What's the world's most lethal weapon? The answer is, Paco Queruak's hands of steel.
Paco is a man with no past recollections, but a single directive: kill Arthur Moseley, the leader of the global eco-movement. Unarmed but for his hard-hitting fists, Paco breaks through security and is about to deliver the death blow when something stays his hands.
Sparing Moseley's life, Paco becomes a fugitive, hunted by his former employees as well as the authorities. His journey through the post-apocalyptic wastelands of make him face his inner and outer demons in an explosive climax.
Summarized in this way, one would think that "Hands of Steel" is a film with a coherent and defined plot, right? Well, it isn't. Not in the least. It's quite messy and all over the place, which frankly makes it for bad cinema. At the same time, it's also what makes it enjoyable.
"Hands of Steel" was made by an Italian crew, helmed by director/co-writer Sergio Martino. Martino was one amongst a myriad of Italian directors which produced exploitation flicks in a variety of genres during the 80s. His filmography includes delightful titles such as "The Mountain of the Cannibal God", "The Island of the Fishmen" or "2019: After the Fall of New York" (an "Escape from New York" rip-off which I had the pleasure of sampling years ago).
Each of these featured a shoe-string budget, ridiculous scripts, dubious acting, poor production values - and tons of fun! "Hands of Steel" is no different. We are introduced to the hero Paco in the midst of action. Daniel Greene, with the build of a pro-wrestler, provides the character with a singular facial, a prime example of what Joey Tribianni of "Friends" called smell the fart acting, where you assume a really intense look on your face as you try to remember the next few lines. Greene's performance is actually quite amusing, given the hilarity of the script and the erratic way the film's sewn together.
One moment Paco is on the run in what seems to be an action-driven thriller, and the very next he becomes an arm-wrestling champion in Page, Arizona. All in a days work. There's a love interest, too, in the form of the lonely bartender Linda (played by Janet Agren), who brings up the softer side of the otherwise stern Paco.
But before Paco can enjoy a quiet life with his newly-found lover, he'll have to smell a lot of farts and overcome killer robots, back-stabbing arm-wrestlers, chop a load of firewood, and rescue car accident victims.
"Hands of Steel" is not for everyone, obviously. It's rompy and it's cheap, but it has heart. Personally, I found it more enjoyable than many a blockbuster today. If you like trashy action cinema where bad guys get kicked and punched and shot (a lot!), then it may just be your kind of fare.
Conclusion: A bad film, but at the same time a delightful action mess.