Band of the Hand

1986

Action / Crime / Drama

13
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 14%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 60%
IMDb Rating 6.3 10 2410

Synopsis


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1hr 49 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Prismark10 3 / 10

Miami twice

The Miami Vice influence is heavy in this silly cheesy film. Michael Mann is the producer. Director Paul Michael Glaser also directed several episodes of Miami Vice and you will spot several Mann regulars in this movie such as Martin Ferrero and Stephen Lang.

Lang plays a military survival expert and former Vietnam veteran in the Florida everglades, an improbable native Indian. He has created a program to rehabilitate a small bunch of juvenile delinquents in this hostile environment, one of them even gets bitten by a snake. However the group of youths after some complaining soon bond in the Everglades.

After that the youths move to a house in Miami, however they fall foul of the local drug lords who rule the area. The group led by Lang wage war against the violent gangs.

There is a lot of mid 1980s music here as well as the title track sung by Bob Dylan. The film is uneven in pace, I could never buy these bunch being somehow rehabilitated and united in the Everglades, never mind becoming a fighting force in the streets of Miami.

Reviewed by Scott LeBrun 7 / 10

Waging the war on drugs with Bob Dylan on your soundtrack.

Trashy, brainless, and oh-so-80s action melodrama stars Stephen Lang ("Avatar", "Don't Breathe") as Joe, an American Indian & Vietnam veteran who runs a program to reform troubled youth. Five punks - Ruben (Michael Carmine), J.L. (John Cameron Mitchell), Carlos (Danny Quinn), Moss (Leon), and Dorcey (Al Shannon) - are dragged out to the Everglades and deposited there, where Joe teaches them survival instincts and teamwork. Once back in Miami, the gang is *somewhat* more mature, and they go up against vicious drug runners including Cream (Laurence Fishburne) and Nestor (James Remar).

To be honest, "Band of the Hand" is a hard slog for a while, since it's hard to give a damn about our protagonists for an extended amount of time. (This IS an overlong movie.) But things improve as "Band of the Hand" progresses, and debuting feature director Paul Michael "Starsky" Glaser gives this production a certain amusing amount of 80s excess. It bears the mark of its executive producer, 'Miami Vice' creator Michael Mann. It's noisy, it's silly, it's violent in a sometimes cartoonish way, and it's got a hip soundtrack. The centerpiece of said soundtrack is a priceless, catchy rock ditty written and sung by Bob Dylan, with Tom Petty's band The Heartbreakers backing him up.

The acting suits the material. Top billed Lang is fine in a low key portrayal. The young cast is lively, with a cute Lauren Holly playing Carlos' love interest. Remar is okay as our primary villain, and other familiar character actors like Paul Calderon, Bill Smitrovich, Michael Gregory, and an unbilled Martin Ferrero all turn up as well.

This is a decent, fun movie overall, even if the script ain't so hot. As was said before, it goes on a bit too long, but for the most part, it's *not* boring.

Seven out of 10.

Reviewed by FlashCallahan 3 / 10

Let's go to Miami....see some Vice....

In an attempt to ease themselves back into society, five juvenile criminals are sent away from prison into the Everglades, for a survival training under Indian Joe.

When they have successfully completed their 'training', they move back to Miami.

However this means the illegal inhabitants of their house have to up sticks and leave without warning, all loyal customers of local drug baron Cream.

The conflict leads to a street war of sorts.......

It's another one of those films from the eighties where you would have had to be there I. Order to appreciate the full cheesiness of the narrative and mise en scene, because seeing for the first time in 2015, it's a real dog of a film.

It's as if the makers have taken every single politically incorrect ethnic stereotype, made them a gang member, and joined them in to some sort of unit, all led by a caked in make- up Stephen Lang, who looks like he doesn't want to be there one bit.

Add a sub-plot involving James Remar trying to channel Willem Dafoe in To Live And Die In L.A, and separate incoherent narrative with music video type scenes, and you have this epitome of the eighties, which I would usually love, but the characters are just so unlikable and offensive to their native culture, you cannot help but really strongly dislike the film.

The film cannot decide who it's for, it's way way too dark for younger people, and too bonkers for the Freidkin and Mann audience it desperately wants to grab, so it ends up in purgatory.

But the music is good, and some of the camera-work is as bonkers as the outfits, but come the end, it just doesn't work in anyway.

Watch Toy Soldiers instead.

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