My apologizes for taking so long to finish this list of 80s action movies.
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Carrie Henn
Directed by: James Cameron
After the events of the first movie, sole survivor Ellen Ripley (Weaver) has finally woken up from stasis, 57 long years later. She’s debriefed by her employer, Weyland-Yutani Corporation. They seem skeptical of her claim about alien eggs, seeing the location is now the site of the terraforming colony Hadley’s Hope. However, all communication has been lost with the colony and wants Ripley to go along to help investigate.
Ripley meets up with the Colonial Marines and it doesn’t take long for her to find out that Bishop (Henriksen) is an android and this freaks her out, seeing the last android she worked with malfunctioned and tried to kill everyone. As if Xenomorphs need help. Upon reaching the location, they find the colony deserted, except for two facehuggers in jars and a young traumatized girl known as “Newt” (Henn).
Eventually, they find the colonizers cocooned and one of them has a baby Xenomorph pop from their chest and the Marines kill it, leading to the adult aliens ambushing them and wiping out most of the team. It comes to light that Weyland-Yutani Corporation knew about the ship with eggs and wanted them to make money using the aliens for biological warfare and was never planning to exterminate them. Now with Ripley, Newt and Hicks (Biehn) the only ones left, they have to get off the planet alive.
Starring: Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Directed by: James Cameron
In the far off future of… 8 years from now (2029), the world is destroyed, machines have taken over and the last of humanity has gone underground. Fighting to stay alive. However, the machines get a full proof plan to send a cyborg assassin known as a T-800 Terminator (Schwarzenegger), back in time to the year of our Ghostbusters, 1984. The mission; kill Sarah Connor (Hamilton), the mother of the leader of the resistance, before he’s even born, John Connor.
John Connor finds out about this plan and sets in motion to stop the machines plan, by sending his best soldier, Kyle Reese (Biehn), back in time to stop the assassination. The Terminator gets right to the point, by searching out every Sarah Connor in the phone book and nixing them all. Just when the Terminator funds the last Sarah Connor, Kyle Reese swoops in and saves her. While hiding out, Kyle explains everything to Sarah and of course, she refuses to believe it.
Finally, Sarah comes around to understand the truth and she and Kyle start to fall in love and we come to find out that Kyle Reese isn’t just a soldier under the command of John Connor in the future. The Terminator continues to chase them down until they believe they blow up the Terminator, that’s when Sarah shifts into full realization mode, seeing the machine in its truest metal skeleton form. It chases her into a factory where the run must end.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Michael Preston and Vernon Wells
Directed by: George Miller
The world is a deserted wasteland, all thanks to a global war and the collapse of civilization. Gas (not toilet paper) is the most prized possession after the oil supplies became almost depleted. Those that are left have reverted back to a form of barbarism as everyone fights for the smallest amount of gasoline or oil that they can find and willing to kill to get it. One of those people is Max, Mad Max (Gibson), who is still haunted by the death of his family.
Max finds a couple being tormented by a few members of a gang, one of them being a higher up in the gang by the name of Wez (Wells). Max fights them off and takes what he can of their gas. He then finds a gyrocopter and is ambushed by the owner, but quickly Max gets the upper hand. The chopper owner tells Max of a nearby compound with lots of oil. The people are being confronted yet again by the same gang that Wez is a part of.
When a few settlers at the compound try to leave, they are attacked by the gang and Max steps in and saves one of them. He returns the sole survivor to the compound wanting gas for his troubles. The leader, Papagallo (Preston) tries to talk Max into helping them, but Max turns it down. However, Max is attacked after leaving by the gang and returns to the compound willing to help. The members on the compound set out to leave with a tanker truck full of oil, with Max driving. They set out on the road with the gang catching up and trying to overcome the tanker and take the oil for themselves, but not on Max’s watch.
Starring: Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, James Hong and Victor Wong
Directed by: John Carpenter
Jack Burton (Russell) is a loudmouth who’s all talk and no action. That is until he finds himself in big trouble… in little China.
Jack wins a bet with his restaurant owner friend, Wang Chi (Dun) and to make sure he pays up, Jack goes along with him to the airport where Wang is picking up his Chinese fiancée. It is here that Jack meets Gracie Law (Cattrall), who is also picking up someone at the airport and he looks to hook up with her. Things go sideways though when the street gang Lords of Death try to take the woman Gracie is there for, but Jack stops them and they take Wang’s girl instead.
Jack and Wang take off and find themselves in a back alley of Chinatown where they find themselves in the middle of a funeral procession that quickly turns into a gang war and the two men have to flee, leaving Jack’s semi behind, after using it to run through the crowd and over top of Lo Pan (Hong), the man directed the mob war. They go back to Wang’s restaurant and Jack has a mental breakdown as he tries to wrap his mind around what happened. Wang explains to Jack about Lo Pan and how he was a great wizard and now is cursed and how he needs to marry a green-eyed girl in order to sacrifice.
Jack and Wang break into the brothel where Wang’s fiancée is being held and get captured. Wang’s friends and Gracie attempt to save them and get caught themselves. Fortunately, they’re able to escape, except for Gracie who gets caught. She also has green eyes and so now Lo Pan has two girls, one to sacrifice and the other for himself. Jack, Wang and their friends meet back up and return with Egg Shen (Wong) to stop the wedding. Fighting ensues and finally, Jack gets his semi back and the money owed to him from Wang.
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Richard Dawson and Maria Conchita Alonso
Directed by: Paul Michael Glaser
Yet another distant future, this time 2017… The United States has become a totalitarian police state following a worldwide economic collapse (most likely due to a virus from China). Ben Richards (Schwarzenegger) is a police chopper pilot and is ordered to fire on civilians taking part in a food riot and he refuses. His chopper team is told to take command from Ben, detain him and continue with the orders. Ben at first is able to fight them off, but finally, they knock him out.
18 months later, so 2018? We find Ben in a prison detention zone of sorts. He’s doing some hard labor. Some fellow inmates that are part of a resistance find a way to escape and Ben helps out. They take Ben to the refugee camp where the resistance is making plans to take over the ICS broadcast uplink facilities to expose the government’s lies. Ben leaves for his Brother’s, but instead finds a woman staying there by the name of Amber Mendez (Alonso) and that his brother has been sent for re-education. Ben takes the woman hostage and plans to flee to Hawaii, but he’s caught at the airport.
Against his will, Ben is forced into taking part in The Running Man, a game show that the government uses as a way to pacify the general public, it’s hosted by Damon Killian (Dawson). The show pits criminals known as “Runners” up against mercenaries known as “Stalkers” and they have to fight for their lives through different environments. If the Runners survive, they get a state pardon, if they don’t… well, less burden on the taxpayers. Ben ends up doing great and the woman he took hostage before and his fellow resistance fighters end up on the show with him and together, they make the Running Man episode a series finale.
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers and Elpidia Carrillo
Directed by: John McTiernan
A spacecraft flies past Earth and what looks like a space pod of some kind ejects and enters Earth’s atmosphere. After that, Dutch (Schwarzenegger) a former U.S. Army Special Operations soldier and his mercenary rescue crew arrive in South America. They’re tasked with rescuing a foreign cabinet minister, who’s chopper went down on the wrong side of the border. Usually, the team works alone, but this time Dutch’s old friend from the Vietnam War, Dillion (Weathers), an officer with the CIA, will be tagging along.
The team drops in and quickly finds the downed chopper (get to da choppa! There, the joke is made). They find the remains of some Green Beret’s that Dutch says he knew personally. They have been skinned alive and left hanging in the trees of the jungle. From there, the team finds the guerrillas pretty easily and takes them all out with even more ease. Dutch learns this was all a ploy by Dillion to get Dutch and his team to take the mission. The real plan was to retrieve intelligence from the operatives and the Green Beret’s were sent in weeks prior in a failed rescue attempt. They also take a prisoner, Anna (Carrillo) the sole surviving guerrilla.
The only objective left is to… get to the chopper. However, what the team doesn’t realize is something else is tracking them and watching what they do. From here on out the team starts getting picked off in a methodical way. The team sets traps, but it does no good and they try to figure out who or what is taking them out. Finally, as Dutch and Anna are the last ones alive, he sends Anna to the rendezvous for the… chopper and he decides to take on the Yautja alone. From here on out it becomes a deadly game of cat and mouse as Dutch looks to hunt the hunter… or Predator, that sounds cooler.
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia and Reginald VelJohnson
Directed by: John McTiernan
It’s Christmas Eve (thus making Die Hard a Christmas movie now shut up) and NYPD Detective John McClane’s (Willis) plane touches down in Los Angeles. His plan is to reconnect with his estranged wife Holly (Bedelia), who moved from NY to LA sometime before for her career while John stayed behind. John makes his way to the Nakatomi Plaza where Holly works for the Nakatomi Corporation. They’re having their Christmas party that’s doubling as a celebration of some corporate deal being successful. John and Holly take a few seconds to talk before starting to argue, showing clearly why they’re apart. From there, John cleans up while Holly goes to talk to everyone.
It’s then that a group of German radicals crash the party, led by Hans Gruber (Rickman). The team quickly goes through and takes everyone hostage, except for John who’s able to slip away. Hans is pretending to be a terrorist, asking for the release of some criminals being held by the United States, which he read about in a magazine. In reality, he’s there so they can steal $640 million in untraceable bearer bonds in the building’s vault. John attempts multiple times to get the police to come out, finally, LAPD Sergeant Al Powell (VelJohnson) is sent to check things out. He finds everything is fine until John throws a body on his car and shoots at him. From there the two become fast friends.
Now LAPD has the place surrounded and of course, the FBI show up to screw everything up. Also, Hans goes looking for John and finds him, thinking quickly he pretends to be a hostage that got away, but when John gives him a gun, he shows his true colors. The two get separated and things start to move fast as the hostages are sent to the roof with the plan to kill them, but John intercepts and sends them running down to the exit. Hans takes Holly hostage and John shows up in time to foil Hans’ last-ditch effort to escape. It’s a Christmas miracle!
Starring: Peter Weller, Kurtwood Smith, Ronny Cox, Nancy Allen and Miguel Ferrer
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Finally, a near future, where Detroit is on the brink of societal and financial collapse, overwhelmed with crime, a dystopian landscape. Basically, it’s what Detroit actually is now.
This causes the city to willingly give Omni Consumer Products (better known as OCP), a large corporation the power of the Detroit police force. OCP’s Vice President, Dick Jones (Cox) has an idea to combat the high level of crime in the city. He gives the boardroom quite the showing, to say the least. Dick unveils ED-209, the law enforcement robot he sees taking over for the police. However, ED-209 malfunctions and murders a board member in cold blood. This gives Bob Morton (Ferrer), a low-level executive a chance to introduce his own project, called RoboCop.
While all this is going on, officer Alex Murphy (Weller) is transferred to a new precinct, Metro West. Alex is teamed up with a new partner, Anne Lewis (Allen) and the two hit the streets hard. They find themselves chasing after notorious criminal Clarence Boddicker (Smith) and his ragtag group of thugs. They chase the gang back to their base. Alex goes in one way and Anne in the other. The gang catches Alex and brutally murder him. This comes at the perfect time as Morton uses Alex’s dead body in the RoboCop project. Alex is now concealed in a heavy-duty metal robotic body and his memory wiped. He’s programmed with three Prime Directives: serve the public trust; protect the innocent; uphold the law; a fourth classified directive.
RoboCop joins Metro West and the project is an instant success as RoboCop takes out the criminal garbage brutally and with ease. The media praise the project for how efficient RoboCop is against crime (wouldn’t see that today). RoboCop starts having nightmares of Alex’s death and Anne starts to suspect RoboCop is her former partner, Alex. During a drug raid of a coke factory, RoboCop bashes up Boddicker good and that’s when Boddicker admits that he’s employed by Dick Jones. RoboCop takes him in to be booked.
RoboCop confronts Dick, but can’t do anything, because of his prime directives. Dick sics ED-209 on RoboCop and he narrowly escapes, however is blasted multiple times by the police force by orders from Dick. RoboCop gets away, thanks to Anne. Clarence Boddicker and his gang go after RoboCop and he takes them all on and finally confronts Dick and ED-209 again.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman and Ronald Lacey
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
In the distant… past this time? The year is 1936 and American archaeologist Indiana Jones (Ford) is working his way through a booby-trapped tomb in Peru, looking to retrieve a golden idol. At the very last moment of finally getting the idol, he sets off a trap and is chased out by a large boulder rolling after him. Once outside, the guide that tried to leave him for dead is… killed. Indy is held up with an indigenous tribe working with a rival archaeologist, Rene Belloq (Freeman). Indy is able to narrowly escape with his life, but Belloq escapes with the idol.
Sometime later, Dr. Jones is back in America, teaching class. Afterwards, he’s approached by two gentlemen from the Military Intelligence Corps. They reveal that Nazis are excavating the city of Tanis. With their information, Indy figures the Nazis are searching for the Ark of the Covenant. First Indy travels to Nepal, to find the “headpiece to the staff of Ra.” A medallion that’s needed to find the Ark. It’s now held by Marion Ravenwood (Allen), a woman that Indy has a history with. Gestapo agent Arnold Toht (Lacey) pops in and all Hell breaks loose with the place burning down. Indy and Marion get away with the medallion.
It’s revealed Belloq is working with the Nazis. Indy confronts him and a chase ensues where it’s believed Marion is killed off. Later Indy determines the Nazis are digging in the wrong area. So Indy infiltrates the dig site and they find the real location, a tomb loaded with snakes. Snakes, why did it have to be snakes? They retrieve the Ark, but Belloq and Toht show up and trade the Ark for Marion, dropping her down with Indy and sealing them in. Luckily Indy is awesome and they’re able to escape. However, they eventually get captured again and held prisoner as the Nazis open the Ark. Let’s just say it was a heart-melting experience for them.
Starring: Harrison Ford, Sean Connery, Alison Doody, Julian Glover and River Phoenix
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
When Indiana Jones was just a young lad, he was in the Boy Scouts. Young Jones (Phoenix) was at Arches National Park in Utah, he was scouting out some caves. He ended up running into some grave diggers that happened across a golden crucifix. Indy snuck up on the group and snatches it up, the plan being to donate it to a museum. The men see young Indy and chase after him. They make their way to a circus train rolling by and we learn why Indy doesn’t like snakes. He gets away, but the men find his home, where Indy’s father is making him count, in Greek. Indy is forced to give up the crucifix by the sheriff. The leader of the group is impressed with young Indy and gives him his signature hat.
It’s now 1938 and Indy (Ford) is on a cargo ship of sorts, stealing the same crucifix as before. He fights the men off and literally jumps ship, right before it explodes. Dr. Jones ends up right back at home, teaching archaeology. He learns that his father Henry Jones (Connery) was searching for the Holy Grail from a man named Walter Donovan (Glover), using the inscription on part of a stone tablet. However, his father has gone missing. Indy receives Henry’s journal in the mail from Venice and heads there in search of him. He meets with his father’s colleague Dr. Elsa Schneider (Doody) and they get to work where his father left off.
They search the library and Indy finds that actually, X does mark the spot. Underneath the library are catacombs full of rats. They find the tomb of a First Crusade knight that contains a complete version of the inscription from the stone slab. The catacombs are set aflame by the Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword, a secret society. Indy and Elsa escape, Indy explains to a member of the Brotherhood he’s not interested in the Grail, but finding his father. The Brotherhood member tells Indy his father is held by the Nazis.
Indy shows up and saves his father, but they’re held at gunpoint and the Nazis take the journal from Indy. They learn that Walter Donovan is working with the Nazis and is helping them find the Grail. They were using Indy and his father to find it. Eventually, they make their way to where the Grail is supposed to be, with the Nazis holding them at gunpoint. At first, Indy refuses to help, until Donovan shoots Henry, giving Indy no choice but to find the Grail to save his father from dying.
Featured image courtesy of Blair, LMO.