Rutger Hauer has had a strange career. He started by bouncing around in Dutch films and other European productions. In 1981 he made a memorable American debut in Night Hawks. The next year he would play his most famous role, that of replicant Roy Batty in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. From there it seemed like he was sure to enjoy a popular fruitful film career, but that didn’t really happen.
Hauer continued to work almost non-stop, he would star in a few high profile films, but never really became an A-list star. By the 1990’s most of his film projects were straight to video productions.
From his tenacious work he’s garnered a respectable reputation despite the quality of some of his films. Today the only time most audiences see him is in supporting parts in big films like Sin City and Batman Begins. He might not show up very much in mainstream films, but everyone still knows who he is.
One of my favorite flicks Hauer did during his low-budget period of the late 80’s early 90’s is Blind Fury. It’s a very simple B-movie premise that results in a pretty entertaining film.
Hauer plays Vietnam vet Nick Parker who was blinded in battle, but has now honed his skills to be an expert swordsman. His remaining senses are heightened to such a degree that he can easily slice and dice any bad guy that comes his way. Fortunately, for us it just so happens that’s what Nick will have to be doing throughout the movie!
As Nick pays a surprise visit to look up his old army friend Frank (Terry O’Quinn) in Miami, Frank’s ex-wife (Meg Foster) informs this blind stranger Frank is in Las Vegas. She’s allowed just enough time to pass this important information to him before a bunch of bad guys storm the house, kill her and are about to kill Nick. That is until they discover this passive blind man can more than handle himself and makes mincemeat out of them.
Now Nick has to travel to Vegas with Frank’s son Billy (Brandon Call). He has to find out what Frank has gotten himself into, protect Billy from these bad guys who are trying to kidnap him and impresses everyone with all the tricks he’s learned to adapt with having no working eye balls.
The whole blind angle is obviously what makes the film unique. It’s like an updated take on the wandering samurai. It’s not surprising since the film is a modernized version of the Japanese film Zatoichi Challenged.
Seeing Frank’s ears perk up at any sound and he immediately knows exactly what’s going on stretches things at times, but you just have to roll with it. He’s sort of like Daredevil with a sword.
Hauer is incredibly likeable as the friendly Nick and handles the action convincingly. The movie is much more lighthearted than what I had expected when I first saw it. It’s rated R, but the violence is never overly gory.
Watching it now I would have thought it would be PG-13. It also has a healthy dose of humor, usually resulting between Nick and Billy rocky relationship during their travels, before they inevitably grow fond of each other.
Blind Fury is a fun B-movie. There’s nothing great about it, but it’s just plain fun. The plot is really meaningless. There’s nothing about it that we haven’t seen in hundreds of action movies before. It’s all just an excuse to have the blind Nick escort this kid to Vegas while getting into some action scenes and killing anonymous bad guys.
As long as you don’t expect more than that you should enjoy it. I originally predicted this would be the beginning of a series of films with Hauer reprising his role of Nick Parker in further adventures. It seemed tailormade for sequels and it had a nice part for Hauer, but unfortunately it was just this solo outing for him as the blind swordsman.
Here’s the trailer!