Director - Paul Michael Glaser (Kazaam, The Running Man)
Starring - Stephen Lang (Don't Breathe, Conan the Barbarian), Michael Carmine (Invasion U.S.A., *batteries not included), and Lauren Holly (Dumb and Dumber, Living with the Dead)
Release Date - 1986
Genre - Action/Crime
Tagline - "Violent criminals no prison can cure. Now they've been put back on the streets. Licensed to kill. Criminals against criminals. This time, they're on your side"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)
Rating (out of 5):
When I was younger, years before my horror obsession, I loved renting crazy and weird 80s action films at my local video store. My brother was significantly older than me and moved out of state when he turned 18 but would visit every weekend where we would watch crappy movies on VHS and play Sega Genesis. As I got older he got married and had some kids so his trips were not as frequent as they once were but my love for trashy 80s action movies never faded. Over the years I have watched some gems and some duds but I'm always looking for the next one to check out. Sometime ago Mill Creek Entertainment released the 1986 action flick Band of the Hand on blu. This was the first time I had heard of it so I reached out to them and they were kind enough to hook me up with a review copy. Thanks guys!
The film follows a group of teens that are beyond saving who are taken out of the prison system and placed into the capable hands of military veteran Joe (Lang) as part of a program to save trouble children. He teaches them about survival in the swamp before making them journey through the swamp to his meet up spot before taking them into the city to a hotel he purchased for $1. They kick out the squatters and drug attacks to make room for improvements and renovations. When the local drug lord learns of them and what they have done he sends his goons in to run them off except it backfires. The teens, along with Joe, show that they are worthy opponents for the drug cartel and an all out war breaks out in Miami.
I didn't know what to expect from Band of the Hand. Was it going to be a well put together film like an underrated Invasion U.S.A. or was it going to bed so bad it's good like Miami Connection? My mind raced with excitement and I was very pleased with the film and how it played out. The acting in this one is pretty damn good. The entire film is full of unforgettable characters ranging from Stephen Lang and his band of the hand to Jame Remar and Laurence Fishburne. The whole cast is great and they create some characters that are beyond entertaining. The story for this one is unique in a way but does have similarities to other films from the early 80s. A man taking young people in and helping them become better people while fighting for what is right is almost the same, in a way, as Karate Kid...if it was written for Chuck Norris. The story has very little down time and is constantly tossing action into the mix. It is a rather fast paced action film and I really enjoyed that. Finally, the film has several on screen kills but they are pretty damn boring. The gunshots we get are not that great and not that very well timed. Some are out of order. We also get a hand that is stabbed by a knife that looks ridiculous. When I first saw it I was in tears. The effects and kills are lame by comparison to other films from the time. Overall, Band of the Hand is a very underrated 80s action flick. I could see this one pairing well with Miami Connection or Raw Force. Check it out.