A movie with a scene where the cop hero clings to a speeding vehicle? Well, it was most probably made in the 1980s. At Cannon Films, B-grade action films seemed to roll off the belt every week as Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus sought to fashion new stars in the mould of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
1. Die Hard
This movie is not an exploitation with a muscleman in the lead, nor is it a fast-and-cheap knock-off from a shady distributor. Die Hard is that action film which every other movie wants to be like. The rooftop explosion, which wipes out an FBI helicopter is no doubt the most impressive scenes ever. Fans remember the movie for the banter between Bruce and Alan Rickman. These have set the standards for action films for the years after.
This is without doubt the most influential movies of the 80s. All credit goes to James Cameron, the man who made the follow-up that develops on the original and also re-works the plot so well that is good enough to be a stand-alone movie. All Cameron’s trademarks are correct: a female warrior with a love of hardware, a corporate bad guy and a succession of large-scale action sequences where stuff blows up real good.
3. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Raiders Of The Lost Ark is definitely the real deal! This is an almost perfect blend of action and humour. The dialogue, pacing, and cast is all top-notch. But even Spielberg struggled to match the movie in the sequels, but at least he performed better than his imitators.
4. The Terminator
If you look at it, this is one movie that shouldn’t’ take off so well. The budget for Terminator was as low as $6 million and this could have given it a B-movie feel. But it is a movie with the best ideas ever although borrowed from the old episodes of The Outer Limits. Striking a The Terminator bears a striking resemblance to Harlan Ellison’s episode. The film concludes with an acknowledgement to Ellison, and well, now you know why.
5. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
George Miller claimed that he had no money for the first movie.“I did the second one because I wanted, hopefully, to get it right this time,” he said. Well, he made a trend-setting, movie that, till day, is the gold standard of post-apocalyptic action movies. Miller does not shoot the picture like a simple music video but in a way that both violent and spectacular would be at its finest.
In any previous decade, Robocop couldn’t have been made at any time other than at the height of Reaganism. But only Paul Verhoeven brought every element to life. It is a satire and action movie and place in the future. Here, corporations own almost everything. They even own the police force. After a police officer dies, he is transformed into the latest cyborg that. He shoots rapists in the balls but the programming will not allow him to touch corporate villains. The action movie is crisp and to the point.
The movie leans towards action and the director, John McTiernanhe has generated a whole lot of tension in the movie so that it isn’t the run-of-the-mill cheesy monster movie. “Predator” with no doubt has one of the strongest supporting casts ever. Something like, “Ocean’s 11” cast with a dozen Pitts and Clooneys. The movie pushes the motto of “when all seems lost and you are abandoned, something always beckons you to move on and survive. Themovie has a spectacular ending which is not just a triumph for Dutch, but also the human race.
8. Lethal Weapon
This movie is the ultimate film ever. It is about two mismatched cops, one a family man and the other, a suicidal psycho. Although one may have seen this action series formula many times, it has never been done so well. Although, the action scenes in Lethal Weapon are one of the best carnages ever committed to film, the commitment to characters are what elevates the movie above all others. The real beauty of “Lethal Weapon” lies in the fact that it never lost sight of who Riggs and Murtaugh were as their character. Their connection is what carried the franchise.