Ok, so I know that the title doesn’t really entice people to keep reading but I believe in being honest with my readers. I refuse to title something one way and then take it in a completely different direction. So straight up, this is a compilation of really terrible 80′s action flicks. What triggered this you ask? Well, first and foremost is the release of The Expendables 2. I’ll be honest and say that I loved, loved, loved the first one. Not because it was a great movie, but because it had all those guys I grew up watching, in one film, blowing shit up. Add all that with even more of the actors I grew up watching, blowing shit up together AND kicking each other’s asses? SOLD….to gal with the red, Bon Jovi-ish hair!
I watched a lot of movies growing up. And by a lot I mean A LOOOOOOOT. The majority of them were crap action movies but hey, when you only have one HBO channel and one Showtime channel, and they show the same stuff over and over, your options are limited. Kids don’t know just how good they have it these days. I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit recently and for some reason one film keeps popping up in my head. Well, as I was channel surfing last night, it was actually on, so I watched part of it. Only part because it was so wretched, I couldn’t endure it for too long. So that film will kick of my list of Crappy Action Movies (list is in no particular order).
#5 – Gymkata
Starring: Real life Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas and a bunch of other cheesy guys with bad hair and no acting skills.
Plot: Kurt Thomas plays Jonathan Cabot, an Olympic gymnast (go figure) who combines gymnastics with martial arts. Cabot is recruited by the SIA (Special Intelligence Agency) and asked to enter into a deadly competition. Their goal is for Cabot to win, so that they can install a satellite monitoring system. Not that any of that matters though. Really this is just a way for Thomas to show off his mad skills….such as they are.
This film is so bad it hurts. I mean, to the point of having to look away. It bombed when it came out, it earned Thomas a Razzie and has since become something of a cult film due to just how ridiculously hilarious it is. The best part of the film are the sound effects when someone gets hit, punched, stabbed, or what have you. The Wilhelm Scream is prevalent in this film as well. It really is complete rubbish.
#4 – American Ninja
Starring: Michael Dudikoff, Steve James (who is also credited as “Guy at Table” in Weird Science) and various other cheeseballs.
Plot: Dudikoff plays Pvt. Joe Armstrong, a man who chose the military over prison and has to defend his base in the Philippines against murderous ninjas and also has to rescue the Colonel’s daughter, but gets his platoon killed in the process and becomes the main target of revenge. Yes, it’s as terrible as it sounds.
Honestly, I never pictured Dudikoff in a role like this. First place I ever saw him was as one of the buddies in Bachelor Party. This film was on heavy rotation on HBO back in the day and I’ve lost count how many times I actually watched it. I knew it was bad then, so I can only imagine just how painful it would be to sit through now. Another tidbit…the daughter was played by the same gal who played Hilly in Weird Science….just thought I’d throw that out there. Also, they must have done a title change because the title on the trailer is American Warrior. Whatever the title….the movie sucks.
3 – The Beastmaster
Starring: Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts, Rip Torn
Plot: Oh God….ok, this guy, Dar, is the soon of a King, but was stolen from his mother’s womb (ummmm OK…) and ended up being raised by peasants. He has this crazy ability to communicate with animals telepathically and uses his ability when he goes on a vengeance bender to defeat the bad guys who killed his family.
Yet another winner that was on a constant loop on the movie channels. I have never been able to look at Marc Singer in any other movie and not see him in his loincloth making animal sounds. Oh…errr…umm….so that doesn’t sound good at all. But you get my drift.
2 – The Punisher
Starring: Dolph Lundgren, Louis Gossett Jr.
Plot: Vigilant cop Frank Castle takes to the sewers and goes on a bad guy killing spree in order to avenge the murder of his family.
I’ve written about this one before, comparing it to the other two Punisher films and this one is BY FAR the worst of the lot. It squeaks in by being released in 1989 and it definitely deserves a place on any crappy movie list. Everything about it is bad. EVERYTHING. If you haven’t seen this one, by God don’t. Watch the Ray Stevenson version instead. That one is more in line with the actual Frank Castle character. I want Dolph to do well, I really do. But this film just needs to be burned and it’s ashes drenched in lighter fluid and then burned again.
1 – Iron Eagle
Starring: Jason Gedrick, Louis Gossett Jr., Tim Thomerson
Plot: When Doug Master’s Air Force Pilot father is shot down in the Middle East, Doug enlists the help of Col. Chappy Sinclair to plan and execute a rescue mission.
It is indeed, as ridiculous as it sounds. But hey, back in the 80′s when you saw this teenage kid flying, OK…acting like he was flying, a fight jet…you wanted to do it to am I right? No? Just me then…..anyway. I caught this again recently and had to turn it off because I just couldn’t sit though it. But on the plus side, Tim Thomerson was in it. If it was cornball and if it was in the 80′s, chances are Tim Thomerson popped up somewhere. That’s how he rolled back then.
Since I couldn’t find a decent trailer, I’ll do you one better. The song One Vision by Queen is featured in the film so here’s the video. It shows the band, but also some clips from the movie.
So….what did I miss? Anything you want to add to the list, just leave it in the comments and we’ll chat about it.Tags: American Ninja, Dolph Lundgren, Gymkata, Iron Eagle, Jason Gedrick, Jurt Thomas, Louis Gossett Jr., Marc Singer, Michael Dudikoff, One Vision, Rip Torn, Shitty movies, Steve James, Tanya Roberts, The Beastmaster, The Punisher, Tim Thomerson Queen