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Film review: Blind Fury

Published: Wednesday, March 21 1990 12:00 a.m. MST

If you like your violent action films stupid, gory and funny, "Blind Fury" is the picture for you. A live action cartoon without a lick of sense, this is definitely from the keep-it-moving-and-don't-ask-questions school.

It's also clearly a star vehicle designed to send Rutger Hauer into competition with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mel Gibson. Hauer is the brawny blond Danish actor who played heroes in "Soldier of Orange" and "Ladyhawke," and despicable villains in "The Hitcher," "Blade Runner" and "Nighthawks."

"Blind Fury" casts him as a U.S. soldier in Vietnam, blinded by an explosion and thought by his unit to be dead. But he recovers in a remote Vietnamese village where he is nursed back to health and then taught martial arts.

Naturally, Hauer doesn't settle for being any old karate kicker — he learns to use his other senses so well that even without sight he can slice a fly in two with his sword, which is hidden in his cane.

Twenty years later Hauer is back in the States, specifically in Miami, where he looks up Terrance O'Quinn ("The Stepfather"), an old war buddy, unaware that O'Quinn has abandoned his wife (Meg Foster) and son (Brandon Call) and is now a chemist working in Reno.

Meanwhile, in Reno, a corrupt casino owner is trying to force O'Quinn to make designer drugs, and just to seal the bargain, they decide to kidnap young Call.

An attempt at kidnapping the boy occurs, coincidentally enough, while Hauer is visiting Foster and Call. The Reno thugs show up, led by ultra-nasty Randall "Tex" Cobb ("Raising Arizona"). They blow Foster away and start to run off with Call, but Hauer takes his sword out of his cane and dispatches the bad guys, generally by chopping them up. Except for Cobb. He gets away.

After all, you have to have one major villain survive until the final one-on-one duel to the death in the film's climax (which provides the film's blackest and funniest sight gag).

Anyway, Hauer takes Call and heads for Reno to reunite him with his dad, along the way littering the countryside with the bodies of bad guys who seem to come out of nowhere — such as a scene with several killers in the back of a pickup truck, all prominently carrying rifles. You see that on the streets all the time, right?

Well, let's face it.

When it comes to movies like this, you either go with them or you don't. There are some funny bits here, along with a lot of gruesome violence. But I'm not crazy about movies that show a mother being killed and a young boy having a gun held to his head in the context of a frivolous action-thriller.

Undiscriminating action fans, however, will find lots of wild thrills, lots of blood spilled, lots of silly laughs. And if it makes money, you can bet Hauer and friends will return for "Blind Fury II."

"Blind Fury" is rated R for violence, profanity, vulgarity and drug use.