#1725 The Siege of Firebase Gloria (1988)

Despite the apparent gung-ho theme of the film, The Siege of Firebase Gloria still shows an urge of being authentic in its depiction of hopelessness in both sides; there’s no clear cut heroes and villains. The horrific actions and dehumanizing acts done by all parties are not exaggerated but neither ignored; they are presented as a natural part of the war.

The fans of R. Lee Ermey will be happy to hear he is very much starring this show. While this is no Full Metal Jacket, there’s plenty of that same drill sergeant attitude and one liners coming from his way.

The fire fights in The Siege of Firebase Gloria are long and feel the most unrealistic and uninteresting part of the movie. Other than that the movie has interesting aspects to it and will no doubt please those who are into (Vietnam) war movies. The movie is ’drawing inspiration from real life events’ (meaning it never happened), but the lingo and depiction of the troops feels realistic – probably due to Ermey involved in co-scripting some of the scenes with the director.

80s-o-meter: 62%

Total: 71%

#1720 Lust for Freedom (1987)

I could not be less interested in women prison exploitation movies that saw their hay day in late 70s and early 80s, but Lust for Freedom being a Troma release and kind of late to the show, I was hoping there to be something different of interest here.

Well, there is — kind of. Right off the bat the movie starts off with a better background story of a woman underground police officer quitting her job after traumatic events and wandering into to a small town with its law enforcers running a human trafficking ring. What follows is basically every cliché of the exploitation movies out there, only. turned to 11; there’s more blood, more action, more cat fights, more nudity and more of other x-rated filth the fans of the genre are looking forward to.

Personally I still find the whole genre irrelevant to my movie taste, but I do have to give credit to Lust for Freedom for really going overboard with everything, and at least making it somewhat interesting to plow through.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 61%

#1711 Halloween 2022: Watchers (1988)

Finally wrapping up this year’s Halloween with Watchers that I’ve had in my peripheral vision for a few years now, being one of the last Corey Haim movies of the 80s I haven’t yet seen.

My expectation was a supernatural movie with certain Watchers lurking in shadows, but to my surprise the movie was about a boy running into a stray dog whom he then adopts, later discovering that it is in fact a runaway experiment from a genetic research lab with mental powers equal to a human, being followed by a dangerous creature from the same lab.

And meeeeh, I did like my first impression better than this quite far fetched scifi story the movie presented to me. The movie is based on a seemingly solid book by Dean Koontz, so my only guess is that something got lost in translation here. The movie is ok, but its core audience leaves me puzzled as the movie feels thematically geared more towards 12-year olds, yet boasts R-rating.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 68%

#1709 Halloween 2022: The Immortalizer (1989)

For the last two years I’ve plowed through an endless list of uninspired slashers, and it was this year that I got to reap the results of that sacrifice and got to see some horror movies with more interesting concepts.

If you’ve enjoyed action comedy horror movies similar to Dead Heat, the chances are high for you to find something to enjoy here as well. The Immortalizer is wonderfully 80s straight-to-video horror movie of bunch of evil scientist types sending out their mutant creations to kidnap young, beautiful people to give old ultra rich people a chance to live in their bodies through brain transplant.

Sure, it’s trashy and highly stupid movie – but also highly entertaining one, and the poor poster does not really give it the justice it deserves.

80s-o-meter: 94%

Total: 83%

#1692 Halloween 2022: Ghost Riders aka Ghostriders (1987)

A gang of vicious outlaws from wild west era arrive to current day to shoot at a family whose forefather was involved in hanging their leader.

While the title of the movie gets the imagination running, the execution itself is much more on the boring side: the antagonists appear just as regular cowboys with unshaved shins and shoot at their victims from a distance, and could have as well been a local gang of drunkards.

Ghost Riders gets the menacing feeling right at times, but much of a horror movie this ain’t, despite the supernatural theme.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 35%

#1653 Beyond the Rising Moon aka Star Quest aka Outerworld (1987)

First released in 1987, and then re-released in 1994 with added CGI and its name updated to Outerworld, Beyond the Rising Moon is a massive undertaking by its writer/director Philip J. Cook.

The cheap effects and heavy use of miniatures do not go undetected, but considering how everything in the movie was done by just a handful of enthusiastic people with the passion to make a scifi movie, the end results is amazingly solid, and as the viewer you want to believe you are in fact taking part in this dystopian adventure alongside with its cyborg heroine.

The movie’s pacing gets a bit too slow towards the end and the latter half couldn’t keep in in its grips like the first half did, but even so Beyond the Rising Moon earns my recommendation, if only to check out what likely the best indie scifi movie of the 80s looks like.

80s-o-meter: 79%

Total: 74%

#1644 Runaway Nightmare (1982)

There’s only one thing wrong with being a renaissance man, and that is if you aren’t that talented.

This Mike Cartel’s movie, directed by Mike Cartel, written by Mike Cartel and starring Mike Cartel is one of these cases. It’s a messy, messy movie with no real focus what it really wants to be. The movie tries out quite a bit of different things, but fails on each and every one of them.

Runaway Nightmare makes me wish I had the will power to exclude all these kinds of exercises in movie making from my to-do list, but I’m still hoping there’s a gem to be found from that pile. Runaway Nightmare was not that gem, no by a long shot.

80s-o-meter: 58%

Total: 11%

#1642 King Kong Lives (1986)

King Kong got a pretty ok reboot in the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis remake starring Jeff Bridges, Jessica Lange and Charles Grodin, and ten years later King Kong Lives tried to pick up where the previous movie left by introducing a female counterpart for the colossal gorilla, but without the star power of the previous installation.

Well, almost. Linda Hamilton plays the female lead and John Ashton (of the Beverly Hills Cop fame) the army dude trying to blow up the big ape.

Movie fails to utilise neither one, and the apes themselves could be passable for late 80s, early 80s release, but by 1986 the audience had been already spoiled with the next wave of special FX and King Kong Lives absolutely can’t keep up in this race, and feels like a relic from the past with absolutely no value for the viewers of today.

80s-o-meter: 60%

Total: 28%

#1641 Gleaming the Cube (1989)

What do you get when you put 80s up and coming skating legends like Mike McGillMark ”Gator” RogowskiRodney MullenLance MountainMike VallelyNatas Kaupas, Tony Hawk and Tommy Guerrero into the same movie with young Christian Slater on the top of his game, mix it up with a kick ass soundtrack and Californian scenery?

A totally rad 80s action adventure movie – that’s what.

Gleaming the Cube is enjoyable on most of its aspects and a movie that offers tons of aspects that make it worth revisiting time and time again.

80s-o-meter: 100%

Total: 92%

#1638 Assault of the Killer Bimbos (1988)

Ok, so the name here sounds much worse than what the movie actually is.

Assault of the Killer Bimbos is more like an early, rough version of Thelma & Louise. Actually, to them actually contemplating to sue its production team. Truth be told, Assault of the Killer Bimbos is no Thelma & Louise, but some of the similarities here are uncanny.

But Assault of the Killer Bimbos is really a feel good comedy, and actually not a bad one at that.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 75%

#1635 War Cat aka Angel of Vengeance (1987)

There’s a group of survivalists living in a desert that after clashing with a motorcycle gang decide to make a game of human hunting out of one of the females. Needless to say it does not go as planned as she decides to fight back instead.

War Cat revisits the often seen human hunting / female revenge concept, and does not bring anything that new to the mix. It does perform as expected, so those who are fans of the genre will find something here to spend easy 90 minutes with.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 61%

#1611 Shogun Assassin (1980)

A Japanese movie – or rather a mix of two – there’s a good reason why Shogun Assassin should be a part of this blog. The movie is combined from two Japanese movies of the Lone Wolf and Cub manga series originally shot in the early 1970s.

The project to cut the two movies together for Northern American release was a brainchild of Robert Houston and David Weisman who were the fans of the original movies. The movie got more attention a few years later as the home video release that got almost banned due to its graphic depictions of violence, gained a solid cult status and has been since featured in pop culture and movies.

The movie itself? Loved it. It’s stylish and moody without any camp factor often associated with ninja movies to it. The unlikely sword hero is a total badass and the fighting scenes are choreographed in a beautiful way, and I can totally understand why so many people often re-visit this movie.

80s-o-meter: 0%

Total: 87%

#1610 Pray For Death (1985)

Ah .. Shô Kosugi, my not favourite martial artist star of the 80s is back with Pray For Death.

Most of Kosugi’s movies seem to fall into unfortunate slot of not being guilty pleasure like the cheap and over the top ninja movies of the era, nor are they exceptionally well choreographed and orchestrated like what Jackie Chan was already producing at the time.

While the movie doesn’t seem to do anything particularly well, it’s still for sure Kosugi’s better movies of the era – if not the best. The thriller and revenge plot line works, and the movie (and its poster) have that 80s home movie & computer game vibe to it that I actually enjoyed quite a bit.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 70%

#1561 Lassiter (1984)

Lassiter is a hit-by-the-handsome-stick gentleman cat thief living in London on the verge of WWII that ends up recruited against his will by FBI to break into the heavily guarded German embassy to steal gems from the nazis.

The plot puts further pressure on Lassiter and his relationship with his love interest (Jane Seymour) as he first has to seduce the nazi femme fatale (Lauren Hutton) to gain access to the base.

40-year old Tom Selleck handles the role with expected charisma and the movie portrays well the era – or at least the movie version of it – without redundant underlining or overselling.

80s-o-meter: 5%

Total: 73%

#1560 The Lightship (1985)

Three thugs kidnap a lightship – an anchored boat that acts as a floating lighthouse – and its crew in this very mediocre action thriller, low on action and thrills.

The look and feel of the movie is from early 80s, that furthermore reminds me of North Sea Hijack – a similar, but far more superior aquatic thriller. With The Lightship I pretty much kept on waiting for some interesting plot twist until the very end, unfortunately in vain: it plays out much as expected.

The positive aspects of the movie are its moody setting, the two highest billed antagonists Robert Duvall and William Forsythe, plus that amazing looking poster that manages to be much less wishy-washy than the movie itself.

80s-o-meter: 27%

Total: 37%

#1553 American Rickshaw aka American Risciò aka American Tiger (1989)

With American Rickshaw the director Sergio Martino bites a bit more than he can chew; a movie about a Miami rickshaw driver mixed with Chinese supernatural mumbo-jumbo gets outright ridiculous quickly. On the other hand it’s this nonsensical, over the top aspect of American Rickshaw that makes the movie if not enjoyable, at least an experience to watch through. This is definitely one more movie to the ”so bad it’s almost good” -category.

An Italian movie shot in Florida with American actors, American Rickshaw does its very best to underline its American origins – up to the title of the movie – by showcasing well the 80s Miami (beach) life. But, there’s something weirdly and wonderfully off about the movie throughout its running time that is somehow a straight giveaway that it’s not a Hollywood movie we’re talking about here.

I can’t rate American Rickshaw too generously because it’s just not a good movie per se. But take the low rating with a grain of salt, as it does have other interesting qualities to it, and if unorthodox movies are your thing, you might find a lot to enjoy about this wonderful train wreck.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 60%

#1545 Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity (1987)

A textbook example of how to make a decent B-movie, Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity shows not only that one does not need a huge budget to make an entertaining movie, but also that B-movies don’t necessarily need to be laugh out loud bad.

Getting its inspiration very likely from The Most Dangerous Game (1932), Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity follows two intergalactic woman fugitives who crash land on a remote planet to find themselves in the vast mansion along with other visitors and robot servants, hosted by an eccentric aristocrat who has more plans for his guests than first meets the eye.

Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity is throughly enjoyable scifi action movie that goes far beyond its modest budget. Should you watch the movie, pay close attention to the appearance and mannerisms of Don Scribner in the antagonist role as is looks as if young Christian Bale had taken a few notes of this very performance into his later day-to-day repertoire.

80s-o-meter: 92%

Total: 79%

#1544 Rage of Honor (1987)

Shô Kosugi starred in many famous 80s Ninja movies, most of which really did not resonate with me, except for the entertaining Ninja III: The Domination, and his venture out from Ninja genre fared ever worse with the low budget stinkers like Rage of Honor and Black Eagle.

In Rage of Honor he plays a sort of a James Bond type that goes after a drug king pin in Argentina and while the movie is not quite as bad as Black Eagle, it just does everything in such an unimpressive and mediocre way that the movie leaves no lasting impression whatsoever.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 28%