Finally, here’s the second part of my quintessential 80s action movies list and just in case you haven’t seen it, here’s the first part for you to checkout.
Now lets jump right into the… ACTION!
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones, Sandahl Bergman, Gerry Lopez and Mako
Directed by: John Milius
The Cimmerians one day have their village pillaged by raiders led by Thulsa Doom (Jones). During the raid, they kill both parents of a young boy. He along with other children are taken and put to work as slaves. The young boy grows into a strong man named Conan (Schwarzenegger), slaving away on the wheel of pain.
Conan’s master decided that his strength was best fit for fighting and trained him to become a gladiator. After countless wins, Conan is freed. Wanders the land, stumbling across an Atlantean colonist warrior’s tomb, finding an ancient sword. In his wandering, he also befriends Subotai (Lopez), who helps Conan become a thief.
Conan and Subotai end up in the city of Zamora to seek out Doom. There they meet Valeria (Bergman) who joins them in their search. They raid the Tower of Serpents and in doing so kill a giant snake. The trio is captured and brought to King Osric, who requests they rescue his daughter, Princess Yasmina, who is under the control of Doom. They set out to save the princess and so Conan can enact revenge on Doom and his cult.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci and Joss Ackland
Directed by: Richard Donner
After a high-speed pursuit ends with the unidentified suspects in the chase crash, LAPD sergeants Martin Riggs (Gibson) and Roger Murtaugh (Glover) find they were transporting a shipment of illegal gold Krugerrands. Once it’s learned the people behind the shipment have diplomatic immunity, the two detectives are forced off the case and reassigned to protect a witness, Leo Getz (Pesci).
It’s quickly realized that the case and the person they’re protecting is linked to the people behind the gold Krugerrands, when a hitman tries to kill Getz roughly five minutes after Riggs and Murtaugh show up.
Although they’ve been instructed to leave the case alone, the detectives don’t with the information they get from Getz. This leads to the smugglers taking the next step of killing off many of the police officers in the unit. It also during this time it’s revealed that one of the members was behind the death of Riggs’ wife, which sets him off. He takes off his badge and vows to kill all of them.
Starring: Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery and Clancy Brown
Directed by: Russell Mulcahy
Connor MacLeod (Lambert) is jumped in a parking garage by an old enemy. The two duel it out with swords to the end when MacLeod cuts off the head of his opponent. He then experiences what is later found out to be the Quickening, which is when one immortal kills another.
From there MacLeod’s history is revealed through flashbacks. As it’s learned that he’s been around for some 200 years. He was originally from the highlands of Scotland. MacLeod and his clan were in a war with The Frasers (not the TV show), who had the aid of the Kurgan (Brown), the last of the Kurgan tribes. During the battle, the Kurgan stabs MacLeod, but is overrun before he can finish him off.
Macleod almost dies but ends up living, which scares his clan, thinking it’s the work of the Devil and exiling him. He leaves and goes on his own and finds himself a wife and they live happily. Swordsman Juan Sanchez-Villalobos Ramirez (Connery) comes looking for MacLeod and teaches him to use a sword and all about why he didn’t die, for they’re immortal and there can only be one. The Kurgan finds them and kills off Ramirez.
Back to the present day, MacLeod is an art collector and made a fortune doing so. He runs into The Kurgan who sets out to be the last. Finally, the Kurgan and MacLeod fight to the death, so that there can be only one. Until a bunch of sequels ruin it.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger
Directed by: Tim Burton
Another origin story of the famed caped crusader. Gotham City is set to celebrate it’s bicentennial and the head officials set out to make the city safer. At the same time Vicky Vale (Basinger), a photojournalist new to town works with a reporter to investigate rumors of a “Batman” that is said to be picking off criminals in a vigilante-style.
A mob boss sends his second in command Jack Napier (Nicholson), to a chemical plant. Napier does so, not knowing it’s a set up by his boss for sleeping with his lady friend. Batman (Keaton) shows up and all Hell breaks loose. Amid the scuffle, Batman knocks Napier into a vat of chemicals, attempting to stop him from escaping.
Napier survives and now has bright white skin, green hair and a smile to die for. He gets revenge on his boss and takes over as the mob’s leader calling himself the Joker. He uses the chemical factory to create hygiene products laced with a deadly chemical causing victims to die laughing. Batman realizes Joker is the same man that killed his parents and sets out to stop him.
Starring: Roddy Piper, Keith David and Meg Foster
Directed by: John Carpenter
A drifter, simply known as Nada (Piper) makes his way into Los Angeles. Nada takes a job doing construction and befriends Frank (David), a fellow construction worker in the same boat as Nada. Frank takes him to a soup kitchen/shanty town and introduces Nada to their leader, Gilbert. After the TV is hacked and someone claims the broadcast signals are enslaving the population, Nada follows Gilbert to an abandoned church.
That night the shantytown is raided by police and everything is destroyed. The next day Nada goes back and finds a box full of sunglasses they left behind in the church. Once he puts on the sunglasses, everything turns to black and white and all products and billboards are revealed to have subliminal messages. On top of that, the sunglasses reveal that some people are not people at all, they’re aliens.
Nada goes to Frank, and after a long fight scene between the two of them, he forces the sunglasses onto Frank, so that he can see the truth as well. The two then find Gilbert, who leads them to an anti-alien group working to stop the aliens. The aliens are using global warming to make Earth more like their planet as they slowly take over. Nada and Frank work with the group to take down the transmission that would reveal all the aliens to everyone.
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Brian Dennehy and Richard Crenna
Directed by: Ted Kotcheff
John Rambo (Stallone) is traveling on foot and makes his way into the small town of Hope, Washington. He doesn’t make it far when the town’s Sheriff, Will Teasle (Dennehy) finds him. He sees Rambo as nothing more than a drifter. Teasle offers Rambo a ride and takes him to the end of town and lets him out, telling him to basically move along.
After Teasle starts to leave, he sees Rambo start to head back to Hope and so Teasle arrests Rambo for vagrancy. Once back at the cop shop, the sheriff and other officers abuse Rambo. This causes Rambo to have flashbacks to being tortured as a POW in Vietnam. He finally snaps, assaulting the police officers and escaping the sheriff’s department.
From here, Rambo just wants to be left alone, but now Teasle has a grudge to settle and they go after Rambo, who brings a war onto the whole town. It’s learned that Rambo was a Green Beret and received the Medal of Honor, but that doesn’t stop Teasle. Rambo takes down all the cops until there’s just Teasle left. Rambo is ready to kill him when Colonel Sam Trautman (Crenna) arrives. He’s luckily able to talk Rambo down and he turns himself in.
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton and Jurgen Prochnow
Directed by: Tony Scott
Detroit detective Axel Foley (Murphy) heads back to Beverly Hills after learning of the hit on Police Captain Andrew Bogomil’s life. It didn’t kill him but left him in a coma. Axel teams back up with Detective Billy Rosewood (Reinhold), and Sergeant John Taggart (Ashton). They set out to find out who tried to kill the Captain and solve the “Alphabet Crimes.”
While they try to solve this, they have to navigate past the new police chief that doesn’t hold back any punches. He punishes Rosewood and Taggart, placing them on traffic duty. Axel gets around him by claiming he’s an undercover FBI agent working on the case.
It doesn’t take the boys long to not only connect the hit on the Captain to the robberies but also connect it all to the “mastermind” behind it all, Maxwell Dent (Prochnow). Dent is robbing his own places and using the money to make arms deals. The trio finds Dent in the middle of an arms deal and set up to take him down once and for all.
Starring: Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy, James Remar and Sonny Landham
Directed by: Walter Hill
Career criminal Albert Ganz (Remar) is working on a chain gang of sorts when his friend Billy (Landham) comes along and helps free him. They kill the guards and escape the scene. Inspector Jack Cates (Nolte) shows up with two of his police friends to check out a guy in a hotel named G.P. Polson. It turns out that Polson is Ganz and a shootout erupts. Ganz and Billy kill the other two cops and escape once again, taking Jack’s pistol.
Back at the police station, Jack gets a new weapon and a fellow officer lets Jack in on Ganz’s former partner Reggie Hammond (Murphy), who’s in prison, serving the last few months for armed robbery. Jack visits Reggie in prison and is able to get Reggie a leave for, wait for it… 48 hours, to help find Ganz.
The two chase down a couple of leads, one of which leads to a bar fight (of course), but everything comes up as dead ends, including talking to Billy’s girlfriend. Reggie confesses to Jack that he, Ganz, Billy and a couple of others stole $500,000 and they hid the money in Reggie’s car. They go to his car and stake it out. They backtrack to the girlfriend’s place and find Billy and Ganz. It ends in a fun fight and Reggie getting shot but surviving while stealing Jack’s lighter.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Gary Busey and Tom Adkins
Directed by: Richard Donner
LAPD Homicide Sergeant Roger Murtaugh (Glover) has just turned 50 and is starting to feel it. He’s investigating what is thought to be a suicide, a young girl jumped to her death. He finds out her father is an old war buddy of his, Michael Hunsaker (Adkins). During this time he’s set up with a new partner, Sergeant Martin Riggs (Gibson). Riggs is suicidal, after the death of his wife, although the whole police force seems to think he’s faking it.
Together they find out that the young girl was poisoned and would have died anyway if she hadn’t jumped to her death. They meet up with Hunsaker and he confesses that he’s the reason she was murdered. He reveals that he was in a group called “Shadow Company,” former special forces operators from the Vietnam War that deal in smuggling in heroin. Hunsaker was laundering the money for them and wanted out. It’s during this time Shadow Company shows up killing Hunsaker.
The detectives do more digging into the case, but people get killed and it makes it harder for them to find any leads. However, because they won’t let up, the group kidnaps Murtaugh’s oldest daughter. A meeting in the desert is scheduled and the two detectives try to free the daughter and get out alive. Unfortunately, they get captured instead. After they’re able to escape, they work to take down Shadow Company and their drug peddling ways.
Starring: Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, John Ashton, Ronny Cox and Steven Berkoff
Directed by: Martin Brest
Detroit Police Department detective Axel Foley (Murphy) gets his ass chewed off by his commanding officer for yet more reckless antics. This time an unauthorized sting operation that leads to a car chase with a semi and half the town wrecked. Afterwards, he goes home to find an old friend of his broke into his apartment to surprise him. The two spend time catching up, just before a couple of armed goons show up and kill Axel’s friend.
Axel tells his boss he’s taking a “vacation” and heads out to Beverly Hills, where his friend said he’d been working. He starts poking around looking for anything he can about his friend’s death and his boss Victor Maitland (Berkoff). Finally, he steps on the wrong toes as he confronts Maitland and is thrown out and arrested.
Axel starts to become chummy with Sergeant John Taggart (Ashton) and Detective Billy Rosewood (Reinhold), the two officers that are assigned to follow him. Things start to add up and they’re sure Maitland is smuggling drugs through his warehouse. Eventually, this leads them to Maitlands home and they plan to bring him in. However, he has a small army and they have to shoot their way through.