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Blind Fury
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by Jack Sommersby

"Not Even Rutger Hauer Can Save the Day"
2 stars

Starts out adequately but soon crumbles from the rickety scripting.

The perpetually dumb action-comedy Blind Fury is quite the disappointment coming from the gifted Australian director Phillip Noyce who just the year before gave us the dynamite high-seas thriller Dead Calm that was chock-full of psychological suspense and inventive camerawork for a movie that consisted of only three characters taking place on two separate yachts. With the invaluable help from fellow Aussie cinematographer Dean Semler working in widescreen Panavision, Noyce gave us a thoroughly sophisticated production that grabbed you from the onset and didn't relinquish that hold until the finish; what an auspicious impression Noyce managed to make with this barely-marketed picture - it was the very definition of a true "sleeper." So I was revved for his follow-up Blind Fury only to realize by the twenty- minute mark that it just wasn't working. It appears the screenwriter, Charles Robert Carner, thought his catchy story premise - that of blind Vietnam War veteran Nick Parker (played by Rutger Hauer) determined to rescue his old military buddy from a Reno, Nevada, mobster and his itchy-triggered henchman - alone was enough to carry the day what with the hero's physical handicap, but the plotting is ridiculously lame and the characters no great shakes. Nick was an MIA in Vietnam after being visually-impaired from a mortar attack on his firebase; rather than captured by the Vietcong he was taken in by altruistic villagers who nursed him back to health and taught him expert warrior skills with a razor-sharp sword hidden in a walking cane. With highly-sensitized aural acuity Nick is shown at the beginning effortlessly fighting off some Hispanic punks in a Miami bar, and he progresses from there to the home of a buddy he hasn't seen in the twenty years since the war; it turns out the man is being held hostage by a financially overleveraged crime boss who's kidnapped him to produce a high-end designer drug whose inevitable profits will get him straight with his creditors. After the buddy's estranged wife is slain in her home, Nick befriends the young son and the two are off to Reno to rescue his dad. Granted, Dead Calm didn't exactly have the sturdiest of scripts (there were a few gaping logic loopholes), but Noyce's bravura execution helped glide over this; here, working with a bigger budget and a formulaic story he doesn't bring much to the party this time around - he's going through the motions without so much as a whisper of distinction so as to appease your average cinema-attending popcorn-muncher. (He took a great deal of chances in Dead Calm whereas Blind Fury is eighty-nine minutes of unadultered, undistinguished fluff). The lighting is handsome and the editing smooth, yet they're at the service of painfully episodic bits that don't add up to much - the whole thing is almost TV-movie-like in its plasticity. After vernacular villainous turns as the international terrorist in Nighthawks and the nomadic psychopath in The Hitcher it's nice to see Hauer succeed in partaking in light comedy for once, and he's very appealing, make no mistake, but his Nick Parker isn't the life of the party as intended due to the lackluster writing not providing much of a characterization with some girth. Hauer does a whole lot more for Blind Fury than it remotely does for him. Utterly generic and superfluous, it wears out its welcome with enough mendacious mediocrity so as to make even an insurance seminar seem like a more worthy event for your undivided attention.

Its star did a considerably better heroic turn in "Ladyhawke."

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originally posted: 10/29/20 06:15:10
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  16-Mar-1990 (R)



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