It’s been a while since I did one of these cutesie titles (as I’m sure you can tell by the way it just rolls off the tongue), but I figured what the hell? As you hopefully read in my live blog of Nowhere to Run, I actually live blogged this entire movie with my phone only to lose the entire thing, which was frustrating to say the least. Well, Band of the Hand (1986) was crazy enough that I just had to talk about it, even without my notes. Luckily, typing an hour and a half worth of notes on a phone ingrained a lot of stuff into my head. Trust me, the explanation of this movie alone is worth the read. It’s kind of Dirty Dozen and Suicide Squad meet Deathwish 4 and Breakin’ 2.
Okay, here’s the plot of Band of the Hand. There’s these five delinquent kids. We see each of them commit their crime in the very beginning of the movie (one kid, Crazy, straight up shoots his presumably abusive father). For whatever reason (I thought I was paying attention, but maybe I missed it), these kids get chosen for a special program (Dirty Dozen). All five kids (all boys) get dropped in the Louisiana Bayou (there’s the Suicide Squad aspect for you). There’s the usual in fighting and what not and then this dude Joe shows up dressed like Rambo. Turns out Joe’s kind of in charge of these kids (though he doesn’t really do much except make sure one of them doesn’t die from a snake bite).
Within a day or two they go from their regular 80s street clothes (they’re ridiculous) to post apocalyptic clothes that the people on the season finale of Survivor would laugh at. Eventually Joe tells them that if they can work together and get to a certain place in the bayou they’re free to go. One guy almost drowns another until Crazy yells at him, then they finally get to a big party hosted by (maybe?) Joe’s native american tribe. There’s a band there, but I couldn’t place them. Oh, which reminds me, Bob freakin Dylan did the theme song with a Tom Petty-less Heartbreakers. Here’s the song with some concert and movie images:
Okay, so after all this, the kids and Joe move to Miami (at least one of them lived there before this whole ordeal, but I’m not sure if they all did). They move into this old house that looks JUST like the one from Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, kick out the bad homeless people (pimps, pushers) and let the good homeless people (old dudes, women, kids) stay. They also paint the house ridiculous colors like yellow and pink, not very manly.
Then one of the kids tries to find his girlfriend, played by a 23-year-old and not-disrobing Lauren Holly, who’s wrapped up with a mobster (she’s banging him). It took me until just about the end of the movie to realize it, but the bad big bad guy named Nestor is actually played by James Remar who was Ajax in the brilliant Warriors! Plus, one of his underlings goes by the name of Cream and is credited as Larry Fishburne. Okay, I’m getting off track.
Ajax gets pissed because someone’s coming around after Holly, plus the kids are giving Cream trouble. At some point they get a bunch of uzis and stuff from the bad guys which they later use to defend themselves when Nestor’s goons attack their pastel palace. I thought the movie was over there, but no way, now it’s time for them to storm Nestor’s strong hold. Did I mention that these kids are straight up murdering people with automatic and semi-automatic weapons? There’s no way they could make this movie today, but if they did, I want Zac Efron in it, I bet he can get anything made.
Okay, so I left some important plot details out because you really should check this movie out. The title, by the way, refers to something Joe said about how each one of them is the finger on a fist and together they become the band of the hand. Watching it, I felt like it was the first issue or two of a comic. You got the disparate characters learning to get along, training and establishing a HQ. I also would have been satisfied if it randomly turned into a horror movie, but then again, I say that about almost everything.
According to IMDb’s trivia page, Band of the Hand was intended as a TV pilot and when it didn’t get picked up, it got release theatrically. I’m guessing the soundtrack (if there was one) sold more copies than tickets sold for the movie, but it’s definitely worth a look, especially for fans of the ridiculous. I have no idea why I added this to my Netflix Queue, but I sure am glad I did.