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Movies => Bad Movies => Topic started by: Jim H on April 30, 2009, 11:26:41 PM



Title: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Jim H on April 30, 2009, 11:26:41 PM
I was looking at a few of my favorite 80s action films, the cheesy ones.  Specifically, I was thinking about what makes me love them.

Films I'm talking about are stuff like the Golan/Globus films.  Ya know, American Ninja films, Cobra, Missing in Action, etc. 

A few of the things that make them great:

A belief that an easy-to-follow plot is more important than one that is completely coherent (it's fun playing spot-the-plothole).
Outrageous overacting.
Lots of stupid explosions.
A philosophy that says revenge is the best form of justice, and always arranges it so the hero can exact it without consequence.
Lots and lots of fleshbags for the hero to punch/flip/blow up/stab/slice/shoot.

I know there's a lot more to the appeal than this.  What does everyone else think?


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Doggett on May 01, 2009, 10:18:57 AM
80's music montages...just can't beat 'em !

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4arKx8CvQ_o

Have to love that music ! :teddyr:


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: lester1/2jr on May 01, 2009, 10:36:21 AM
sometimes you just want to see a bazooka


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Psycho Circus on May 01, 2009, 12:09:31 PM
Guys with stubble and sweaty, bulging muscles saving hot women from evil Russians backed by anthemic synth rock! Hell yeah!

80's action films are total warzones, fight after fight, until you can't take it anymore. They are just guilty pleasures that don't have to be well written or have any deep values or morals. They satisfy some of man's great urges/needs; revenge, power, pride, closure....etc....

Cobra is the perfect example: Tough guy cop out for justice on the streets and within his own department, stunning car, good looking woman, guns with laser-sights, maniac with a bad-ass knife, hilarious dialogue and awesome soundtrack. It cannot be beat.

^ I know I just rambled on there quite nonesensically, but this subject gets me giddy.  :tongueout:


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: schmendrik on May 01, 2009, 01:33:27 PM
I haven't seen one in awhile so this is by memory, but it seems to me there's something satisfying about the fight scenes in these movies. Good moves, things that make you sit up and shout "Cool!" and rewind to watch it again. As opposed to an emphasis on special effects.

I've always found Chuck Norris movies to be total junk but deeply satisfying for some reason. I love them all.


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Jack on May 01, 2009, 03:04:11 PM
Pure unapologetic cheese. 


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: MilkManPictures on May 01, 2009, 05:32:03 PM
The concept that bigger is always better.  :teddyr:


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Andrew on May 01, 2009, 08:16:38 PM
I like the plentiful explosions, the really evil bad guys who are evil just because they're evil, the multitude of weapons (how many did Matrix carry around in "Commando" anyway), and the one-liners.  There are not many joys more joyful than a vengeful hero uttering that zinger one-liner as he finishes off the main bad guy, or after dispatching a dozen lower henchmen.

Recently, meaning within the last few months, I've watched quite a few of the old action flicks.  Two favs that jump to mind are "Blind Fury" and "Eye of the Tiger."  "Wanted:  Dead or Alive" was very good as well.

EDIT:  Fixing the title to correct it to "Eye of the Tiger."


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Neville on May 02, 2009, 09:20:17 AM
I'll always remain fascinated with the stuff, if only because that's the kind of movies I watched in my teens, and they'll always feel special to me even if they aren't. It doesn't hurt that there are so many great forgotten 70-80s actioners, like "Driver" or "Runaway train" out there.

Some of the more mainstream stuff fares worse with time. I saw the first "Missing in action" film last week, and while the barebones filmaking felt quite refreshing (today, every punch from Chuck Norris would have its own frame and be accompanied by loud, aggresive music) the action bits per se were surprisingly cheesy. There's one scene where Norris blews up several guard towers, and yet somehow he manages to caught the guard in the last one by surprise.

But there are too many things I miss from those films, like the murky cinematography, the pulsating synth scores, the unapologetic level of violence, or the mechanic, deliberate editing, so I will probably be watching them for the rest of my life.


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Mr. DS on May 06, 2009, 03:14:05 PM
Pretty much the standard reasons mentioned, but especially for the cheesy dialog.  Stuff like Ah-nold in Commando,
"All dat mattas to me now is Jenny..."


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: RCMerchant on May 06, 2009, 04:40:06 PM
Cheezy kung Fu!  :teddyr:

...as in TNT JACKSON...(a favorite!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GilDnrwsL_w


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Jim H on May 07, 2009, 12:39:17 PM
80's music montages...just can't beat 'em !

[url]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4arKx8CvQ_o[/url]

Have to love that music ! :teddyr:


Great one!  Reminds me of Rocky IV - how many musical montages did that have?  Like 8?


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Psycho Circus on May 08, 2009, 12:41:38 PM
Pretty much the standard reasons mentioned, but especially for the cheesy dialog.  Stuff like Ah-nold in Commando,
"All dat mattas to me now is Jenny..."

Commando is another prime example. It's full of violence and action, but it's so damn ridiculous....I love it!  :teddyr:


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Mr. DS on May 08, 2009, 07:43:32 PM
Pretty much the standard reasons mentioned, but especially for the cheesy dialog.  Stuff like Ah-nold in Commando,
"All dat mattas to me now is Jenny..."

Commando is another prime example. It's full of violence and action, but it's so damn ridiculous....I love it!  :teddyr:
Commando is a text book case of 80s action.  Its awful, its cheezy, its downright unbelivable but you buy it!  I mean seriously, there wasn't a single guy who could flank Ah-nold's character in that final battle and blow his brains out?


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: AndyC on May 08, 2009, 10:44:19 PM
Absolutely no effort expended on realistic, multilayered characters. The characters serve the plot and have only the characteristics they need - the hero, the villain, the henchman, the hero's girl, the hero's partner, the cannon fodder, the smartass who gets his, etc. The closest thing to character depth is giving the hero some unexpected quirk, such as a penchant for classical music or some such thing, or maybe giving him some simple emotional baggage. The movies are entirely about telling an exciting story without weighing it down with a lot of storytelling.

That and the heroes themselves play to our fantasies. Nobody messes with them and gets away with it. They get revenge. They get the girl. If the rules seem to be getting in the way of doing the right thing, they break the rules. But in the end, they get away with everything because they got the job done. Who hasn't wished the world worked like that once in a while?

The heroes of the 80s are also fascinating in that they are only slightly less psychopathic than the villains. Because they're on the side of law and order, and they have a sense of humour, we overlook that they go through the movie killing people left and right without a second thought, and joking about it. Hard to explain why that's enjoyable in a movie, but it is.


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Mr. DS on May 09, 2009, 07:10:31 AM
Side note, who besides me likes Eye Of The Tiger starring Gary Busey?  That film rocks to me.   Its another good example of bad cliched 80s actioners that rock. 


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Andrew on May 09, 2009, 10:10:45 AM
Side note, who besides me likes Eye Of The Tiger starring Gary Busey?  That film rocks to me.   Its another good example of bad cliched 80s actioners that rock. 

Recently, meaning within the last few months, I've watched quite a few of the old action flicks.  Two favs that jump to mind are "Blind Fury" and "Eye of the Tiger" (corrected title).  "Wanted:  Dead or Alive" was very good as well.

I'm with you, even though that has to be the most disturbing way to kill a man with a stick of dynamite...



Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Rev. Powell on May 09, 2009, 11:27:33 AM
I never liked the genre when I was  surrounded by it growing up.  Seemed to me to echo the worst sensibilities of the Reagan era: lots of thoughtless patriotic violence, and barely a hint of sex or nudity.  What twisted values!  I watched wholesome women-in-prison and nudie-barbarian movies at the time.  Maybe today I could go back and see the camp value in these action flicks, but at the time I thought they were just stupid, and not in a fun way. 


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: schmendrik on May 09, 2009, 11:36:18 AM
Side note, who besides me likes Eye Of The Tiger starring Gary Busey?  That film rocks to me.   Its another good example of bad cliched 80s actioners that rock. 

Never heard of it but I'll check it out. I've been a Gary Busey fan since his role as the mutinying Navy officer in Steven Seagal's "Under Siege". One of my all time favorite action movies and he's one of several reasons why.


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Neville on May 11, 2009, 03:43:30 PM
I liked "Eye of the tiger", but for me the ultimate Gary Busey movie will always be "Bulletproof". It's like "Lethal weapon" with armored vehicles!  :teddyr:


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Torgo on May 11, 2009, 04:00:26 PM
The great thing about 80's action movies was that optical effects had really come into their own by the 80's and the advent of CGI hadn't come around yet. So everything that was usually done effects or stunts wise in 80's action movies had to be done practically which just adds to the cheesiness/goofiness.

Not that the crappy optical work looked that much better, but there's a huge charm that poorly done optical work has that crappy CGI can't begin to match.   


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Neville on May 11, 2009, 04:02:55 PM
I couldn't agree more.  :thumbup:


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: WingedSerpent on May 12, 2009, 05:19:13 PM
One Word: MULLETS!


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Psycho Circus on May 13, 2009, 11:52:24 AM
The great thing about 80's action movies was that optical effects had really come into their own by the 80's and the advent of CGI hadn't come around yet. So everything that was usually done effects or stunts wise in 80's action movies had to be done practically which just adds to the cheesiness/goofiness.

Not that the crappy optical work looked that much better, but there's a huge charm that poorly done optical work has that crappy CGI can't begin to match.   

Yeah, plus stunts and explosions were the real deal.


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: MilkManPictures on May 13, 2009, 01:37:36 PM
They were just straight ahead action films. None of the cross genre stuff like today.


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: jordo2k1 on December 19, 2012, 05:16:02 PM
love eye of the tigerhunted this down last week after wondering what this film was for about 2 years of looking (watched it in the 80's as a kid) quality film and me and the girlfriend watched it recently again loved it!!


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: lester1/2jr on December 19, 2012, 08:02:02 PM
weren't they in Afghanistan or something for that one?


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Chainsaw midget on December 20, 2012, 03:33:36 PM
They have an over the top charm.  Everything is bigger than it needs to be.   At the same time, there's a bit of campy charm.  It plays even the silliest aspects straight.  It helps that all the characters are very much one note. 

The cinematography is anther thing.  Everything is bright, cheerful, and well lit (although perhaps a bit muddy looking).  Movies hadn't gotten to the point where they tried to make everything dark and gritty yet.  Even the bad neighborhoods had a rather clean look to them.  Somehow it feels more honest and less sensationalized. 

The action is also very comic-book like.  Sure people get shot, stabbed, ran over, and then blow up, but nobody ever really seems to get hurt.  If they do, they'll either shrug it off after bandaging their wounds or grimace for a little bit and ten die.  Nobody suffers. 


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: JaseSF on December 25, 2012, 07:11:19 PM
Loud and stupid but also surprisingly entertaining fun.


Title: Re: Bad 80s action: What makes them great?
Post by: Archivist on December 30, 2012, 04:38:08 AM
Everything is over the top, and doesn't really take itself seriously.  The 80's in American action cinema were full of crazy explosions, gunfights, fistfights and everything in between, and you could just turn off your mind and enjoy.  Everything was black and white but in a cool way.  The good guys were often crazy, but since they were 'good', they could get away with everything they did.  Arnold can happily dangle someone over a cliff to get information, then drop him off, and we just laugh about it.

By the way, has anyone ever noticed that in Commando, Arnold starts calling his daughter by the name of the main actress' character about halfway through???  I realized this during the third viewing on good old VHS in the 80's, and it never fails to amuse me.

80's Hong Kong action cinema was amazing, particularly the ones with Donnie Yen and the 'girls with guns' like Moon Lee, Cynthia Khan, Yukari Oshima et al.  They were really gung-ho about creating very violent, bone crunching actions scenes that are now largely lost to HK cinema.  Now it is Indonesia (The Raid) and Thailand (Ong Bak) that does this kind of action.