Movies & TV / Columns

The Man Movie Encyclopedia: Top 5 1980s Action Movies

November 14, 2016 | Posted by Caliber Winfield


Greetings, all.

For the rest of this month I thought we’d do a series of count-downs, featuring the greatest action movies of a particular decade. Starting with the 80s, 90s, and the modern era, which I consider from 2000 until now. I’d like to hear what you, the beautiful people, think are the Top 5 from the 80s, so long as they are the same exact ones I’ve given here. Also, in case you some how missed my previous reviews, each title is a link to the previous editions of the Man Movie Encyclopedia.
Tell me, do you guys think modern action movies can ever be as good as the ones that have come before? So rarely do I find a current action film that just blows me away, like a Bloodsport, or Total Recall. The Expendables films are of course great, but those are the old guard, coming back to show they still do it better than anyone else. I recently saw Olympus & London Has Fallen, and while they were good, they certainly weren’t among anything I’d call a must-see for action films. Hell, it seems like if you want any fantastic modern action you gotta go over sees. The Raid franchise, the Ip Man franchise, some of the best action films I’ve ever seen, films I’d put up against any of the classics.

So, beyond what I’m wondering what your 80s picks are, any awesomeness I’m missing out on from the more recent years? OK, on with the show….

5. The Terminator
The one that started it all, was a revolution in sci-fi and film making, and is my favorite of the franchise. As we all know, Arnold stars as the machine that travels back in time, just to be a cock-block. It’s awesome. Sarah Connor goes from an average woman on a rockin’ moped, to being built out of cast iron. Kyle Reese, in love with a photo, actually gets to see that dream come true as he protects Sarah to the death. Of course, Arnold is the star, as a hulking brute that smokes everyone from house-wives, boyfriends, roommates, and cops. The effects, although a bit primitive by today’s standards, were the future back then, and still look damn cool. A hell of a film, and an absolute mandate.

4. Commando
Commando is what 80’s action is all about. It’s the film that all action films, for a while, was built upon. In a role originally intended for Nick Nolte, Arnold stars as John Matrix, a former special forces soldier who has to rescue his daughter from a former colleague who’s partnered up with a dictator and now want him to do a little killing for them. Oh, he’ll do some killing alright. The second his daughter is kidnapped, the film never stops delivering ridiculous awesomeness. From Arnold ripping out car seats, to ripping out phone booths, swinging across malls, saying one-liners to humor himself, and literally taking on an entire army by himself. On the opposite side of the ring from Matrix, is Bennett. An out of shape version of Freddie Mercury in a chainmail tank-top, that is absolutely perfect in it’s absurdity. Commando is the whole reason this article series exists, as I got the idea for it while watching the film. Because this is a FILM, dammit. I refuse to hear otherwise.

3. Bloodsport
The greatest martial arts film ever made? Probably. JCVD gets his break out role in what’s suppose to be Frank Dux’s life story, and the film that inspired Mortal Kombat. As Dux, he looks to honor his sensi by winning the underground fighting tournament known as the Kumite. A super secret tournament that seemingly everyone who’s ever lived has known about, by the way. Once there, he meets Jackson, a brute of a dude whose fighting style is basically Fuck You, and is about as burly as one can get. Once they get to the Kumite, we meet a large cast of characters & fighters, with styles ranging from Sumo, Kung-Fu, Muay Thai, and the aforementioned Fuck You. The fight scenes are awesome, and where this movie shines, of course. The reigning champion is none other than Chong Li, the brutal title holder who loves nothing more than the cheers and adulation from the crowd. It’s hilarious, because he’s a huge dude that breaks bones & kills people, and is seemingly heartbroken when he doesn’t get everyone cheering his name. His final match with JCVD is of course awesome, and and started the trend of the blind comeback. I mean, c’mon, this is the film that introduced us to JCVD and the splits, that alone is worthy of inclusion on the list.

2. Predator
Honestly, the top two spots here are interchangeable on any given day. Predator is about as manly as a movie gets. Arnold and the burliest crew of the 80s get together to first blow shit up, then do battle with one of the best on-screen monsters of all time. Everything about this movie is perfect. The opening shot of Dutch and the crew arriving is enough to cause the DVD to grow back hair. Once it gets Dillion & Dutch getting to the handshake, you gotta take the disc out and shave it. We get a great firefight once they hit the jungle, old school action that involves one-liners, machine guns, and explosions. Hell, if the film had ended after that, it’d still probably be in the Top 5. After that, we’re introduced to the Predator, as he starts to take out the guys one by one. It’s fantastic, because he’s invisible at first, and everyone starts to lose their minds a little bit. An awesome moment happens when they damn near cut down the entire jungle themselves with about 10,000 rounds. Afterwards, they’re picked off ones by one, in very gory fashion. Of course, it comes down to only Dutch & the Predator, as one embraces the old-school, crafting a bow & arrow and spear, and introducing the creature to the business end of what-the-fuck-ever-he-can-find. It’s fucking awesome. Dutch of course proves his burliness after he not only defeats the Predator, but out runs an atomic blast. Fuck yeah.


1. Robocop
Goddamn, what a movie. I mean, where does one begin to describe the greatness that is Robocop? It shows right away it’s not your ordinary action film, as we start off with the futuristic news cast, and the awesome commercials that the series became known for. We then follow Alex Murphy on his first day as part of Old Detroit’s police force. Unfortunately, he runs up against Boddicker and his marry band of no-good-knicks, and in terms of bad first days, his hits at least a 7 out of 10, as they blow him apart with shot-guns. It’s one of the most stomach churning moments I’ve ever seen, and still gets me to this day. However, when life hands you lemons, make Robocop. From what they were able to keep from Murphy, they create one of the greatest action heroes ever, as he rolls around Old Detroit, thwarting robbers, saving hostages, and shooting rapists in the dick, it’s phenomenal. On top of that, we have an awesome cast of characters, including Clarence Boddicker, one of the more sadistic and well played villains ever, Dick Jones, a sadistic business man who funds Boddicker’s rampages, and ED-209, the coolest fucking robot ever, that was of course ruined in that shitty remake. Over the top violence, incredible effects, great music, great action…just, great fucking everything, and that my friends is why Robocop is my pick for the greatest action movie of the 1980s. Naturally, I’d buy that for a dollar.

Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
Twitter: @CaliberWinfield
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I post almost daily with workout related stuff to help you cats out, along with what’s coming down the pike via the MME, and general pop culture from the 80s and 90s that I can’t seem to let go of.
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