Hands of Steel/Vendetta dal futuro (1986)

Hands_of_Steel_(1986)‘It’s impossible – no hand could do that kind of damage.’

In a polluted near-future, a blind political leader stands up against the corporations who are poisoning the planet. People listen and he takes on almost messianic status so a dodgy businessman has a cyborg created from a badly wounded soldier and sends it to kill him.

Sergio Martino (credited here as ‘Martin Dolman’) followed up his trash classic ‘2019: After The Fall of New York’ (1982) with this not-so classic ‘Terminator’ (1984) re-boot. Our hero – part mechanical, all beefcake – is played by U.S. actor Daniel Greene and the main villain by b-movie legend John Saxon (‘Enter the Dragon’ (1973), ‘Blood Beach’ (1981) etc, etc).

The film has some promise at the beginning as Greene sneaks into a backstreet tenement to carry out his mission. At the last moment, his human side wins out over his programming and he goes on the run instead. Unfortunately, when he holes up in Janet Agren‘s truckstop motel, the proceedings come to a shuddering halt. There’s some arm wrestling and snake decapitation with George Eastman’s local bullies while both the villains (Claudio Cassinelli in charge) and the FBI close in before a bullet soaked climax.

His new combat technique featured a mean seagull impression.

His new combat technique featured a mean seagull impression.

This is so 1980s and typical of the kind of flick you’d find down your local video store. There’s the usual pounding synthesiser score, the female cyborg is a dead ringer for Darryl Hannah in ‘Blade Runner’ (1982) and our muscular hero looks like he’s been to Mel Gibson’s hairstylist. Sadly, it’s not a patch on Martino’s previous film; this is just a generic actioner with a science fiction gimmick. There’s lots of bad dubbing and a couple of big explosions near the end. That’s about it, although the final freeze frame and caption is pleasingly nonsensical.

John Saxon refused to film his scenes in the U.S. because it was a non-union shoot. The American filming featured a helicopter in which he and Cassinelli were supposed to be travelling. It crashed and Cassinelli was killed instantly.

Buy ‘Hands of Steel’ here