Nasty Hero (1987)- * * *
Directed by: Nick Barwood
Starring: Scott Feraco, Carlos Palomino, Raymond Serra, Robert Sedgwick, Teresa Blake, Jon Tenney, Rosanna DaVon, and Mike Starr
Chase (Feraco) is a cool dude with an attitude. His attitude is warranted, however, because some baddies framed him for car theft and he was left to rot in jail for six months. All Chase wants to do is work as a sort of "car courier" who delivers cars from Vic's (Serra) garage to their wealthy clientele. But the evil Bradford (Sedgwick) is in cahoots with corrupt cop Hackett (Starr) in a nationwide car theft ring. When the baddies realize it's not so easy to get rid of the appropriately-named Chase, they kidnap Yolanda (DaVon), the niece of his buddy Carlos (Palomino) and Chase's love interest, and Carlos's girlfriend Virginia (Blake). Now Chase and Carlos have to save the cars, the girls, and the day. With the odds stacked against them, Chase may still have one certain trick up his sleeve...but will he be the NASTY HERO everyone expects him to be?
Nasty Hero is a completely enjoyable 80's gem that is unheralded and just waiting to be rediscovered. It's a sort of cross between Banzai Runner (1987) and No Man's Land (1987), but with a strong dash of Miami Vice thrown into the mix, thanks to its locations in and around the Miami area during 1986-87 when Miami Vice was at its height. The female leads, DaVon and Blake, both appeared in episodes of 'Vice.
Scott Feraco makes for a strong central hero, and he has a great voice, which shines during the opening voiceover. The score by Ross Levinson is superlative and perfect for the subject matter of the film. So right from the jump, from the audio aspects alone, the viewer is sucked in and the movie never lets go. It's a shame that Feraco only has six known acting credits to his name, and doubly a shame that none of them are with Vince Murdocco. The posters would be amazing: FERACO and MURDOCCO in...Blood Justice. Or something like that.
Further praise must go to the lighting, which is colorful and 80's-tastic, and Feraco is always shown in a heroic and dramatic shadow. The camerawork must be singled out for accolades as well, which has a lot of Sam Raimi-esque energy to it. Amazingly, Nasty Hero is the only credit for director Nick Barwood, who clearly had talent and a big future in filmmaking. What happened we may never know, but Barwood delivered the goods here and more people need to see that and appreciate it.
The icing on the cake is that Nasty Hero is a mere 79 minutes. It's actually more like 75 before the credits. We're always saying how movies are too long, and now someone is finally, FINALLY listening. It has to not be a coincidence that fun, enjoyable movies like Showdown in Little Tokyo (1991) and Nasty Hero are 79 minutes and they breeze by, while ponderous, self-indulgent opuses that shall remain nameless are what Hollywood seems to prefer. Nasty Hero can proudly say it's in the tradition of "have some fun and get out" films that don't take up much of your time, but they're worthwhile because they pack in all the good stuff that you want to see.
Nasty Hero has a good good guy, a bad bad guy, car chases, beat-ups, and the time-honored nightclub scene. There's really nothing to dislike about it. Vinegar Syndrome should release it on Blu-ray, so then it will be out of VHS purgatory and more readily available for all to see.
Comeuppance Review by: Brett and Ty
Also check out a write-up from our buddies at Bulletproof Action!