Hands of Steel

January 13, 2016 at 2:55 am (5 Heads, Hands of Steel) (, , , , )

Hands of Steel – 1986 – Italy/United States

Where: Arizona. When: The Near Future. Pollutants poison people, homelessness is abundant, and a ubiquitous political slogan proclaims, “You Have No Future”. A greedy corporate tycoon produces a cyborg assassin (named Paco) to eliminate an environmental activist. Paco goes rogue and flees into the desert. He stays at a seedy truck stop and develops a romance with the bartender. Paco ruminates on what it means to be human, but is interrupted by bloodthirsty mercenaries. The film’s climax is a series of martial arts fights, gunfights, car chases, and helicopter chases. Being super strong and bulletproof, Paco decimates the bad guys. In the finale, Paco is shot in the head and discovers that even his brain is electronic. He goes insane while speculating that he may never have been human to begin with.

Hands of Steel owes a debt to The Terminator (1984) for its depiction of a superhuman cyborg killer. Hands of Steel tries to generate pathos as Paco struggles to find his humanity. Unfortunately, Paco’s bland personality makes this emotional conflict uninteresting. Instead, the colorful supporting characters steal the show. There is a redneck used car salesman, a vindictive Latino trucker, and a professional arm wrestler. Actor John Saxon is enjoyable as a particularly determined corporate fat cat. He wields an oversized laser cannon and hunts Paco himself.

Rating: 5/10 Shrunken Heads. Hands of Steel was shot in Arizona with American actors, but the crew is all Italian.

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