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Eye of the Tiger
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Jack Sommersby

"Gary Busey vs. Biker Gang"
1 stars

Even if you're in the mood for something of the six-pack variety, you'd still be better off giving "The Garbage Pail Kids Movie" a look-see instead.

Incompetently directed, spottily written, Eye of the Tiger is one of those brain-dead action pictures that simply isn't engineered well enough to glide over its numerous flaws and entertain us even on the most undemanding level. It's not unwatchable, just underwhelming, smothered in blandness -- you're forever wishing for some outlandish happenstances in the proceedings so you have something to jog your starved senses. In his first starring role in this genre, Gary Busey plays Buck Matthews, a decorated Vietnam veteran just out of state prison who's returned to his small Southwest hometown: he was involved in a bar fight and killed someone he claims was in self-defense; and after a few years for manslaughter his loving wife and young daughter welcome him back to their home. Buck already has the deck stacked against him because the foul-tempered lout of a sheriff is also his parole officer, with his only ally in town the department's nearing-retirement lieutenant J.B. (a wasted Yaphet Kotto); Buck gets his old job back at a construction company, and in non-Movieland his life would probably be smooth sailing, but there's a vicious motorcycle gang plaguing the area, harassing the citizens in between running a vast drug operation out of their desert headquarters. When Buck spots them chasing down a nurse from a nearby hospital, he intercedes on her behalf and assaults a few of them; after the local news station runs with Buck's valorous exploits and inadvertently reveals the location of his home, the gang retaliates later that night, slaying his wife, traumatizing his child, and seriously injuring Buck. Of course, it makes absolutely no sense that the gang failed to make sure Buck was dead; but, again, this is Movieland, and the deck is so stacked against Buck that not a single member of the gang is arrested. (Ever notice when a movie is enjoyable and persuasively made, we're inclined to overlook such jejune plot lapses?) Buck, of course, sets out for revenge, with J.B. a loyal-but-unenthusiastic participant; and after calling in a favor from a wealthy Miami drug lord he served time with, Buck is delivered a souped-up, armed-to-the-bumper black truck that James Bond would envy -- though it doesn't get nearly as much use as we're led to expect and we'd like; it's one of the many things the script loses sight of. It turns out the sheriff is in cahoots with the gang, thus making Buck's ordeal all the more arduous (which makes the sheriff's acceptance of the black, uncorrupted J.B. as his second-in-command all the more incredulous). Buck tries enlisting the help of the good-hearted but cowardice locals yet receives the quiet treatment instead, so he's gotta "take matters into his own hands."

An ineffectual cross between Death Wish and Walking Tall, Eye of the Tiger is one of those listlessly limp cinematic endeavors that makes you wonder if movie-studio executives can possibly be worth the seven-figure salaries they command in light of the numerous built-in flaws of the material that should've been spotted from many the zip code away. Though Busey is game and attentive, he can't make the two-dimensional Buck anyone we can enthusiastically root for; and as the lead villain (unsubtly and unoriginally named Blade), William Smith, with a shaved head and glowering eyes better suited to a schlock horror movie but who can be a forceful B-movie actor when the time is right, emanates as much menace as a case of pink eye in his woefully underwritten role. An elemental tale of good versus evil doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot when we don't have so much as an iota of a stake in either the protagonist or the antagonist, and we're forever nonplussed at the fuzzy central conflict here that's frustratingly vague. (Busey and Smith never get a single workable scene together. For all the lack of verve, their characters might as well be elementary-school kids squaring off in a sandbox.) Nothing in the movie segues into something organically -- the scenes are forever bumping into one another. The screenplay is pure kitty litter, to be sure, but the technical contributions behind the camera are nothing to write home about, either. The director, Richard C. Sarafian, who helmed the lightweight Farrah Fawcett private-eye comedy Sunburn and oversaw Busey's energetic portrayal of real-life college football coach Paul Bryant in the disappointing The Bear three years prior, hasn't the faintest idea how to coherently choreograph action to save his life; and because he's an absolute zero in the visual and narrative departments, the movie sputters and coughs forth as if it were in serious need of several spoonfuls of Robitussin. Eye of the Tiger does provide a single shot of adrenaline, though: in the liveliest scene, in a hospital room where one of the injured gang lies incapacitated, to get vital information out of him, Buck pulls out a stick of dynamite, sticks one end in a jar of Vaseline, lights it, and sticks it up the man's bum; the man hysterically panics, gives up the info, Buck leaves, and the man convulses to the point where he dies of a coronary right before it's revealed the stick was an intended dud. Other than that, the movie fires on all the cylinders of an Edsel, and whose idea of originality is to title itself off the hit Survivor song from Rocky III -- it plays during both the opening and closing credits, and only succeeds in reminding how much better Stallone's action pictures are. Myopic and meandering, Eye of the Tiger has all the excitement of an ABC Afterschool Special.

Try needlepoint instead.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11857&reviewer=327
originally posted: 11/29/13 20:23:29
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User Comments

12/06/13 Pearl Bogdan Only worth watching if you dont have to pay for it. 1 stars
5/05/05 Sugarfoot An awesomely bad movie, but I stress awsomely, It's literly so bad it's fantastic. 2 stars
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  28-Nov-1986 (R)
  DVD: 22-Mar-2005

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