Raw Deal is the second installment of an unofficial trilogy involving cops taking down Chicago mobsters. The other bookends would be Code of Silence and Above the Law, each features an action icon from the eighties and bad guys who drive big Cadillacs, and wear expensive suits. Raw Deal is the weakest link in the chain, not because of Schwarzenegger or the direction from John Irvin, but rather an overly complicated screenplay that jettisons sub-plots and characters for easy set-ups and lazy pay-offs.
Mark Kaminsky (Schwarzenegger) is a former F.B.I. agent forced to resign under pressure of being prosecuted on trumped-up charges from an overly ambitious and corrupt senator. Now, presiding over a small town as sheriff Kaminsky is offered a chance to redeem himself and get revenge for the death of his mentor’s son. He is tasked with infiltrating a powerful mafia family and staring a gangland war that would wipe out the city’s organize crime element.
Adorned in tailored linens and shiny jewelry, Arnold works his way into the mob, developing a relationship with his rival’s (Robert Davi) ex-girlfriend (Kathryn Harrold). When the figure-head of the family decides to rob a police storage unit holding $100 million worth of cocaine, Kaminsky is forced to act quickly to save himself, the department and the life of his mentor.
Raw Deal looks great and presents a very appealing role for Schwarzenegger. Dressed to the hilt with slicked back hair, Arnold handles the role and makes you wish they had given him a better script. One-liners, humor and a focused storyline are absent from this standard 1980’s shoot-em up. A few well-timed transition shots are off-set by a rushed third act that struggles to tidy up the plot threads while still delivering the action audiences have waited 100 minutes for.
Director: John Irvin
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Darren McGavin, Robert Davi