Picks and Pans Review: The Toughest Man in the World
updated 11/12/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/12/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST
A person could get hurt for saying this, but Mr. T is kinda cute. If only he could restrain himself from bashing people. Toughest Man has the endearing if simplistic quality of an after-school special: T is Bruise Brubaker, a bouncer in a Chicago disco who coaches a basketball team for slum kids. But his youth center is going broke. Enter John (Jennifer Slept Here) Navin, a real tough kid who has the nerve to threaten T with a knife and say: "I'm gonna finish off that goofy lookin' haircut of yours." T, the pussycat, takes the kid in and, with Navin in Mickey Rooney's role and T in Judy Garland's, they put on a show with kids and balloons and gosh, it'll be fun. But numbers runner Navin fixes the door-prize drawing, the show gets busted and the kid goes to work for the mob. So T enters a Toughest Man contest to make money. The good guys of course win. But in the contest and in life they win only because T bashes people, picking them up and slam dunking them like basketballs. The moral of the movie is clear: Might, not just right, is what wins. It is a frightening justification of violence to feed to kids.