Raw Courage – Reviewed by Skids Poppe
I got a little worried with this one. I though it may have happened again. The box showed a picture of a motorcycle on it and here I was, a half hour into a ninety-minute film, and still no bikes. If this was some cheap advertising ploy to get me to spend my rental dollars, I was going to be pissed!
See, any film with the title Raw Courage and starring Ronny Cox should be good, right? Cox (is it juvenile to like that name?) is a bad guy I’ve liked for a while. He was the major sleazoid in RoboCop and Total Recall, two films worth their weight in automatic weapon fire. My original thinking is he’s the leader of a renegade bike gang out to kill a big muscle-bound guy in an effects laden extravaganza.
Then I turned the box over and read the back (judging a film by the back blurb is like saying Tonya was robbed because her shoelace broke, but so what?). Here I find out Cox is not only the good guy, but he co-wrote and co-produced the film as well. All this does is raise him in my estimation. I figure this is the story he had to tell and it involved bikers. This guy is okay.
So anyway, here I am, a full third into the film, and still no bikes. I was beginning to lose faith in Ronny and that’s not good. Up till now, we’d had three guys (Ronny was the oldest one) and they’re all running a 72-mile marathon to some town (called Glory, can you believe this symbolism?) for personal reasons. They each have something to prove and besides, it’ll be cool to have these three racers cross the finish line in the middle of the town’s party (we’re never quite sure what they’re celebrating, but who cares?).
About 35 minutes in, just when I’m getting ready to turn the entire thing off and watch the Nixon funeral, something happens: Our three runners are surrounded in the middle of nowhere by a pack of wild commandoes! All right, camouflaged covered crazies, just what every good action film needs. Still no bikes…but the gung-ho guerrillas have earned it a reprieve.
Turns out these paramilitary types (led by M. Emmet Walsh, who doesn’t usually play heavies) are out in the desert for survival training and could only bring whatever their saddlebags could hold (and a knife). Then I see it. In one corner of the screen, just for a second but I know it’s there, a row of bikes. These were modern day cavalry wannabes. Motorized mounts all black and covert. I’m sitting up and taking an interest now.
Once our heroes are captured, it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong, someone accidentally dies and then were off on a man against machine race to the death. This film really picks up in the end.
By the time Cox and his surviving friend stagger across the finish line, (c’mon, they’ve been running for two days, haven’t eaten or even had a decent sip of water since early morning and are wearing ugly shorts-they can stager if they want to) They’ve taken out most of the bad guys and destroyed a whole collection of bikes.
My only complaint? There was an unresolved love interest which could have led to some nudity. This is a film which could use a nice pair.
Skids currently has his motor running, looking for adventure and whatever comes his way.