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Hands of Steel

Hands of Steel
Year: 1986
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Director: Sergio Martino
Stars: Daniel Greene, Janet Argen, John Saxon

hands of steel 1This is another movie that’s simply misplaced on a DVD collection of horror films because this is a sci-fi action film.  Normally I HATE movies about cyborgs – but I’m a bit forgiving in this case because I like cheap Italian knock-offs of anything.  Well, that and this movie is FREAKING AWESOME!  Cyborg assassins, arm wrestling, helicopters, some boobies and some of the coolest action sequences I’ve seen outside of the Hollywood mainstream.  Okay, so it’s not John Woo level of awesomness, but it’s pretty damn close and there’s no doves.

It’s the future – I think.  The environment has gone to hell thanks to industrialists and their polluting factories which is nothing new at all and actually a pretty common theme in the 80s (you know, the Captain Planet era).  The opening credits show poor people living on the streets of any given metropolis and I swear one of these hobos is either an uncredited cameo from Joe D’Amato or its his homeless clone – either way it is awesome to be reminded of the epicness that is the almighty JOE D’AMATO.

hands of steel 2Leading the ecological movement is Rev. Arthur Mosley who is a blind scientist and, apparently, an ordained reverend even though religion is never mentioned.  I can get behind his message of saving the environment but when you start incorporating his uniformed and blindly passionate followers and the fact that this fellow calls himself a reverend you start venturing into cult territory.  Regardless, industrial magnate Francis Turner (John Saxon) has created a cyborg assassin, Paco Queruak.  Now I know a movie about “Paco the Killer Robot Man” sounds pretty silly, but Daniel Greene sells this character – you kinda forget how goofy it’s supposed to be that Paco the Robo-man kills people with his bare hands.  During his murder of Rev. Mosley, Paco’s humanity breaks through at the last possible moment and he backs off, sparing the mans life.  Paco makes a daring escape through a conduit tunnel and then drives his car through a savage acid rain storm.  He heads to his hometown in Arizona to try and reconnect with his former, pre-cyborg life.

PACO The Killer Robot Man gives his best Road Warrior impression

PACO The Killer Robot Man gives his best Road Warrior impression

hands of steel 4Paco settles down with a woman named Linda, a bitter woman running her own restaurant/bar/motel alone in the desert.  Paco works around her place stacking firewood and whatnot in exchange for room and board.  Over time they build a relationship but more on that later.  First we have the gang of arm wrestlers led by Raul.  Now I’ve never found arm wrestling to be that impressive – especially in a cinematic sense.  I mean, have you seen Over the Top?  That movie is terrible.  But somehow the arm wrestling here is awesome.  I don’t know, maybe because these characters just make it seem so badass – especially their leader Raul – the second toughest arm wrestler in town.  Luckily someone has uploaded a scene of Raul and Paco trying to out badass each other so enjoy:

hands of steel 5Oh, the actual story, aside from the epic arm wrestling sub plot?  The police are after Paco because of his attempted assassination while John Saxon and his corporate henchmen are trying to kill Paco because of the botched assassination attempt.  This all builds up to a climactic showdown that has EVERYTHING.  There’s a helicopter chase through the desert, gun battles galore and a battle with a sexy female cyborg.  It’s EPIC and I really did enjoy every minute of it.  Granted this is a cheap Italian production but its pretty good quality for what it is.  These exciting helicopter scenes did not come without a price, however.  Actor Claudio Cassinelli died in a helicopter crash while filming those scenes.  I’m not familiar with the actors work and, admittedly he wasn’t that good in this movie, but an untimely death is still a tragic thing.  Kinda takes some of the fun out of those scenes actually.

hands of steel 6Hands of Steel, as its known here, has been one of my favorites on this DVD set so far.  Just as much fun as Werewolf of Washington.  It’s not a good movie, not by any means.  It’s cheesy, overacted and full of face-palmingly stupid over-the-top scenes – but that’s what makes it such stupid fun.  I may hate every other cyborg movie in existence, but that’s because I’d never seen Hands of Steel before.  The film, like many other Italian productions, has many alternate titles including Atomic Cyborg, Arms of Steel, Cyborg, and Return of the Terminator.

So it would seem that Disc 3 is off to a fantastic start.  Unfortunately the next film on her is called The Manster and with a stupid title like that I’m really not expecting the best.  Until then, here’s a picture of John Saxon looking silly:

hands of steel 7

About The Author
Matthew Coats
Matthew Coats

Formerly known under the pseudonym of Alex Jowski.
Site owner, movie aficionado, and film school grad. Matthew Coats presents reviews, some written, some as vlogs, and some as weekly shows, for a variety of different movies and television shows. After years of struggling to get his own projects off the ground amidst the normal routine of living, Matthew Coats decided to create a site in order to share and promote movie reviews, video games and much much more from talented and original people all across the internet.

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