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Film / Blind Fury

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Blind Fury is a 1989 action film written by Charles Robert Carner (of Gymkata fame) and directed by Phillip Noyce. It is a loosely based, modernized version of Zatoichi Challenged, the 17th film in the Japanese Zatoichi film series.

The film stars Rutger Hauer as Nick Parker, a blind, sword-wielding Vietnam War veteran, who returns to the United States and befriends Billy, the son of an old friend. Parker decides to help the boy find his father, who has been kidnapped by a major crime syndicate.

Tropes included are:

  • '80s Hair: Mullets. Mullets everywhere!
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade : Nick manages to both cut through things that would in reality survive the stroke, but also make precision cuts far too delicate to be possible — such as removing someone's eyebrows without doing any damage to the skin underneath. Both are something that Zatoichi does, the first repeatedly and the second was done in Zatoichi Challenged.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Nick simply walks away in the end. During the credit roll, he practically mimics his walk from the opening.
  • Artistic License – Chemistry: Sure, why not use harmless and eye-catching blue crystals of cupric sulfate as a prop for drugs! But this could be simply a case of Rule of Cool.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Nick and Billy.
  • Badass Bystander: Lyle and Tector carjack an old lady, who promptly pulls out a Hand Cannon and opens fire on them as they speed away.
  • Big Bad: Thanks to MacCready's drugs scheme, Frank is abducted, Mrs. Devereaux is killed and Nick not only has to escort Billy from Miami to Reno, but also protect him from numerous kidnapp attempts. Not to mention casino he owns cheats on players.
  • Blind Driving : Initially excused by an emergency situation, but it continues even after they would reasonably had time to switch to a driver with sight.
  • Blinded by the Light: In the climax, Frank throws several home made chemical grenades which don't have much force but explode brightly enough to disorient them.
  • Blind Weaponmaster: Nick Parker is a blind modern-day swordsman who manages to singlehandedly destroy a crime syndicate. It's essentially a Western take off on Zatoichi.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Annie. When she gets her glasses crushed, she can't even see her outstretched hands. In an emergency, Nick is forced to drive.
    Annie: My glasses!
    Nick: [stepping on them] Oops... I think I just found them.
  • Bloodless Carnage: For a film featuring a Master Swordsman as a main character, there's very little blood on screen.
  • Bookend: Near the beginning, Billy accidentally drops his toy dinosaur out the window, which Nick catches. At the end, a saddened Billy throws the dinosaur over the bridge, which Nick catches again.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Billy. He gets better later on.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: The Pike Brothers, naturally.
    "Shit!" "Fuck!" "Shitfuck!"
  • Brick Joke: At one point, Nick uses his sword to cut off Cobb's eyebrows and later makes a comment about "doing circumcisions" if Cobb doesn't tell him where his friend Frank was. Toward the end of the movie when Nick kills Cobb, he slices upwards between Cobbs legs before stabbing him in the gut.
  • Bringing in the Expert: Near the end of the film, MacCready decides to hire a master swordsman of his own to counter Nick after his henchmen failed repeatedly.
    MacCready: If you can't handle it, get me somebody who can! Get me Bruce Lee!
    Cobb: Bruce Lee is dead.
    MacCready: Then get his brother!
  • Bulletproof Vest: After getting slashed across the chest and left for dead, Slag wakes up from his stupor and opens up his shirt to show to the audience that he was wearing one.
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Lyle and Tector, the foolish thug brothers.
  • But Now I Must Go: Nick
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Pike brothers' dialogues are usually full of profanity.
  • Co-Dragons: Slag is the muscle, being close to a Bond-like henchman or some kind of Elite Mook, while Cobb is the brain, running the casino and other joints for MacCready.
  • Deadly Dodging: During the fight in the corn field, Nick emerges behind the back of two mooks, makes a noise with his scabbard, and slips back out of sight. The mooks turn around, and one shoots the other by reflex.
  • Destination Defenestration: Slag, after being sliced along the waist by Nick.
  • Diagonal Cut: Slag is killed this way, then falls out of a window high in mountains.
  • Dirty Cop: When Slag comes for Mrs. Devereaux and Billy, two crooked cops assist him, so the kidnap can be staged as if Billy was eye-witness of some unspecified crime. When Mrs. Devereaux is shot by Slag, one of cops mentions that it wasn't part of their deal.
  • Disability Immunity: When lights are off, Nick use this against the Mooks. Sure, both he and they are blind, but he was blind for past 20 years, developing other senses, while they just stumble around in the darkness.
  • Elevator Buttons Mash: Four not too bright Mooks are chasing Nick. When they enter the elevator, each of them press different button, giving Nick plenty of time to not only escape, but also trap them inside of the elevator.
  • Flipping the Bird: Billy waves his middle finger at both Nick and various Mooks.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Slag
  • Handicapped Badass: If anything, Nick Parker Took a Level in Badass after he had lost his sight.
  • Heroic Bystander: Nick fights four street thugs after they took a purse from passing woman.
  • Homage: The whole film is one big homage toward old Zatoichi films, of whom producer Tim Matheson is big fan. Many details are practically ripped — Sword Cane, façade of being harmless or using sharpened hearing to win in casino (or find out when the house is cheating).
  • Honorary Uncle: Billy eventually starts calling Nick "Uncle Nick".
  • Human Shield:
    • Nick grabs Lyle Pike and holds him in front of him when Lyle's brother Tector is trying to shoot him. Tector ends up shooting Lyle by mistake.
    • Cobb shoves another Mook in front of him to try and keep Nick from stabbing him in the climax. It only delays the inevitable.
  • I Have Your Wife: The villain attempts to do this to Nick's friend, but Nick just happened to show up at their house a few minutes before them.
  • Insult Backfire: During the chase scene, Nick is the one behind the wheel. One of the drivers shout at him, leading to this exchange:
    Driver: What's your problem, are you blind?
    Nick: Yeah, what's your excuse?
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Apparently the Vietnamese villagers knew all about wielding katanas and cane swords.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When getting ready for the final assault, Frank makes some Molotov Cocktails.
  • Lost in the Maize: When Billy learns that his mom was killed, he runs away from Nick into the corn field. The Mooks, who were following them, take this as opportunity to kidnap the boy.
  • Master Swordsman: Nick, obviously, and the Ninja played by Sho Kosugi, a Japanese martial arts expert.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Since the Vietnam War Frank has blamed himself for his Dirty Coward moment causing him to leave Nick, believing he died but in reality was just blinded. When they storm the ski suite at first History Repeats, but then Frank comes in to save Nick.
  • No Name Given: Many characters are never named in-story. All their names come from credits.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Nick. Usually he acts as if he was either a naive guy or not fully aware of the situation and dangers around. Most of the fun in the film comes from his acting like a harmless wimp.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Nick is able to pass two guards just by wearing the white jacket of a waiter. By the time the guards realize something is off, it's too late.
  • Plausible Deniability: Annie initially goes to great lengths to avoid finding out exactly what the Big Bad is forcing Frank to do and what means he's using, even if she has some suspicions.
  • Police Are Useless: A man is driving a van, causing lots of accidents. Two guys are chasing him, in a stolen car, shooting at the van. The police? Nowhere to be seen.
  • Rule of Cool: Blind swordmaster in a modern setting? Check. Mafia chasing him all over the States? Check. Driving blind while being chased? Check. Climatic sword duel with a hired ninja? Check.
  • Rule of Funny: Shaving someone's eyebrow off with a sword-swipe is more funny than plausible.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After Nick kills over a dozen Mooks on his way to the Big Bad, the drug dealer and his bodyguard take off before he can reach them, telling MacReady to find another buyer in the unlikely event he survives. Sensing how angry MacReady is at their departure, the bodyguard is Genre Savvy enough to keep his gun out and not turn his back on MacReady and Slag in case they get any ideas about shooting their former partners out of frustration.
  • Shout-Out: The names of Lyle and Tector share the names of a pair of brothers in The Wild Bunch
  • Single-Stroke Battle: Nick kills most of the Mooks this way.
  • Single Tear: Nick, after leaving Billy.
  • Super Fly Reflexes: Nick cuts a wasp in twain with his sword by sound alone. Can be seen at the start of the theatrical trailer.
  • Super-Senses: While Nick's hearing is as sharp as expected from a blind person, he also developed a pretty good nose.
  • Super Window Jump: To get away from Nick quickly, Slag jumps through a nearby window, completely destroying the wooden frame and glass pane, with absolutely no injuries sustained.
  • Sword Cane: Nick, being blind, uses his sword-cane to feel his way around in normal circumstances.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Billy later on.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Last time we see MacCready, he is struggling with Frank over the shotgun and next scene is at a bus station. We don't know how the struggle ended or if MacCready was sent to the authorities.
  • Wretched Hive: Reno is portrayed as city of crooked casinos, drug lords, gun-totting citizens and full of floozies. Police are nowhere to be seen.