Romancing the Stone (1984)This was the only Robert Zemeckis movie I hadn't seen and what a solid 80's film it was. Zemeckis in the 80's and early 90's was the damn king of good mainstream movies and this is a great start for him here. Its rather unfair that this gets called an Indiana Jones ripoff as the tone of the movie is much lighter than Indy and they dont copy any bits from Raiders- at most its a 2nd cousin. Also Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas at their peeks, this is just real solid filmmaking from a guy who was about to blaze to 88 mph.8 Word Review: Dont forget to stop by Michael Douglas's Gatorland!
That's an incredibly 80's entry and yet I think it holds up really nicely. Great banter, Douglas and Turner both having fun, "Aw, the Doobie Brothers broke up?" and DeVito in full-on slime mode.
NYC ALPHABET CITY TWO-FER: ALPHABET CITY (1984) and Paul Morrissey's MIXED BLOOD (1984) on TCM Underground for the first time.Ah, the good ol' East Village neighborhood in uptown Manhattan that was like a mini-version of mean old Bronx just blocks from Wall Street, the Mayor's Gracie Mansion and Chelsea. Like Times Square and Harlem it has been cleaned-up, gentrified and rent-controlled into yuppie heaven, leaving 80's flicks like these as time capsules worth seeing more for their nostalgic value than anything resembling cinematic action (there's barely any) or cohesive storytelling (flash over substance)."Alphabet City" (trailer) is a "Miami Vice"-inspired vehicle for Vincent Spano, who plays a flashy drug dealer named Johnny that goes through a night that will change his life and that of his loved one's when a couple of close calls make him decide to leave the life. Michael Winslow gets second-billing playing the exact same sound-effect spewing, annoying-as-all-fuck character from "Police Academy" (which came out the same year) as a Huggy Bear-type drug dealer. Oh, and Jamie Gertz embarrasses herself playing Johnny's party-crazy latina sister. Flashy, stylish and ridiculous, "Alphabet City" is just empty calories and window-dressing. Cool car though.More successful but equally head-scratching is "Mixed Blood," (trailer) which feels like it was made in response to "Death Wish III's" cartoony extremism a year before the latter was released. Mixing a toned-down "The Warriors" vibe with a realistic "West Side Story" framework (minus the happy tunes), we watch a gang feud for the lucrative Alphabet City drug trade from the point of view of The Maceteros, a Portuguese gang led my a fiery matriarch (Brazilian star Marília Pêra) and her dim-witted son Thiago (Richard Ulacia) who gather their mostly-underage forces to do battle against rival Puerto Rican gang The Dancers. A new drug dealer known as The German (Ulrich Berr) and his couldn't-care-less American girlfriend (Linda Kerridge) get intertwined in the conflict, splitting loyalties and leading to a change in the pecking order for both gangs.Directed by Paul Morrissey ("Blood of Dracula," "Flesh of Frankenstein"), "Mixed Blood" shows Alphabet City at its most decrepit, rundown authentic best (no movie set in London could replicate NYC urban grit in its prime) but it's filled with baffling story beats (one character utters a memorable 'I must look like hell' line after just having its head blown off) and two of the most amazing-for-the-wrong-reasons lead performances. Thiago is technically the leading man, but the way Ulacia talks and shouts (especially when dealing with her "Godfather"-in-her-own-mind mother or The German, neither of which speak English well) takes you out of the movie constantly. Angel David is the only actor you'll recognize (unless you can spot John Leguizamo in his film debut, I didn't), along with the struggle-for-power beats and the artful attempt to portray gritty urban violence with a modicum of authenticity. Morrissey smartly uses ethnic music (particularly Wilfrido Vargas' 'El Africano') to drive home the identities of the gangs, and to contrast nicely when a couple of bloody shoot-outs/massacres occur.Though not wall-to-wall violent "Mixed Blood" at least feels like it's walking the walk. What both it and "Alphabet City" lack in violence or action they more than compensate for with that 80's atmosphere (gritty and realistic for the former, flashy and eye-catching for the latter) no movie in any other decade could achieve.
Mixed Blood is more interesting than successful to me, but I do like Pera as the gang matriarch.
The Armor of God (1986)Disappointing Jackie Chan movie where he is an Indiana Jones-style fortune hunter. The film has too little of the martial arts action that Chan does so well, and too much of the meandering storylines and silly humor that Chan doesn’t do so well. To be fair, the last 20 minutes are terrific, with great stunts and fighting. But you have to wade through 70 minutes of mostly nonsense to get there. As with other Chan films, the end credits (featuring blown takes and failed stunts) are a hoot. However, this time there is footage of the failed stunt that nearly killed Chan when he cracked his skull open. Fortunately, that particular story had a happy ending.
The Octagon (1980) – First ViewingI feel bad for not liking a movie where Chuck Norris says this: “They weren’t terrorists, they were ninja.” Notice the use of the plural: Ninja? Rad. I would recommend just watching the last 15 minutes when Chuck Norris fights ninjas (sorry, ninja) in The Octagon: an obstacle course designed for ninja-fighting. The previous 90 minutes mainly consist of brain-meltingly INSUFFERABLE dialogue poorly delivered, and perhaps the worst car chase I’ve ever seen! Here are some much more enjoyable Chuck Norris #HeavyAction Movies: Lone Wolf McQuade, Code of Silence, The Delta Force. Also Sidekicks (I still really like Sidekicks).
I agree Matt. I loved this movie as a kid but revisiting it a couple years ago it is just flat out boring until the end. One of the lamest Ninja movies ever.
Jesus, Delta Force. AKA "At least it's not Invasion USA!"
F/X (1986)I remembered there being more action beats in this one, but it turns out I had parts confused with F/X 2: The Deadly Art of Illusion (killer title, that). Sadly, that one came out in the dirty 90s so it doesn't count. As for this one, it's pretty damn entertaining even though it's more of a conspiracy thriller than an action movie. Bryan Brown plays Rollie Tyler, a special effects man (whose practical effects border on magic, because the 80s) hired by a couple of shadowy government dudes to stage the assassination of mob informant Jerry Orbach, with cop Brian Dennehy on everyone's trail. Of course all is not as it appears to be (because special effects) so soon Rollie is on the run trying to clear his name, stay alive, and find out what the hell is really going on. There are some fun set pieces though Brown seems to have only two modes of acting: smarmy overconfidence and bug-eyed hysteria. Still very enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to watching the sequel again at some point soon.
If I could be anyone else it would be Brian Dennehy.
This is an excellent life strategy.
48 hours (1982) It is pretty bad of me to not have seen this before today but now I took the opportunity to have a watch. Nolte and Murphey have cracking chemistry. The pairing leaves me invested in the action, which builds strongly. So much fun! Too bad I can't do a Nolte impression for my review!
Don't feel bad. I hadn't seen it before last year. I agree; it's a really good movie. i'll do a Nolte impression on your behalf. "LORENZO, PICK UP THAT OIL!"
Yes! Classic. Can't go wrong with classic Walter Hill. "Another 48 hours" although inferior, is a lot of fun as well. I'm actually envious that you got to see this now for the first time. There are so many films that people are watching this month that I'm like - "Damn! I would LOVE to experience this for the first time again."
You are the first person I have ever heard of liking Another 48 Hours. You are brave and a trailblazer.
Adam, while you are correct on some of my stronger traits, I'm actually surprised to hear that! I haven't experienced much hate for that film. I thought it was pretty well liked for what it was. Hmmm...maybe I'll revisit.
Thanks for the Nolte impression there Adam! Many movies would be great to experience on the big screen as that might come as close to feeling like a first viewing out of something you may have seen before as we can get!
Blastfighter (1984) Dir. Lamberto Bava (A Blade in the Dark, Demons, Demons 2) BUT credited as John Old Jr.! Italian/French production filmed in Clayton, Georgia USA. Whoa! I picked this one at random, looking through an 80's action list and when I saw the title: BLASTFIGHTER; I was in. I mean who would ever pass that up?! Credits start to roll in Italian over an obvious American setting...I'm thinking "Hmmm...interesting". The music is thumping, straight up Italian Cop/Giallo style and things are already all intense and then I see "Regia - John Old Jr." Wait, wait, wait. Who the F is John Old Jr.?!" I paused, looked it up and found out it was no other than Lamberto Bava - the master behind Demons! Holy shit, I couldn't wait to hit play again! I'm glad I did. In Summary, Jake "Tiger" Sharp (Fuck yes!) is an ex-cop who's wife was killed, he killed the murderer and went to jail. He gets out years later and meets up with some guy who gives him this gun that is INSANE. "It shoots everything"! Please watch the first 6-10 minutes of this film so you can see the guy describe the gun. My mouth was on the floor. I was waiting for him to throw in "Even water balloons, Tiger". Things get crazy after this. He finds out that there is a group of people that are hunting animals but not in a humane way because they keep them alive for some scrub who is a Chinese herbalist or some shit and they make a lot of loot from him. Tiger's not feeling this so he's out to handle biz. Craziness ensues. The plot goes all over the place and Tiger goes Rambo. The acting and lines delivered are nothing short of brilliant. I wish I could explain more but I can't give spoilers out for a gem like this. The ONLY fault is that they play this really annoying song that was written by the Bee-Gee's and sung by a country singer, one too many times and for too long. Otherwise, LEGIT CHOICE FOR JUNESPLOITATION! One of my top 5 so far this month.
The Terminator- First viewingI can’t believe it took me this long to see this. I haven’t seen T2 either. Unfortunately, I have seen Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation. Shudder. The movie doesn’t feel dated. It does a great job of setting up a mythology. I liked how James Cameron told a big story on a small scale. I thought the special effects added charm to it. It was weird seeing Lance Henriksen playing a normal guy. I’m excited for T2. I think I’m going to save it for 4th of July.
The more years go by, the more I become convinced this is one of the best movies of all time.
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)This was a pretty decent choice for '80s Action! It had a car chase, murder, a strip club scene and some shoot outs. But my favorite part was how genuinely amused Eddie Murphy seemed by everything that was happening around him. Beverly Hills is such a silly place. Also, the cop duo he meets up with were hysterical. I would watch a sitcom with them.
Lone Wolf McQuade (1983, dir. Steve Carver) I'm not the biggest Chuck Norris fan, and this did nothing to convince me otherwise. The movie is FINE, but it didn't have the vibe I wanted on '80s action day. I was looking for Commando and I got something that felt more like a late '70s western. The two upsides were 1) Dana Kimmel and 2) the argyle sweater David Carradine wears during the final fight.
The Running Man (1987, dir. Paul Michael Glaser)I'm posting this after midnight, BUT, I figure this still counts because I started it before midnight. Also, the relative human experience of time. Faulkner said clocks kill time, anyway.Decided on this because it's a rather large hole in my Arnold experience. Loved the premise, although it's been recycled lately in The Hunger Games or Battle Royale. Arnold is more prone to his one-liners in this one, which I love, but one should be warned. Also, loved Richard Dawson.
Death Wish 3 (1985)Now I get it. A Man. A Gun. everything else? Fuck It!You know its America when he gets a bazooka in the mail. Theres a love story in it because......Fuck it!In the original draft Bronson's characters name was Kevin McAlister.This is the 80s New York where you die from a broken arm!Bronson walks on set, gets close enough to his mark, reads the jist of the cue cards, everything else? Fuck It.I know im late to the party on this one but this was some good fun. I tried to keep expectations in check due to the legend it has become but there was no need, I can see why it caused such a stir last year. FriendofCharliesploitation!
Beverly Hills Cop (1984)Great, laid-back, effortless, quiet, violent, funny movie.
Action Jackson (1988) trailerDay late and a dollar short, but how is this not always in the running for Top 5 Action Movies of All Time? This was a freakin' masterpiece! Craig Baxley's debut is a gauntlet thrown down hard; one-liners, unnecessary explosions, reckless chases, and a who's who of henchmen: Bob Minor (Delinquent Schoolgirls, Coffy) Dennis Hayden (Die Hard,) Al Leong (Last Action Hero,) Branscome Richmond (Commando,) and best of all Nicholas Worth (Don't Answer the Phone, the inspiration for Jamie Gillis in Waterpower.) Craig T. Nelson gets to show off his karate skills, and Prince Hughes says "Hi, I'm Mister Ed!" Chaybee1, I owe you for this one!