A Vietnam veteran returns home blinded after the war thanks to a comrade’s cowardice. The owner of a failing Reno casino traps the coward into cultivating designer drugs for him (the gambling tables are rigged), and tries to kidnap the man’s young son to oblige him.
The vet is a swordsman in the samurai tradition, and carries one in his walking stick. Though he is unable to prevent the murder of the boy’s mother, still he carries out her last wish and brings the boy to Reno.
The casino owner just can’t get good help, and his cretinous henchmen are no match for the swordsman. One large expenditure brings in a Japanese sword master, who puts on a good show and meets the same fate.
The coward turns his coat once again and hurls Molotov cocktails at the villainous hirelings. The ending is from Shane, protracted to show off the final gag of the swordsman with a tear in his eye putting on his dark glasses.
The several set pieces (cornfield pursuit, driving blind in Reno, etc.) are perfectly filmed, Noyce having the advantage of the Zatoichi films to guide him. Rutger Hauer’s performance in particular transcends all difficulties with ease.
An IRA terrorist is killed, another vows revenge, escapes from custody, sends Jack Ryan’s wife and daughter to the hospital. Ryan observes the fellow with his cronies in the desert, they are obliterated.
A dinner party at Ryan’s home is attacked by combat troops with monocular nightscopes attached to their helmets, one of the guests is a traitor. In a rainstorm, Ryan and the terrorist fight aboard a speedboat already in flames and heading for the rocks.
A film of many images, satellite photos viewed on a screen, the freeway attempt on wife and daughter, the dinner party, the terrorist impaled on an anchor.
Clear and Present Danger
The President of the United States cuts a deal to halve cocaine imports and double arrests, in exchange for allowing a retired Castro security man to run a Colombian cartel, the purpose of the arrangement is to secure a second term in office.
Billy Wilder has the same sort of Teflon executive waffle in The Apartment. A secret paramilitary war follows on the murder of a Presidential chum found to be skimming from the cartel. Crusty pols and more or less talented amateurs people the top rungs, the crime lord is an echo of De Palma’s Capone answered by untouchable Jack Ryan elevated out of his analytical waters in the general jest on that Peter Principle.