[box cover]

Band of the Hand

Back when "Miami Vice" was at its peak — and tough guys could wear pastels with pride — series creator Michael Mann exec. produced this silly comic book action dud that combined movie clichés and New Wave shtick with such careless sang froid that it begs respect as a guilty pleasure. Grievously miscast Stephen Lang features as a crack Marine commando obsessed with rehabilitating wayward youths through unorthodox methods. For a government-funded pilot program, he gathers five hopeless incarcerated ne'er-do-wells for a survival camp in the Everglades. After the young toughs have learned self-respect in the wild, he moves them to the tougher environs of slumville, Miami, where he teaches them the healing arts of house painting, pimp-beating, and good old fashioned guerilla vengeance. There isn't one moment in Band of the Hand where the movie dares sense or credibility, and yet director Paul Michael Glaser (yes, "Starsky," of he "and Hutch") drenches the film in Mann-ish style, full of cold waver fashions, shimmering liquidy lighting, and a song score so unique to the synth-pounding 1980s it would make Jan Hammer weep for mercy. Although Glaser's approach is sincere (which is why it works), several scenes make for classic and evocative camp. Features John "Hedwig" Cameron Mitchell, Laurence Fishburne, James Remar, and a young Lauren Holly as weary-but-defiant jailbait. Sadly, Columbia TriStar has released a crummy disc for this otherwise enjoyable relic, with a dull and soft pan-and-scan transfer that forces the viewer to fill in Miami's bright visuals from memory. Audio is in Dolby 2.0 Surround. Includes trailers (for other movies only), keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr



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