The credit sequence for Raw Deal is sadly a case of promising something that you never really get.After a pre-credits sequence where we see a mob informant, sheltering in a lakeside cottage with his police protectors, wiped out; we then cut to Mark (Arnold Schwarzenegger) a sheriff of a small podunk town, in a pick-up truck pursuing a fugitive who has stolen a police motorcycle. This chase takes place through the local fields, country roads and finally through a log refinery with the bike riding above him on the logpiles. All this is scored with a cheery little country and western song that gives the gleeful little scene a perky and peppy bounce - until Mark casually lights a pool of oil that he's spilled in front of the thief.
Sadly, the film never really hits those heights again. Instead, we see Mark called up by an old bureau colleague to infiltrate the mob boss that killed the informant and the police officers - one of which was his son. From this point on, the film loses all the cheeky brio of the credit sequence and becomes a nondescript action thriller. It's full of bad suits, bad music and bad guys (including an early appearance from Robert Davi) that look like they've stepped off the set of an episode of Columbo.
It's also one of Ahnuld's lesser roles. He doesn't get any memorable one-liners beloved by so many (although his exclamation of "He murdered, molested and mutilated her!" is worth your time alone) and we have to endure the gruesome sight of him trying to act both drunk and seductive at the same time. Trust me, it's not pretty. Instead, he's pretty much a walking, talking Basil Exposition with every other line a convenient plot update for those not paying attention. At one point he scoffs that he's not Dirty Harry, to which we can all agree.
The only time that the film snaps into life again and tries anything even remotely original is when Mark customises his truck and drives around a construction site wiping out bad guys as he goes. Ahnuld does this with his usual impassive and stony face, which contrasts quite marvellously to the fact that the Stones' version of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction is blasting out of his car radio all the while. Unfortunately, the film never gets as witty as this again, and the film ends the way most Arnie films do, with him blasting away at dozens of villains while barely suffering a scratch himself. It's when you watch films like this that you realise just what a breath of fresh air Bruce Willis and Die Hard truly was. At one point, it seems like the film is going to descend into some welcome black humour as the remaining mobsters start shrieking and quaking in their boots at the thought of just one man coming to get them - but none of the four writers are clever enough to realise how ludicrous that particular scenario is and exploit it for comic material. A real shame.Arnie has made far worse films than this and if you're in a particularly undemanding mood, there are worse films to pass your time with. But from the generic title onwards, it never really sparks into life, except for that wonderful little credit sequence. I could watch that all day long.