Hey fact fans, or fact curious. With just one week left till the next CCC event, some of you may be wondering what beauty we’ve got in store for you this time. Don’t worry, this post is 100% spoiler free.
Vendetta dal futuro (a.k.a. Hands of Steel, a.k.a. Fists of Steel, Vendetta From the Future and Atomic Cyborg) is a 1986 Italian science fiction film starring Daniel Greene, Luigi Montefiore, John Saxon and Claudio Cassinelli and directed by Sergio Martino. Don’t worry if you’re scared of subtitles, we guarantee the dialogue in this film is in English (or something similar).
Tragically, Claudio Cassinelli died in a helicopter crash on July 12, 1985 during filming in Arizona. According to the National Transportation Safety Board report, the rotor blades of the Bell 206-B struck the underside of the steel bridge and broke off, causing the aircraft to plummet into the canyon below, killing Cassinelli and the pilot. The crash was officially attributed to inattention and poor judgment by the pilot; the NTSB report notes that a bottle of the prescription diet pill Ionamin (Phentermine) was found in the pilot’s hotel room, and that this drug may cause errors in judgment, but his actual use of the drug could not be verified because his body was never recovered.
John Saxon, strictly adhering to Screen Actors Guild rules, refused to act in any scenes shot in America (all his scenes were shot in Italy) as this was not a union film. He credits SAG with saving his life as otherwise he would have likely been on the helicopter that crashed claiming the life of his co-star Claudio Cassinelli and has not violated any SAG guidelines since. Two different but identically painted Bell helicopters were used for filming; the aircraft seen in close-up shots with Mr. Saxon has Italian registration, whereas the one seen flying – the helicopter involved in the fatal crash – has American registration.
Although the movie is clearly inspired by The Terminator (1984), it has much more in common with the Universal Soldier (1992) franchise. Perhaps even an inspiration.