I have 495 movies in my Netflix Instant queue. I tend to maybe watch one thing for every five things I add, but now my library is full and I have to make room. Serious watching must begin. So, every Monday I’m going to pick a random movie out of my queue and review the shit out of it. But (like Jesus), I’m also thinking about you and your unwieldy queue and all the movies in it you want to watch but don’t have time to now that you’ve become so awesome and popular. Let me know if there’s something that’s been gathering digital dust in your Netflix Instant library and I’ll watch that, too. One Monday for your queue and the next Monday for mine and so forth. Let’s do this.
What’s the movie? Blind Fury (1989)
What’s it rated? R for blind samurai justice including slicing, de-handing, stabbing, chopping, flaying and furious poking.
Did people make it? Directed by Phillip Noyce. Acted by Rutger Hauer, Terrence “Terry” O’Quinn, Brandon Call, Noble Willingham, Randall “Tex” Cobb, Meg Foster and Sho “God Of All Ninjas” Kosugi.
What’s it like in one sentence? The Rutger Hauer Power Hour (and a half).
Why did you watch it? Chewer Louis Pantelakos Jr. reminded me that Hobo with a Shotgun is coming out soon and recommended a Rutger Hauer day of appreciation.
What’s it about in one paragraph? Nick Parker, played by Rutger Hauer, is an American soldier blinded by mortar fire during the Vietnam War. He’s rescued by the local villagers who not only nurse him back to health but also train him to become a blind swordsman, Zatoichi style. Awfully nice of them. Several years later, he returns to the United States and visits the home of one of his old Vietnam buddies, Frank Deveraux (Terry O’Quinn). Instead he finds Frank’s Ex-Wife and son, Billy. After explaining to Nick that Frank is in over his head with some very bad men, the baddest man of all, Randall “Tex” Cobb, shows up and blows away Billy’s mom. Nick and Billy escape and travel across the country looking for Frank, learning such life lessons as how to get along, keep safe and how to kill people with swords.
Play or remove from my queue? If you haven’t seen this, then play it immediately. If you have seen it, but not since the mid nineties then you’re in luck, because it still stands up in a lot of ways. The music is dated and so are the clothing styles and some people’s overall demeanor, but the movie is a lot of fun and it’s all held together by an extremely iconic performance by Rutger Hauer. He becomes a master blind swordsman before the opening credits are even over, yet it’s never hard to believe that all of the really serious training happened off camera. The thing about Rutger Hauer is that he always brings some serious gravitas to whatever he does whether it’s the tortured sadness of Roy Batty or as the embodiment of pure evil in John Ryder, but with Nick Parker he manages to convey the depth of emotion and character while never taking anything too seriously. Hauer’s wry smile makes Blind Fury as fun as it is almost single handedly.
It’s also pretty interesting to see that this is a Phillip Noyce picture, as it almost doesn’t seem to fit in his filmography very well. This was his first movie after Dead Calm, which not only launched Nicole Kidman’s career but also managed to take itself waaaaay too seriously. Watching this you can see that Noyce has an excellent eye for action set pieces, but the film is also extremely goofy and has several moments of straight up slapstick peppered throughout. Looking at his later films like Rabbit-Proof Fence and The Quiet American, Blind Fury almost seems like the work of a different filmmaker. A filmmaker more interested in having fun than Oscar baiting. On a side note, I see that he’s directing an episode of the highly anticipated (by me) new HBO show Luck, written by David Milch and starring Dustin Hoffman and Nick Nolte. So, fair play to him.
I’m injured this week due to a pulled muscle in my shoulder, which isn’t letting me type for very long without sending screaming pain Nazi’s all the way from my neck to my fingertips, so I’m going to have to wrap this up by saying Blind Fury is corny and sometimes cheesy but always pretty awesome. It’s all about the little moments, whether it’s Hauer calling a little kid whose mom was shotgunned two scenes earlier a little shit or whether they’re being chased through a cornfield by a fat guy in overalls eating popcorn out of a giant bag. This film has personality and an identity that exists only to please you and make you laugh at the randomness of so much of the shit going down. Tex Cobb chews so much scenery it makes my face hurt. Nick Cassavetes and Rick Overton as Lyle and Tector Pyke are so hammy it makes the whole enterprise feel like a lost Three Stooges Zatoichi remake that you hallucinated after three too many shots of Robitussen. But it all comes down to Rutger Hauer and his ability to commit to a role that could have just been an easy payday to a lesser actor. He’s a blind samurai Vietnam Vet… if you need more than that then we’re just after different things in our lives.
Do you have an interesting fun-fact? Randall “Tex” Cobb is my biological father. Probably. Please.
What does Netflix say I’d like if I like this? Ninja in the Claw of the CIA (who the what?), Best of the Best (Eric Roberts isn’t a freckle on the sack of Rutger Hauer), Revenge of the Ninja (Absolutely yes. If you haven’t seen this than you’ve never really seen a Ninja’s revenge), Struggle Through Death (No idea), Fighting Back (I haven’t seen it but anything with Tom Skerrit, Yaphet Kotto, and Patty LuPone can’t be that good, right?)
What does Jared say I’d like if I like this? Revenge of the Ninja, Ninja 3: The Domination, The Blood of Heroes, Zatoichi Challenged, and Soldier of Orange.
What is Netflix’s best guess for Jared? 3.3
What is Jared’s best guess for Jared? 3.8
Can you link to the movie? I sure can!
Any last thoughts? I really didn’t think this one would stand up to my fond memories of it. It’s a true action\comedy hybrid that makes for a ridiculously enjoyable way to spend 86 minutes. Plus, sword fighting never really gets old for me, so I’m easy.
Did you watch anything else this week? Due to my injury, I watched quite a bit of stuff. I watched La Jetee for the first time and was understandably blown away, but have nothing to add to Jeremy Butler’s awesome review. He says it all. I also saw Never Let Me Go, Despicable Me, The Way Back, David Tennant’s Hamlet, Season 2 of Rome (again) and Episode 2 of Game of Thrones (which managed to be better than the first). I know I saw more, but I’ve been taking lots of painkillers, so some stuff is pretty foggy.
Next Week? Next week is my turn to pick and it is between Enter the Void, Give ’em Hell, Malone, or Eraserhead. Any preferences? Sorry about not digging too deep this week but, hopefully by this time next week I’ll be all better and ready to dig into some cinema. Have a great week, Chewers. Be excellent to each other.