17 January 2017 | Hey_Sweden
Waging the war on drugs with Bob Dylan on your soundtrack.
Trashy, brainless, and oh-so-80s action melodrama stars Stephen Lang ("Avatar", "Don't Breathe") as Joe, an American Indian & Vietnam veteran who runs a program to reform troubled youth. Five punks - Ruben (Michael Carmine), J.L. (John Cameron Mitchell), Carlos (Danny Quinn), Moss (Leon), and Dorcey (Al Shannon) - are dragged out to the Everglades and deposited there, where Joe teaches them survival instincts and teamwork. Once back in Miami, the gang is *somewhat* more mature, and they go up against vicious drug runners including Cream (Laurence Fishburne) and Nestor (James Remar).
To be honest, "Band of the Hand" is a hard slog for a while, since it's hard to give a damn about our protagonists for an extended amount of time. (This IS an overlong movie.) But things improve as "Band of the Hand" progresses, and debuting feature director Paul Michael "Starsky" Glaser gives this production a certain amusing amount of 80s excess. It bears the mark of its executive producer, 'Miami Vice' creator Michael Mann. It's noisy, it's silly, it's violent in a sometimes cartoonish way, and it's got a hip soundtrack. The centerpiece of said soundtrack is a priceless, catchy rock ditty written and sung by Bob Dylan, with Tom Petty's band The Heartbreakers backing him up.
The acting suits the material. Top billed Lang is fine in a low key portrayal. The young cast is lively, with a cute Lauren Holly playing Carlos' love interest. Remar is okay as our primary villain, and other familiar character actors like Paul Calderon, Bill Smitrovich, Michael Gregory, and an unbilled Martin Ferrero all turn up as well.
This is a decent, fun movie overall, even if the script ain't so hot. As was said before, it goes on a bit too long, but for the most part, it's *not* boring.
Seven out of 10.