#1905 Lady Street Fighter (1981)

This one landed on my table in the form of Blu-Ray release restored from the last remaining copy of the film. So it’s one of those ”lost movies” nobody has heard of. And to be honest, it should have stayed that way.

Apparently shot sometime in the mid 70’s and released during 80s (different sites list different dates ranging from 1980 to 1989), Lady Street Fighter is an awful piece of trash, and a reminder that sometimes bad movie is just bad movie. Not only is there no plot, but the movie manages to mix in every worst aspect of the 70s and sprinkle on top with some really stomach turning imagery of repulsive characters licking telephones, sucking on celery and showcasing some really unnecessary nudity I was not expecting or hoping to see.

This does not happen too often, but I absolutely hated the movie. Glad it’s over.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 0%

#1902 The Delta Force (1986)

One of the definite action movies of the 80s The Delta Force inspired by hijacking and resulting two-week hostage drama of TWA Flight 847 taking place only year earlier, in 1985

Directed, co-written and co-produced by Menahem Golan, the movie itself is heavily connected with Israel and Israeli officials with the filming taking place there and backing the movie up with airplanes and other gear needed for the movie.

The first half of the movie is actually quite well done with the events inside the airplane, and the building up tension, where the second part of the movie with liberating the hostages gets as ridiculous as a Chuck Norris movie can get, with him riding a rocket shooting motorcycle and being basically immune to any kind of projectiles or bullets. The fans of Norris and these kind of over the top action movies who know what they are looking for will find tons of guilty pleasure to enjoy here.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 78%

#1899 Cage (1989)

The Vietnam war hero Billy (Lou Ferrigno) gets shot in head, and survives with severe brain damage, reducing him to a child like state. Taken care by his friend Scott (Reb Brown) they open a bar together, but quickly get drawn into the world of illegal cage fights where they are forced to compete – or face death.

Before the introduction of UFC, Cage fights had notorious clang to them during the 80s known by name by every boy and man, and the movie successfully taps into this world, plus the crime related to it. Ferrigno himself is the strongest (literally) part of the movie, as well as weakest, not quite having the acting chops to portray the mentally disabled role in a believable fashion. But he gets the job done, no problem there.

The movie itself as as stylish as they came in 1989. The camerawork and cinematography is solid, and the movie is generally entertaining and thrilling to watch.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 80%

#1898 Wild Thing (1987)

Wild Thing is basically a modern day Tarzan in a concrete jungle. After seeing his hippie parents get killed and being risen in a slums with a philosophy of never being seen and helping the oppressed, Wild Thing has become something of a urban myth on the streets.

The concept has potential for a different kind of a superhero (cartoon) franchise, by really making the main character a cool and mystical creature. But, Wild Thing ultimately fails to pull this off.

It is all in all quite tame ride that – while mildly entertaining – does not really live up to its full potential.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 61%

#1891 A Time To Die (1982)

A Time To Die feels like a case of someone reading through the original book by Mario Puzo too many times over, and then explaining it to someone else who also knows the novel.

As for someone with none of this background information the movie and the way that it tells its story of an U.S. Intelligence agent on a revenge killing spree feels cryptic; you can kind of understand and follow what happens, but the movie never leads you close to the characters. It’s like well you can read this in the book if you want to dig deeper.

With A Time To Die doing such a poor job in basic story telling I cannot but view it purely as a plain stupid action thrilller – which is where it fails as well. The action is poor, with no real sense of tension or showmanship. What’s worst, the revenges lack the real sense of satisfaction many exploitative revenge movies double down on.

80s-o-meter: 21%

Total: 17%

#1876 Blue Vengeance (1989)

Underdog time! An (almost) one man project by J. Christian Ingvordsen, Blue Vengeance depicts a cat and mouse hunt between a rogue cop (Ingvordsen himself) and a psychopathic killer (Mark Trax) shot in a guerrilla style on the streets of New York.

And unlike many similar low budget movies, the team has really put some love in thought into this one and looks good, and also credible in a cool kind of way for which also the memorable antagonist played by Mark Trax contributes, and there is a certain similarity between the the character he creates here and Jackie Estacado, the main character of The Darkness comic series (without the mask, that is).

Blue Vengeance is an uneven ride – but also very refreshingly different from the main stream cinema and definitely one of those rare cases where a shoe lace budgeted action horror manages to better a sizeable portion of its multi million budgeted counterparts.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 82%

#1861 Revenge of the Bushido Blade aka The Last Reunion aka Ninja Nightmare (1980)

Apparently shot already in 1976, Revenge of the Bushido Blade, or The Last Reunion as it is somewhat better known was released a few years late in 1980 .. which is why I had to sit through this borefest.

The movie is woefully 70s in every single aspect. There’s the stale smell of cigarette, old guys boozing, crappy cars, sideburns and massive collars. Similarly stale is the plot of a asian businessman travelling to the far east to revenge the retired soldiers the wrongdoings during WWII. Both the bushido martial arts and the awesome plot are tiring to look at, and the movie can’t ever find a way to actually start.

A true testament to the outdated nature of the movie is the very Ed Woodian ending monology – the only moment when the movie was not only bad, but also amusingly so.

80s-o-meter: 18%

Total: 11%

#1854 9 Deaths of the Ninja aka Nine Deaths of the Ninja aka Deadly Warriors (1985)

Ok so Shô Kosugi never was my favourite martial artist, but I guess there had to be a Jackie Chan before he took over the throne of goofy but entertaining martial arts movies. But, 9 Deaths of the Ninja is just so over the top (and all over the place) action movie that I could but like most of the guilty pleasure it offers.

I’m still not quite sure if the movie is just a parody – it really feel like that most of the time – with its James Bond like beginning, ridiculous action scenes and baddies ripped right out of a comic book.

If you are looking for a so good it’s bad kind of film for a movie night with friends, 9 Deaths of the Ninja gets my recommendations with 9 flying shurikens.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 81%

#1823 Toy Soldiers (1984)

Not to be confused with Martika’s song of the same name, Toy Soldiers joins the ranks of the 80s movies like Let’s Get Harry of Americans getting in trouble with the central American militia, then to be rescued by a mixed team of amateurs / friends travelling guns blazing from back home.

Perhaps most notable for starring young Tim Robbins, this was far before he got acknowledged enough to be able to pick his roles, so don’t expect anything remarkable from him here. The movie is pretty standard schuck with nothing exceptional about it, giving you pretty much that el presidente militia type of south american action you’d expect, both in good and bad.

Personally, Toy Soldiers left me yearning for something more original, and off the beaten path.

80s-o-meter: 86%

Total: 52%

#1822 Savage Harbor aka Death Feud (1987)

Frank Stallone stars in Savage Harbour, a pretty lame action movie where a girlfriend of a gangster escapes from him, only to be kidnapped back and sex trafficked by the said gangster. This is not to the liking of our hero, who had gone and fallen in love with her.

Sure, I could repeat the common remark that Frank is no his brother – but if I’m being honest this movie couldn’t have been saved even if Sylvester and Arnold both starred in it.

There’s this strange vibe to the movie that makes it feel as if Eastern European film team had travelled to USA to shoot one of those real American style action movies, and every aspect of the movie from villains to heroes feels like second or third grade quality. Not outright bad, but if you miss it you really haven’t been robbed of anything.

80s-o-meter: 71%

Total: 27%

#1821 Action U.S.A. (1989)

Action U.S.A. is a pretty much showreel put together by stuntmen, with a thin plot used to carry the action to the next stunt.

The movie has been something of a social media darling in the last few years, and often praised for its top notch action and stunts. However, I was not sold on either. Sure, there’s plenty of both, but to me they feel pretty much run-of-the-mill, and certainly nothing to write home about.

So it’s ultimately the lack of proper script where Action U.S.A. fails. The movie borrows elements from many movies with its very Lethal Weapon influenced protagonists, but fails to create something of its own. With more tight writing and some originality thrown in this would’ve been an OK package, but if you’re not the type that gets easily excited of car chases, bar fights and stuntmen lit on fire, you will be wanting to skip this one.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 45%

#1818 The Protector (1985)

A lesser-known early work of Jackie Chan, The Protector might not showcase his extraordinary physical talents as later films do, but it still manages to be an entertaining action flick where Chan’s charisma and dedication to his craft already shine through.

As someone watching only USA based movies, I did not at first feel for it when the movie took off to Hong Kong after the action packed New York opening footage – but as it turned out the bustling streets and vibrant atmosphere of Hong Kong end up actually quite captivating and entertaining cinematic experience.

On the paper one of the oddest couples put together in a movie, I was surprised to see the totally unexpected and fun dynamic between Chan and Danny Aiello, who both end up supporting each other – and the movie – more then adequately.

80s-o-meter: 70%

Total: 75%

#1817 Let’s Get Harry (1986)

On the surface an American trigger happy action comedy of heroic friends from small rural down travelling to Columbia to save their friend, Let’s Get Harry actually has a bit more depth than that to offer.

From the get go the movie is quite honest that the guys are way over their heads for a challenge of this proportion, and this is evident through the movie as self-doubt and cowardism that does not always turn into heroism, which I found extremely refreshing in a movie like this. Even the mercenary they hire for the mission has his flaws and sometimes misjudges the situation gravely.

The sprinkle on the top of this donut is the great cast, each of which bring something of their own into the mix.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 81%

#1816 Vice Squad (1982)

Not to be mixed up with Hollywood Vice Squad (1986) – which I always did – Vice Squad is a movie of a entirely different caliber.

At first coming across as an exploitative movie only to showcase naked skin and low-lifes of Los Angeles, Vice Squad does nothing of such but instead presents the viewer one of the tightest palm sweating action thrillers of the era.

Much of this is the credit of the director Gary Sherman, who paces and escalates the movie masterfully towards the end. Wings Hauser – of whom I’ve always been sort of on the verge if he is any good – makes a stand out role in Vice Squad as one of the most relentless, despicable, vile and chilling characters ever seen on the silver screen.

80s-o-meter: 78%

Total: 89%

#1809 Fortress of Amerikkka (1989)

Resembling more of a video game than a movie, Fortress of Amerikkka follows an alternative reality in a small rural town somewhere in America where corrupt Sheriff and crazed militia group fight for the power and terrorise the citizen.

Like many other movies distributed by Troma, Fortress of Amerikkka is more of a experience that has a little bit of everything low brow and exploitative, and of course lots of bad acting and naked skin just for the heck of it and as an action movie it’s just a bit entertaining than it really deserves to be.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 71%

#1807 Bad Girls Dormitory aka Bad Girls (1986)

Bad Girls Dormitory starts off as any sleazy women prison exploitation movie out there: someone innocent gets jailed, they go to prison with a sadistic warden, corrupt staff and strict picking order between the prisoners. Catfights and topless shower scenes aplenty.

Compared to the other similar sleaze out there, Bad Girls Dormitory landed somewhere in the lower rank, with shoddy production values and with the whole movie looking like it was shot in a backstage of an empty restaurant.

What I did not see coming thought was that in the third act Bad Girls Dormitory turns from below average prison exploitation to actually quite good and entertaining action movie. If the movie had relied only on this aspect, the movie could have been something of a gold nugget instead of the kind of turkey it is.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 45%

#1805 Walking the Edge (1985)

Walking the Edge is a revenge / vigilante movie portraying an asian housewife seeking revenge against the killers of her family, and finding an unexpected ally in Forster, a taxi-driver who gets dragged into the action against his will.

The leading duo is an interesting, strange couple that never seem to mix in a believable way; I would not be surprised if the two leads did not get along behind the scenes as the always seem to be unhappy sharing the same space.

The film’s vigilante theme is a standard fare in every possible way, but with Robert Forster delivering a surprisingly charming performance as the reluctant hero with an unlikely love interest to the unlikely killer, not bothered by the complete lack of chemistry between the two.

80s-o-meter: 65%

Total: 61%

#1802 Miami Connection (1987)

Dubbed as the lost action movie of the 80s, and released fully restored in Bluray in 2012 with a showy marketing efforts, Miami Connection manages to live up to expectations with its zany plot of motorcycle ninjas battling with drug lords and picking a fight with a rock group specialising in Taekwondo themed music. Truly something that could have only written and released in the 80s without any self irony.

The musical aspect of the band Dragon Sound with mullets and ’stashes ad libbing unbelievably catchy songs like ”Against the Ninja” and ”Friends through eternity, loyalty, honesty” (sic) adds another awesome level to the movie, and right from the first song we hear them playing it’s quite clear that the viewer will be entertained here, no matter what the plot is: this is all about the atmosphere.

Miami Connection is the kind of a movie that would have not gotten good reviews or following when it was originally released, but the sheer amount of 80s style truly makes it a priceless treasure for any fan of the era.

80s-o-meter: 98%

Total: 90%

#1796 P.O.W. the Escape aka Behind Enemy Lines aka Attack Force ’Nam (1986)

Look, I’ve seen so many movies about Americans going back and actually winning the Vietnam war that I either look into two interesting aspects: realism or the total lack of it. P.O.W. the Escape very much falls into the latter category.

The story here is about hard boiled ol’ Colonel Cooper with a track record of never leaving anyone behind, now being assigned to rescue prisoners of war from a sadistic Vietnamese camp run by officer who persuades Cooper to escort him out of the country with a gold treasure.

Charismatic David Carradine is the perfect lead for this schlock and it’s downright ridiculously funny how he is immune to all the gun fire. When everyone else holds back, Carradine just rushes in to demolish the whole village; there is never any feeling of real danger which is not optimal for a action thriller. Other than that, P.O.W. the Escape is made to entertain, and as such it does keep the good action pace going on to the very last minute.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 72%

#1794 Family Business (1989)

First of all, let it be known that if I had Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick to my avail, Family Business is not the movie I would have made.

That being said, let’s see what we have here. A quite mediocre and far fetched crime comedy about three generations of men whose grandpa is something of a small time thug, and the father is a recovering criminal, now a jefe in the meat packing industry. Three of them decide to go ahead and do a heist for some experimental science stuff, and of course it doesn’t go as planned.

The following events kind of tie the broken family together, but in a way that’s never satisfying, or something I could take with me as a memory or a lesson for life. Life your own life and don’t do what your gramps wants, maybe?

80s-o-meter: 75%

Total: 60%