Raw Deal (1986)

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Released 8-Jun-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1986
Running Time 101:02
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Irvin

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
Kathryn Harrold
Darren McGavin
Sam Wanamaker
Paul Shenar
Steven Hill
Joe Regalbuto
Robert Davi
Ed Lauter
Mordecai Lawner
Blanche Baker
Louise Robey
Victor Argo
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Steve Lukather

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
Smoking Yes, incessant
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Arnold Schwarzenegger has made some films I like very much, and a few I don't like at all. I have seen most of his films. When the chance came up to watch this film, which was one of the few I hadn't seen, I was quite keen. Would this be another really good one (like True Lies)? Or at least a midrange one (like, say, Running Man)? Or would this be one of those that we would rather forget? See if you can guess...

    This film plays as if they decided on the stunt set-pieces first, then tried to cobble together a story to justify the stunts. They failed. Oh, the first two thirds of the movie isn't awful — it's a bit clich้d, but moderately entertaining, although the opening has some of the most horribly stilted exposition you've ever seen. Then there's a sudden jump, and it turns into a bad rerun of The Terminator, followed by some really corny ending pieces.

    The plot (a loose use of the term) is about Mark Kaminsky (Arnold Schwarzenegger). He's the sheriff in a small town, but he was formerly an FBI agent. He left the Bureau after mistreating a suspect. He's happy enough in his role as sheriff, but his wife is an alcoholic. When he is offered a chance at redemption, going undercover for an old friend, Harry Shannon (Darren McGavin), he doesn't resist. The first step in the process of going undercover is quite silly, but it's one of those stunt set-pieces I was talking about (note the name of the location, and ask yourself if director John Irvin was having a bit of fun).

    He goes undercover as Joe Brenner to infiltrate the Patrovita organised crime family. Luigi Patrovita (Sam Wanamaker) is being pursued by Federal Prosecutor Marvin Baxter (Joe Regalbuto). Patrovita's lieutenant, Rocca (Paul Shenar) is looking for new hoods because there's something of a gang war going on with the Lamanski (Steven Hill) mob, and Joe Brenner catches his eye. Rocca's right hand man, Max Keller (Robert Davi) feels a bit threatened by Brenner...

    This film is probably one of those best watched with a bunch of friends, a slab of beer, a pizza, and an uncritical attitude.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    This DVD is another example of the principle: bad films get good transfers.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, matching the original theatrical aspect ratio. The DVD is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is sharp and clear, with rather good shadow detail. Film grain is not a problem. There's no low level noise.

    Colour is good, but not great — skin tones are a bit orange on some of the indoor shots. There are no colour-related artefacts.

    There are no film artefacts. There is plenty of aliasing, but it's minor and not troubling. There is next to no background shimmer, and no other MPEG artefacts. This is a very clean transfer for a film that's coming up on 20 years old.

    There are subtitles in Danish, Swedish, and Finnish — but no English, which means that hearing-impaired viewers are spared this experience.

    The disc is single-sided, RSDL, with the layer change at 44:00. It is a good layer change, just barely visible.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The soundtrack is only provided in English, in Dolby Digital 2.0, at 192kbps. The surround encoding flag is set, but the only effect this has is to collapse the dialogue into the centre channel — there doesn't seem to be any surround sound of any significance.

    The dialogue is fairly clear and generally readily understood. There are no obvious audio sync errors.

    There's a credit for "music design" to Cinemascore. Sounds like a company that specialises in cheap movie scores. And yep, it sounds like a cheap movie score — awfully clich้d.

    The subwoofer is not addressed by a 2.0 soundtrack, even with surround encoding. If you have bass management enabled, you may see some bass redirected into the subwoofer.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras on this disc.


    The menu is animated with music; there's even a lengthy introduction that contains some spoilers. It's easy to operate, which it ought to be, considering how little there is to do.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There was a version of this movie released in Region 1 way back in 1998 by Anchor Bay. It was a bad release: possibly in the wrong aspect ratio, not 16x9 enhanced, poor quality video and sound. It has been discontinued. There's a new release, this time from Fox. It sounds a lot like this one, with the correct aspect ratio and 16x9 enhancement, but it includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. Interestingly, reports have it that the 5.1 track has very little more directionality than the 2.0 track (the one we have, that they get, too). The R1 also includes subtitles (a notable omission from this R4 disc). The R1 disc gets just as many extras as the R4 disc — precisely zero. There is one anomaly: both the R1 discs are listed as having run-times significantly shorter than this R4. Indeed, the run-time of the film on IMDb is listed as 97 minutes, while this disc runs 101 minutes — that's difficult to explain.

    I think we have a tie here, although I am tempted to award the gold-plated rubber chicken to the Region 1, just because it has English subtitles — I don't like to see releases in Region 4 that miss out on subtitles in English.


    A disappointing film that starts OK but ends awfully on a DVD with a high quality transfer.

    The video quality is high — sharp, clear, no artefacts, except for some aliasing.

    The audio quality is not high, but it's not awful.

    The extras are completely non-existent.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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Comments (Add)
In a way it was good.... - Tuttle
Another lousy audio transfer with no subtitles... - Anonymous