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The Top 5 1986 Action Movies That Should Be TV Shows

January 23, 2023 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Big Trouble in Little China

The Top 5 1986 Action Movies That Should Be TV Shows

Not that long ago, while doing research for a mega list that I may still do one of these days, I started thinking about what movies would likely make good TV shows or, at least, what movies would make for potentially interesting TV shows. For no reason in particular, I then started thinking about action movies from the year 1986 and wondered “What action movies from 1986 would make for great/interesting TV shows?” The next day, with the idea still fairly fresh in my mind, I made a preliminary list of the action movies of 1986 and, after about an hour or so, I came up with the five best action movies from 1986 that would make for great/interesting TV shows.

And so, without any further what have you, what 5 1986 action movies should be TV shows?

The Top 5 1986 Action Movies That Should Be TV Shows

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

5-The Delta Force: This Chuck Norris-Lee Marvin led action flick, which, to me at least, plays like a 1970’s disaster movie with an all-star cast, would make for a great TV show because we would get to see more Delta Force operations. I wouldn’t go for the super serious tone that other Special Forces TV shows went for, like the David Mamet created The Unit or the David Boreanz led SEAL Team, though. The Delta Force the TV show would still need to have the same sense of weird fun that the movie had, especially the second half of the movie. I mean, sure, in order to set up the mission for the Delta Force operators to take on the tone of the show would have to be serious and the bad guys would have to be menacing and all that, but once the team gets its orders it’s “dirt bikes with machine guns and rockets and grenade launchers” time. Who the hell wouldn’t enjoy that kind of TV show?

Image Credit: Lionsgate

4- The Wraith: You could go multiple ways with a TV show based on The Wraith. You could basically do a longer, more drawn out version of the movie, with each episode maybe ending with another death race between the killer car and Packer’s gang, or you could do a kind of anthology deal with the Wraith acting as a kind of ghostly superhero righting the wrongs of society or whatever (or maybe Knight Rider but with a supernatural twist as opposed to a technological one). The car chase stunts would have to be top notch, though, so I’d imagine a The Wraith should would end up being expensive. But it would definitely be worth it to try to make something like this. It’s been way too long since we’ve had a “cool car” TV show.

Image Credit: Olive Films

3- Firewalker: I’ve always been slightly surprised that Firewalker, the action-adventure buddy comedy starring Chuck Norris and Lou Gossett, Jr., didn’t become a full on movie franchise back in the late 1980’s. It wasn’t a huge hit at the box office or anything, but it clearly did well on home video and cable since it was goddamn everywhere back in the day. The idea of Chuck Norris and Lou Gossett, Jr. going on new adventures to uncover new treasure and whatnot seems like something worth exploring in multiple movies. So why not turn that premise into a weekly TV show, with Max Donigan (the Chuck Norris character) and Leo Porter (the Gossett, Jr. character) travelling all over the world, getting into trouble all of the time? I think it would work. I wouldn’t make the show a parody, though. I would try to keep the adventure plots as straight as possible and allow the comedy to flow out organically from both the lead characters’ chemistry and the dialogue. I think people would tune into this kind of show.

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

2- Big Trouble in Little China: I think it would be fun to either do a sort of TV show remake of the movie, expanding on the situations and characters and whatnot (think of the Robert Rodriguez led TV show of From Dusk Till Dawn), or doing a TV show sequel to the movie, where the story picks up right where the movie ended, with the hairy monster coming up out of the sewer and grabbing Jack Burton’s Pork Chop Express truck. Because what the heck happens after that final sequence in the movie? Fans of the movie would love to know, and I’m sure that avid TV watchers would give it a shot. Finding that balance between the action, comedy, and the supernatural shenanigans might be difficult to pull off, but it would be worth trying. I’m actually surprised that one of the big hooha streaming services haven’t tried to do this. Maybe Disney+ is going to give this a shot once the company decides if that Willow show is a hit.

Image Credit: Scream Factory

1- Cobra: Cobra has always felt like a sequel to a movie that was never made. The non-existent “first movie” would have no doubt explained what “The Zombie Squad” is and why it exists, why Stallone’s Lt. Marion “Cobra” Cobretti has such an extensive computer database in his apartment, why cops like Cobretti are allowed to carry knives and grenades and whatnot, etc. And when Gonzalez delivers his “The bottom line” line when explaining who and what Cobretti is to Ingrid, that sure seems like a line where the audience should hoot and holler and cheer because it’s a call back to that first movie. So that’s what a Cobra TV show should do: explore what the hell is going on in this version of Los Angeles and the world in general. Just how bad is crime? Are there more killer cults out there wreaking havoc? And think about how cool it would be if the TV show used the movie as a sort of “middle part of the story,” where an actor that looks like a younger Stallone heads up the first two seasons or something, and then later seasons could have the current “old” Stallone, maybe operating in modern times or something. I would love to know what sort of TV show Robert Rodriguez had in mind back a few years ago when he was going to make a Cobra TV show, presumably for his then actual cable TV network El Rey. I’m sure that would have been awesome or, at least, watchable.


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