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Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Most Underrated Film: A Closer Look at ‘Raw Deal’

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a name synonymous with action-packed, high-octane films. From his breakout role in “Conan the Barbarian” to his iconic performances in “The Terminator” and “Predator,” Schwarzenegger has solidified himself as one of the greatest action stars in Hollywood history. However, one film that often gets overlooked in his filmography is “Raw Deal.” Released in 1986, “Raw Deal” is a gritty and underrated action thriller that showcases Schwarzenegger’s acting chops and physical prowess in a different light.

In “Raw Deal,” Schwarzenegger plays Mark Kaminsky, a former FBI agent who is forced to resign after he goes against orders in a botched undercover operation. Disgraced and bitter, Kaminsky takes on a new identity as Joseph P. Brenner, a small-town sheriff in a sleepy Midwest town. However, when the son of a powerful mob boss is murdered, Kaminsky is recruited by the FBI to go undercover once again and take down the mob from the inside.

One of the reasons why “Raw Deal” is often overlooked in Schwarzenegger’s filmography is because it was released in a time when the action genre was dominated by larger-than-life characters and high-concept storylines. “Raw Deal” is a more grounded and realistic film compared to Schwarzenegger’s other movies, but this is what makes it stand out from the rest. The film is gritty, intense, and full of suspense, with Schwarzenegger delivering a surprisingly nuanced performance as a flawed and complex character.

The action sequences in “Raw Deal” are also top-notch, with Schwarzenegger showcasing his trademark physicality and charisma in every scene. From shootouts to car chases to hand-to-hand combat, the film is a thrill ride from start to finish. Director John Irvin does a fantastic job of building tension and suspense throughout the film, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Another reason why “Raw Deal” is often underrated is because it didn’t perform as well at the box office as some of Schwarzenegger’s other films. Critics and audiences at the time were divided on the film, with some praising Schwarzenegger’s performance and the action sequences, while others criticized the plot and pacing. However, looking back on it now, “Raw Deal” is a hidden gem that deserves more recognition for its solid storytelling and intense action.

In addition to Schwarzenegger’s performance, “Raw Deal” boasts a strong supporting cast that includes Kathryn Harrold as Kaminsky’s wife, Sam Wanamaker as the mob boss, and Darren McGavin as the FBI agent who recruits Kaminsky. The chemistry between the actors is palpable, and each character is given their own motivations and arcs, adding depth and dimension to the overall story.

The film’s screenplay, written by Luciano Vincenzoni and Sergio Donati, is tight and well-paced, with sharp dialogue and plenty of twists and turns to keep the audience guessing. The film’s soundtrack, composed by Chris Boardman, perfectly complements the action on-screen, adding to the tension and excitement of each scene.

Overall, “Raw Deal” may not be as flashy or high-concept as some of Schwarzenegger’s other films, but it is a solid and underrated entry in his filmography that showcases his acting range and physicality in a different light. The film is a gritty and intense action thriller that is sure to satisfy fans of the genre, as well as those looking for a more nuanced and character-driven story.


Q: Is “Raw Deal” based on a true story?

A: No, “Raw Deal” is a work of fiction. The film’s plot and characters were created by screenwriters Luciano Vincenzoni and Sergio Donati.

Q: How did “Raw Deal” perform at the box office?

A: “Raw Deal” was not a box office success, grossing only $16.2 million against a budget of $8-9 million. Critics and audiences were divided on the film, with some praising Schwarzenegger’s performance and the action sequences, while others criticized the plot and pacing.

Q: Does “Raw Deal” have any sequels or spin-offs?

A: No, “Raw Deal” does not have any sequels or spin-offs. The film stands alone as a standalone entry in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s filmography.

Q: Where can I watch “Raw Deal”?

A: “Raw Deal” is available for streaming on various platforms, including Amazon Prime Video and iTunes. The film is also available on DVD and Blu-ray for purchase.

Q: What are some other underrated Arnold Schwarzenegger films?

A: Some other underrated Arnold Schwarzenegger films include “The Running Man,” “End of Days,” and “The Last Stand.” Each of these films showcases different aspects of Schwarzenegger’s acting range and physicality, making them worth a watch for fans of the action genre.

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