30% human, 70% robot, 100% lethal.
Language: Italian, English Dubbed
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.85 : 1
Directed by Sergio Martino
Cast: Daniel Greene, Janet Agren, Claudio Cassinelli, John Saxon
A cyborg, on a mission to kill a blind scientist, grows a conscience and decides to not kill his target. His boss decides to eliminate the cyborg as it tries to hide in a hotel in the middle of the desert.
Hands of Steel has been released in a few different multi-movie sets released by Mill Creek Entertainment. The version of this review is on the Pure Terror box set. The video is presented in full screen and looks pretty bad. Not the worst, but pretty bad. The beginning of the movie looks to be sourced by something of even lesser quality but its matted in widescreen. The source changes throughout the movie and looks much better. The audio sounds decent if not a little quiet. Don’t expect much, but it’s watchable.
This isn’t a type of movie that I usually find myself watching but my interest was peaked when I found out that it was directed by Sergio Martino. Sergio Martino is a pretty well known Italian director in the cult movie circles. He’s done some pretty cool Giallo movies such as Torso, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key and The Case of the Scorpion Tail. When I found out that this cyborg movie was done by him, I got excited.
Hands of Steel falls short of expectations when you put it against Martino’s other works. That’s not to say that it’s a terrible film. Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely a bad movie but thankfully it falls in the “so bad, it’s good” category.
Let’s start with the plot. Like most other Italian films during that time, it tries to rip off several other popular movies and through it all together in a non-logical flowing film. Hands of Steel feels likes a mashup of Terminator, Blade Runner and the Sylvester Stallone arm wrestling movie Over the Top. Apparently Over to Top came out a year after this film, so I might be slightly off on that.
The terminator resemblance is pretty strong. There’s even a scene that got ripped straight out of terminator where the cyborg operates on his mechanical arm. The blade runner reference is a little less strong but it concerns the cyborg and whether or not he exists anymore.
The acting is pretty abysmal. Keep a lookout for Janet Argen as the love interest. You might have recognize her from Eaten Alive. George Eastman also has a bit part as a man who seems to love arm wrestling a lot. When he loses he just sort of goes ape shit and tries to wreck everything. I also heard Claudio Cassinelli died in a helicopter accident during the film. Considering some scenes have a helicopter in them, it makes it a little eerie.
Hands of Steel is definitely more action than science fiction. You could actually remove the the cyborg bit out of the film and you would pretty much have the same film.
Hands of Steel is for fans of “it’s so bad, it’s good” films.
2 out of 5