Thursday, August 4

Wanted: Dead or Alive (1986) - 1987 Daiei Video Japan VHS

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Gary Sherman's Wanted: Dead or Alive is such an exemplary example of formulaic '80s action that's hard to see how some manage to loathe it. Solid blond Dutchman Rutger Hauer is a hard boiled bounty hunter with one of the most badass bachelor pads in action film history tasked by his sole police contact to hunt down a cunning Islamic terrorist, played by A&E television personality Gene Simmons, hellbent on waging homeland jihad who's already blown up a packed showing of Rambo: First Blood Part 2. Son of a bitch must pay.

There's welcome shades of the '70s Italian crime film aesthetic in this Rutger Hauer vehicle. Hauer spends most of his time not engaging his intended target, but beating back the adversity of corruption of those supposedly on his side. This game of being dogged and used as bait by authorities inevitably leads to loved ones coming into grave danger. In the end, our hero gets his bounty; in one unforgettable scene, but only at tremendous personal loss in a bit of poignancy as the credits roll. I guess that's Wanted: DOA's biggest issue, Sherman (Raw Meat, Poltergeist III) packs in so much enjoyable cliché at such a swift pace that it's best not to think too hard about the details.

It's funny to see those that gave it the lowest ratings at the IMDB criticize it for being a swipe aganist an unrelated Steve McQueen television series or KISS fans who fail to realize their God of Thunder's performance is better than anything the band did in the decade. These people need pull their heads out of their asses or am I going to have to get Rutger to throw you in a locker and start blasting holes until you agree?

4 comments:

Jayson said...

Also Daiei Video's VHS presents the film in identical fashion to New World's domestic VHS except for small Japanese subtitles. It was cheap and I was willing. :)

Craig Edwards said...

I love this movie! And, although I don't think there's anything about it IN THE MOVIE (maybe one line of dialogue? Maybe?) the TV previews for this flick's theatrical run DID draw the connection between the movie and the old TV show by using footage of Steve McQueen from the show and telling us Rutger Hauer is his descendant (!)
I wish EVERY Western TV series from the 50's had an tenuously-connected-at-best sequel movie just exactly like this one!

The Film Connoisseur said...

Um, I NEED to see this! I am on a Rutger Hauer high, just saw HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN and LOVED it! I need to see this one and BLIND FURY.

Thanks for reminding about this movie, I remember seeing the cover on video store shelves back in the 80's, but I never got around to seeing it. I guess my childhood sensibilities didnt find this one so interesting, but it looks like I would enjoy it now...

The Chooper said...

Hey Jayson... Glad you liked this one. Rutger Hauer never fails to entertain me. I have the Japanese VHS of BLIND FURY listed now on the bay... good fun.

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