These days I have really taken the time to look back on the films I grew up with. I am a fan of movies of all years, but since I grew up in the late 80’s early 90’s it is safe to say these movies hold a special place in my memory, not because they were masterpieces, but there was an element of fun in that era that made most films fun. Yesterday I found Lionheart and it got me thinking of those cool action films by those action stars that ruled those days in the box office.
I still think they are enjoyable and very good films, some have deep stories like maybe First blood and others they were just made so that we would see our heroes beat bad guys. In this list, I will mention the action star and the films I like best, specifically form those years.
The first mention has to be Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had so many hits and he eventually started to do comedies, but it was the action films that he really was at his best. Starting in the great Conan films, The Barbarian and The Destroyer. I mention them and I would love to see them again. Of course, the big role for him was staring in James Cameron’s The terminator and the T-800 Model 101. What can be said, he really looked and acted like a killing machine and was so effective in the role of that machine that would just not go away. After that, he just made successful movies after another. I like Commando, Red Heat, Running man, Predator, Total Recall and my Favorite Terminator 2. True Lies saw him reunite with James Cameron and the film was a success and a truly fun movie.
Silvester Stallone was maybe Arnold’s biggest rival in the movie sense. Stallone had something that may be put him ahead and that is the fact he wrote screenplays. Rocky in 1976 was a very successful film even earning Oscar nominations. He also wrote or co-wrote First Blood, the film that introduces us to Rambo. Rambo is a great film not only for the action but the story and the character were very well written. Action films that I liked from Stallone were Cobra, The Rocky series, Tango and Cash, Demolition Man and Assassins.
Another action star that I liked was Jean-Claud Van Damme. The first film I remember from him was the classic Bloodsport. This was maybe a drama story in a way because it was based on Frank Dux’s claims of the secret Kumite fighting tournament. But the fighting scenes were really good. I don’t remember if this next film was known, but I remember liking it a lot, Cyborg saw Van Damme protecting Pearl who had a cure for a plague that some pirates wanted to get. His films were mostly made in the ’90s, Lionheart is one of my favorites I like the story as well and the fighting scenes. One of his great films was Universal Soldier with other action great Dolph Lundgren, a story of two dead soldiers brought back to life and them getting their memories back. It was a fun movie and Dolph was a very good villain. To name two more films I have to say Double Impact and Nowhere to Run were good films.
Steven Seagal was a different action hero. He was not a super-strong guy but had some awesome moves. Of these action stars, I think he had the shortest run maybe. It started with Above the law, but the first film I liked from him was hard to kill, a man whose family is murdered and he survives and remains for years in a coma and he returns for revenge. Most of his films felt like they had a similar plot, but they were still enjoyable films. Marked for death was really cool, Seagal faces Jamaican drug dealers that are taking over his town. Out for justice was another good one, he seeks revenge from those that killed his partner.
For me, those were the main ones although other actors made good action films, because they were so good and known in other categories, I don’t see them in the same light at the ones I mentioned. We have Mel Gibson that starred in the excellent Lethal Weapon films, but he was an actor that really was good in any film genre he acted on. I do have to mention Dolph Lundgren but for me I liked a few of his movies like I Come in Peace and Universal Soldier. Wesley Snipes made a few good action films like Passenger 57 and he was great in Demolition man.