Blind Fury (1989) / Action
MPAA Rated: R for graphic violence and foul language
Running Time: 85 min.
Cast: Rutger Hauer, Brandon Call, Terry O'Quinn, Randall "Tex" Cobb, Nick Cassavettes
Director: Phillip Noyce
Screenplay: Charles Robert Carner
Review published January 4, 2003
BLIND FURY is somewhat of a guilty pleasure favorite of mine, I won't go so far as to call it a good film, but it's one of those that I can't help having a good time watching. It's aided tremendously by a nice tongue-in-cheek performance by Rutger Hauer, usually cast as a tough guy, but showing charm and sensitivity here. It's directed by Aussie Phillip Noyce, coming just after his terrific thriller DEAD CALM, but it's mostly done in a typical 80s Hollywood action style, full of electronic music and lots of crashing through windows. Along those lines, it's a much better film than most of the schlock action films of its time, far better than your typical Sylvester Stallone or Chuck Norris movie, so even if it's not particularly good, it definitely won't suffer by comparison.
BLIND FURY is written by Charles Robert Carner, whose only other notable film was another 80s classic turkey, GYMKATA, and I've read he borrowed heavily from the Japanese ZATOICHI film series for inspiration. The story revolves around an ex-Vietnam vet named Nick Parker, blinded during combat when trying to save another buddy of his, Frank Devereaux. Now, many years later, Nick has honed his other senses in studying the art of sword fighting, and his trusty blade is well-hidden within the cane he uses to walk around in. He has taken the time to visit Frank, but finds he is missing, and when some bad guys kill Frank's wife, he takes Frank's son, Buddy, and travel off to Reno in the hopes of saving his life. It seems these guys want Frank to assist them in the manufacture of designer drugs, and are looking to kidnap Buddy to help them coerce him. However, Nick isn't about to let them get away with it without a fight.
At its core, BLIND FURY is a dreary action vehicle, and as an action film, quite bad, but it is elevated from being another forgettable piece of schlock by Hauer and a good dose of humor. It definitely delivers on action, if that's what you're looking for, and if you like even the most mindless of action vehicles, you'll probably come away thoroughly entertained. Noyce doesn't approach the film with too much seriousness, although the film's tone does get a bit too dark to jibe with the light humor from time to time. There's plenty of scenes that are flat out bad, but given the campy feel of much of the movie, it's easy to just play along for the sake of the humor and action.
BLIND FURY isn't really must-see viewing, and those who have little tolerance for low-brow fight flick will probably hate this as much as the many other films like it. Yet, it's a hard film to dismiss entirely, especially for action fans, and if you are a big fan of Rutger Hauer, this is one of the rare films he's done that showcases his comedic abilities. It might be senseless trash, but it's also mindless fun, too.
©1999 Vince Leo