The Eyes Have It

blind_fury

200. Blind Fury (Philip Noyce, 1990)

I was born back in 1981, the formative film experiences for me weren’t really in the cinema – which was a treat, a special outing.  No, my love of the moving image came from the VHS era, where the landscape exploded, cinema ticket sales reached their all-time low in 1984 just as low/micro-budget film-making took off and a myriad of companies emerged to take advantage of a new and low-cost route to the audience.  Blind Fury reminds me of this era, it reminds me of being young and of a certain rough’n’ready aesthetic that permeated the times. This would be reason alone to love it, to find it gently tickling the pleasure senses – but there’s more…

Rutger Hauer is Nick Parker, a Vietnam Vet who had the misfortune to be blinded in active service but the luck to then be adopted up by a friendly village of Vietnamese people who train him to be an expert swordfighter.  20 years later he has to escort an annoying boy (played by the kid who was the original Hobie in Baywatch) across America to his father, a former soldier friend whose debt problems have gunmen chasing them all over the place.  Blind Fury is a quaintly Americanised version of the Zatoichi stories from Japan, the massive bonus is that it stars Hauer – a bone fide VHS star.  Just mentioning his name to my friends brought forth a series of reminisces about films like Split Second, Wanted: Dead or Alive and The Hitcher.  The Dutch Aryan is one of my favourite actors and will live in celluloid eternity for his astounding speech at the end of Blade Runner.  Here he plays the Zatoichi role with a knowing smirk on his face.  Blind Fury is silly, good humoured fun and some amusingly wayward B-movie acting from the supporting cast carries the whole thing along nicely.  And how good is that poster?  Look at that brilliant grin on his face!