Retro Review: ‘Blind Fury’

Inspired by the Japanese film/TV character Zatoichi, actor turned producer Tim Matheson sought to create his own visually handicapped, sword-wielding hero. His vision was realized in 1990 when he and director Phillip Noyce collaborated to bring the world Blind Fury. Starring fan favorite Rutger Hauer, this movie has become a bit of a cult classic due to its being a far better film than its premise suggests.

After losing his sight on the battlefields of Vietnam, Nick Parker is taken in by a village of locals who train him to wield a katana despite his new handicap. Returning to the United States, Nick attempts to track down his old army buddy Frank, however Frank’s scientific expertise have made him a target to crime boss seeking to have him create a new line of drugs. Hoping to use Frank’s son Billy as leverage against him, goons are dispatched to kidnap this kid. This makes a reluctant Nick the child’s protector as they try to rescue Frank and take down the bad guys.

Despite being an actor perfectly capable of seeing, Rutger Hauer turns in a great performance as a visually disabled fighter. Given how talented of an actor he was this should come as no surprise. While the premise of this movie could have easily made Blind Fury a piece of celluloid silliness, Hauer brings a realness to the role that keeps everything grounded and believable. His evolving relationship with Billy proves to be the perfect bedrock to build this movie on as he remains a steady and steadfast presence to a bratty kid in need of guidance. That being said, the true reason to turn on Blind Fury is the action sequences which are absolutely top notch. The swordplay and fight choreography is clean and fast-paced. The Japanese cinema influence is on full display at the moments Nick is forced to draw his sword the slice up henchman.

A kick-ass action flick with a surprising amount of heart, Blind Fury will no doubt surprise people unfamiliar with it. A blast of a B-grade actioner, the movie is nonstop entertainment from the start.