Best Action Movies of the 80s and Early 90s

I am a big fan of those crude, shoot 'em up movies popular in the late '80s and early '90s. I saw them as a teenager at the time they were out, mainly from the video (meaning videocassette) store (meaning that, at one time in history, people would have to physically visit a store and rent movies). My dad liked those movies and, through watching them as new releases and then as reruns on television, I have gotten to the point where I can recite many parts. Here is a list of my favorites, all available for your get-the-bad-guys retro-viewing pleasure from the Mercer County Library System:
Predator; Under Siege; Die Hard
Predator (1987)—Predator has the best of both worlds – science fiction plus action – and the perfect cast to boot. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, even Jesse Ventura, play some of the main characters. The actors completely fit with their mercenary characters. “Recruited by the CIA to rescue hostages held by guerilla fighters in a Central American country, Schwarzenegger and his men encounter an enemy more deadly than any on Earth—because the Predator is not of this Earth.” This movie spawned a number of sequels and a crossover series (shockingly, I have never seen any of them!)—Predator 2, Predators, The Predator (2018), Alien vs. Predator, Alien vs. Predator: Requiem. An interesting fact—the voice of the Predator in the original movie was done by Peter Cullen, Optimus Prime in the Transformers animated series.

Under Siege (1992)—Steven Seagal, Gary Busey, and Tommy Lee Jones on a big boat. Steven Seagal is Chief Ryback, a Navy cook with a few surprises up his sleeve. When Busey and Jones take over the battleship Missouri on its way to be decommissioned, Ryback is the world's only hope for survival. “Killer-elite commandos out to hijack the USS Missouri's nuclear arsenal overpower the crew, except for the cook, who just happens to be an ex-Navy SEAL and highly decorated combat operative.” There is an Under Siege 2: Dark Territory set on a train in Colorado—in my opinion, not as good as the first one, but worth watching. Under Siege was nominated for two Academy Awards—Best Sound Effects editing and Best Sound.

Die Hard (1988)—The perfect holiday movie! Good-guy Bruce Willis as John McClane against Alan Rickman as the villain, Hans Gruber. During a Christmas party, McClane needs to save his wife and her co-workers after Hans and his gang of robbers take over Nakatomi Plaza. “In the action-thriller that started it all, Bruce Willis makes his debut as John McClane, a New York cop battling terrorists in a L.A. skyscraper.” If you like Die Hard, try Die Hard 2: Die Harder, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard, and A Good Day to Die Hard. Besides the first one, my favorite is Die Hard with a Vengeance. Jeremy Irons does a very good bad guy. I just learned that Die Hard was based on a book—Nothing Lasts Forever by Robert Thorp.
Rambo II; Terminator
Rambo III (1988)—Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as John Rambo, this time helping the Mujahideen rebels fight again the Soviets in Afghanistan—all while saving his kidnapped former Colonel. I just have to say, the Russian Hind helicopter is awesome. I even bought and put together a model of the Mi-24 Hind at the time (that was back when making models was still popular for kids). Rambo III is part of the John Rambo series—First Blood (based on the book First Blood by David Morrell), Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo III, and Rambo.

The Terminator (1984)—A cautionary tale of what happens when computers take over. “In 2029, giant super-computers dominate the planet and to destroy man's future by changing the past, they send an indestructible cyborg, a Terminator, back in time to kill a woman whose unborn son will become mankind's only hope. Can Sarah protect herself from this unstoppable menace?” The answer to that question is: yes, but not by herself. Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) also comes from the future to help out. This is another first movie that began a franchise—there have been four sequels, a television series, video games and comics. My favorites of the sequels are Terminator 2: Judgement Day and Terminator Salvation (Christian Bale plays John Connor). To bring everything full circle, Peter Cullen, last mentioned as the voice of the Predator, narrated the teaser trailer for The Terminator.

—Andrea at the Hopewell Branch


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