As a massive Arnie fan I was pretty happy to get a copy of Raw Deal on Blu-Ray from Universal for review. Sure, this film may not be up there with Terminator or Predator but this was a movie I grew up with and getting a new HD transfer was always a positive.
Dismissed some time ago from the FBI, Mark Kaminsky is contacted by his old boss, Shannon, whose son has been murdered. Determined to find the assassin, Shannon needs Kaminsky's help and offers to re-instate him if he is successful. Kaminsky assumes a new identity and moves to Chicago where he ingratiates himself with the underworld. To be successful, it is vital he is accepted by the gangsters...
There are some great scenes, and perhaps more importantly on-liners from Arnie, littered throughout this movie. Who can ever forget Mark's wife drinking and baking a cake, with Arnie coming up with "You should not drink and bake!". Can you ever forget Arnie driving around in the Cadillac to Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" blowing away everyone. How about "Joseph P. Brennan. What's the P. stand for?"... "Pussy". Then there's Arnie's attempt at saying "Molested, murdered, and mutilated" which comes out as "molesdead, murdered, and moo-dah-lay-ded". Classic stuff...
But this isn't just about the on-liners. The movie has a decent enough plot with Arnold's character needing to infiltrate the mafia before exacting revenge for the killing of an old friends son. Of course it gets bloody, and the action, by today’s standards, is a little dull, but the body count is high and there is still plenty of entertainment to be had with a decent, and believable, supporting cast.
Having said that Raw Deal isn't one of Arnie's most memorable movies, and it falls pretty flat in places, but it does have a decent amount of action and if you haven't checked it out then we suggest you grab some beers and pizzas and spend an evening enjoying this ride.
Raw Deal is presented on Blu-Ray in the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and uses the AVC MPEG-4 video codec for compression. Now this film has never looked great in any home release, but here it's fairly good with natural colours, and fairly decent shadow detail. Some scenes appear a little soft but we suspect that was the original negative, not the encoding for this disc.
The video on this disc does, however, demonstrate several problems as well. There is certainly some telecine wobble in places which will be noticeable and somewhat distracting. The film print is pretty clean but we did notice a new marks and dirt on occasion. While it's not reference quality it's not a bad release either.
Other audio tracks on this disc includes a French DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (16-bit/48Khz) as well as German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Castilian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 tracks. We only sampled each briefly but they seemed to do the job. Subtitles are presented in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish and Russian. Strangely, unless we're going mental there are no subtitles in English and there is no way to access subtitles throguh the menus, only through the subtitle setting on your Blu-Ray player.
There has never been a big special edition for this movie, and again this Blu-Ray disc only has a couple of light extras, the highlight being the new documentary.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the man who raised Hollywood (15:38/HD): This is the same extra found on the Red Heat and Red Sonja Blu-Ray discs, but is a good look at Arnold's early years in Hollywood and how he became such a superstar with a string of hits. There are plenty of interviews with workmates from many of his films.
Raw Deal: A Generic Gangster Film (9:00/HD): This interview sees a discussion about what Raw Deal was, how it ripped of Arnie's other films and how it fits into the movies of the time. Worth a look.
Trailers (1:51): A really low quality trailer for the film which isn't even presented in the original aspect ratio and chops off the sides of the footage.
Video and Audio calibration: Some really basic audio and video calibration tools which you may want to run if you've never tested your system before, but don't expect much. A nice little addition though.
Review By: Dave Warner