.

There were a couple of decent actors in this movie though.  The above mentioned Janet Argen as Linda, for instance.  She brought a toughness and wit to her character that I liked.  And while I thought the character of the villian was bland, I did like John Saxon's performance.  It was on par with his role as Nancy's dad in "A Nightmare on Elm Street" (1984).  I felt that Daniel Greene, as Paco tried too hard to be emotionless like Arnold's Terminator when the character actually required him to feel.  When he did express anguish at the thought of Linda being dead, he over acted before going right back to being emotionless and stiff.

The camera work isn't very innovative, and is fairly standard for action films from the 1980's.  While I did enjoy the action sequences (there's a fair number of them), they weren't as energetic as they could have been.

I wouldn't really recommend this to others, nor will I voluntarily re-watch "Hands of Steel", so I'm going to place it in The Ugly

Special Shout Out:

I want to thank everyone that voted in the January 16th "What Movie Wednesday", and especially those that voted for "Hands of Steel":

Leona Biron-Coulter
Matthew Little (from "The Wayward Tarheel")
Zoey Emily Onyx

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will take place on January 23, 2013.

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