#1196 They Still Call Me Bruce (1987)

Released straight on video on 1987, They Still Call Me Bruce actually kicks off promisingly – not the Oscar kind of mind you, but discount VHS bin silver nugget kind of promisingly.

The late 80s style suits the movie better than what was seen in the original instalment, the plot revolving around the karate studio is marginally more interesting and the jokes dealing with Bruce misunderstanding English sayings are generally funnier this time around.

But this sequel starts running out of steam soon and the heavy handed padding makes the movie crawl through the finishing line.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 52%

#1036 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)

The last movie of the Indy trilogy (refusing to acknowledge that 2008 movie as part of the franchise), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade brings back everything we loved in Raiders of the Lost Ark while amping up both the adventure and lighthearted humour, making it the most well rounded Indiana Jones movie.

I was lucky enough to see The Last Crusade on an actual silver screen as the trilogy was shown from the original film reels in one of the screenings the Finnish national audiovisual institute arranged. Once again, I found myself enchanted from the very first seconds to the movie and the movie kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through it.

Sean Connery makes an appearance as the Indy’s somewhat eccentric father who creates many joyful moments as the know-it-all dad who keeps on talking down to his son like he was still twelve. It’s a delightful comic relief that almost seems to write material by itself thanks to the onscreen tension between the two high caliber actors.

The Last Crusade is a triumph of an adventure, taking everything that worked in the first movie and adding some very brilliant elements of its own.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 100%

#1035 Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

A prequel set one year prior to the events in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a much darker, violent and, unfortunately, less fun adventure movie than the original.

For one reason or another, Temple of Doom is also a much more generic adventure movie than its predecessor. While still a clear notch above all of its competition thanks to first rate production values and Harrison Ford as the Indy, the story could’ve been well passed off as one of the adventures of Jack T. Colton or Allan Quatermain instead. Unlike in Raiders of the Lost ARk, there’s really no iconic scenes in Temple of Doom that would’ve become a part of the pop culture folklore.

Temple of Doom is not a bad movie by any standard, especially compared to the other adventures of the era. But it is a victim of a middle child syndrome, paling in comparison to what its go-getter elder and younger brother have to offer.

80s-o-meter: 77%

Total: 86%

#1014 Big Top Pee-wee (1988)

While Pee-wee’s Big Adventure made a good effort in taking an remarkably insignificant event and making it an amazingly big adventure, Big Top Pee-wee tackles somewhat bigger things, but ends up a more insignificant movie.

Like with the original I really can’t tell who this movie is made for. Its lush and colourful scenes seem perfect for a kiddies movie, but many of the themes presented here really aren’t suitable for the young ones, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable watching the movie with my offspring. All in all it feels like an episode of Teletubbies edited some Youtuber who added some raunchier elements to the mix.

Big Top Pee-wee is an easy-to-watch, easy-to-forget movie that, unlike the original, leaves absolutely no lasting appeal.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 47%

#1012 Meatballs Part II (1984)

The 1979 Meatballs movie starring one Bill Murray started a wave of summer camp comedies over the following years and in this sense Meatballs Part II was sort of a latecomer to its own party. Rebranded to an official sequel from a title that was originally going to be just another Meatballs ripoff, it’s clear that part II should’ve just been released as a separate movie.

Pretty much everything the movie introduces to the old mix is for the worse, aliens and flying pugilists to name a few. Otherwise the movie sticks to the worn out formula or horny elder teens and younger clueless kids on a camp, with some pranks thrown in – and does it all in a much less interesting way than the competition.

What it comes to goofy comedies, there’s certainly good kind of stupidity and the bad kind. While its predecessor and even its successor both manage to find the right balance, Meatballs Part II just goes badly south.

80s-o-meter: 84%

Total: 31%

#1010 Arthur 2: On the Rocks (1988)

Made a whopping seven years after the original, Arthur 2: On the Rocks picks up remarkably well from where the first movie left off, looking like it was shot pretty much back to back with the original.

Four years in the movie time have passed and Arthur and Linda are enjoying the life of the filthy rich. After their decision to adopt a child the dark clouds start to gather as Arthur’s old arch enemy Burt Johnson appears out of the blue and strips the couple out of every penny they have in a hostile business deal.

As a movie the sequel is much less tight than the original, especially including the final payoff, but on the other many of the jokes themselves are much to my surprise actually funnier. And the side plot of clueless butler Fairchild trying to grow into the shoes of his predecessor is smartly written and offers some of the most genuinely heartwarming moments of the movie.

But most importantly for the fans of the original: The once-in-a-lifetime chemistry between the two leads is still most definitely there.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 85%

#863 Iron Eagle II (1988)

While the first movie in the series was a fresh take on the subject, Iron Eagle II – released two years after the original – takes much more notes from Top Gun by introducing a roster of outcast pilots ordered to perform a seek and destroy mission along with a fleet from the Soviet Union.

The sequel ditches the former lead Doug Masters by killing him during a firefight in the very first minutes of the movie, leaving us with Colonel Chappy – arguably the weaker half of the duo. Along with the Top Gun influence, the movie is built on the post cold war thematics with some Police Academy style of humour thrown in the mix.

Iron Eagle II is a tired follow up to the original that inexplicably went on to spawn two more sequels during the nineties, both of which apparently even weaker than this one.

80s-o-meter: 91%

Total: 58%

#850 The Color of Money (1986)

For a movie that I really didn’t care that much for, Martin Scorsese’s The Color of Money gets quite a lot of praise from me — first and foremost for not going for the formulaic master and apprentice struggling against the odds to reach the ultimate victory by a hair approach. Instead, it offers an interesting look into an aging hustler who has to start putting his life back together piece by piece to redefine himself and to find his long lost love for the game.

I’m torn with this picture. By avoiding the temptation to press most of the obvious feel good and jear jerking buttons along the way, Scorsese has made an excellent, uncompromising film, but also one that lacked closure and that never managed to grasp me or to keep me on the edge of my seat. In short, the movie often just isn’t very entertaining.

The movie handles all of its 9-ball scenes with TLC, and they are beautifully choreographed and recorded in a one continuous, breathtaking shot. Paul Newman and Tom Cruise are on top of their game here and perform their moves and shots with such confidence, you’d swear they’re both regular pool sharks in real life.

80s-o-meter: 72%

Total: 70%

#843 Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives! (1989)

An idea to do a continuum for the original movie like a miscalculation at first and seems just like another unmotivated sequel that will end up devaluing both of the movies. But as the events start to evolve Eddie and the Cruisers II: Eddie Lives actually makes sense and feels like a good continuum for the events left without closure in the first movie.

The thing is, I somehow like the second story better. Living true to his mantra of wanting to be remembered by the music or not at all, Eddie has gone incognito, working as a blue collar construction worker. As the events unravel he soon finds himself as an unwilling lead of a rock band headed for fame.

Like the first time around, much of the charm of the movie is built around Michael Paré’s, who mimics the songs with such credibility and intensity, one’d wish Eddie was an actual, living rock star.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 82%

#763 Halloween 2017: Return of the Living Dead II (1988)

The sequel – this time written and directed by Ken Wiederhorn – follows the look and feel of the original movie closely, and does not wander too far away from the winning formula. In this case the decision applaudable, making Return of the Living Dead II worth watching, even if it is the weaker movie of the two.

James Karen and Thom Mathews, the hilarious screaming and moaning duo from the first movie return as completely new characters here as if the events in the first movie never took place, but the movie thankfully acknowledges this by joking openly about it.

Some of the familiar reanimated cadavers – like the modernised version of the Tarman – are back, but the sequel falls behind the original in the overall quality of the effects, never surpassing its three year older big brother. The sequel trades in some of its quality to quantity by marching huge armies of living dead on the screen, ending up with a much less memorable array of baddies.

The series would go on to spawn three more sequels, one in 1993 and two in 2005, all of which are mostly unrelated to these eighties originals.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 82%

#754 Halloween 2017: Friday the 13th Part VIII Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)

The last Friday the 13th movie of the decade, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan falls in the category of being yet another failure of a sequel, but at least failing in a refreshingly new way by taking the franchise on board to a boat, and finally to the big apple. Which is good news – I really couldn’t have stomached another cabin full of kids ending tits up around the Crystal Lake again.

Jason we see this time around is cunning and witty, and somehow again seems more like an ordinary, breathing human being wearing a mask rather than the supreme being seen in the previous two movies. A few years tied to the bottom of a lake can do one wonders, I guess.

The boat ride part is pretty average without much surprises, dragging on for far too long and it’s only in the last 20 minutes of the movie that we actually get to the Manhattan, which provides a much more interesting setting for the movie. The few interesting minutes of the movie are over soon and finished with an insignificant ending that leaves a lot to be desired. As the end credits rolled I just wished Jason’s visit to the New York City would’ve been just a little bit longer.

80s-o-meter: 90%

Total: 62%

#751 Halloween 2017: Friday the 13th Part V A New Beginning (1985)

A kickstart to a ’new’ series of Friday the 13th movies less than one year after the death of Jason, Friday the 13th A New Beginning is the first movie of the series trying to add a bit of something new to the mix.

Still, it’s very tired movie. Production values are again a step up from the previous movie, but the fact that the movie is a formulaic design crafted only to milk the existing franchise just shines through every crack and creak of the movie. New characters are introduced in a mind boggling rate, with the only purpose to see them killed just a few moments later. While there could’ve been some limited entertainment to the comedically graphic kills, almost all of them are cut short to meet the MPAA ”R” rating.

The cheap scares seen in the previous movie are fortunately gone here. Friday the 13th A New Beginning is a pure slasher with precisely timed kills happening mind-numbingly fast and often, with really nothing in the movie to make it memorable.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 48%

#750 Halloween 2017: Friday the 13th Part IV The Final Chapter (1984)

Marketed to be the last movie of the series, Friday the 13th 4 The Final Chapter forgets all the 3D nonsense seen in the previous movie and returns to the old formula. Considering the rankness of the third installation, this can only be a step up.

Since Kevin Bacon was seen in the first Friday the 13th movie, the serie hasn’t featured any well known actors. The Final Chapter is an exception in this sense, starring both Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman, former of which performs one of the most memorable moments of the series so far in a form of an awesomely awkward living room dance routine.

The production quality has improved from the previous movie, and in this movie we finally see Jason in the form he is remembered in the popular culture. Otherwise the final part can’t really offer anything not already seen in the silver screen a thousand times before.

80s-o-meter: 83%

Total: 60%

#749 Halloween 2017: Friday the 13th Part III (1982)

Friday the 13th Part III takes a different approach from the previous two movies, but not by coming up with a more inventive story line or by adding depth to the characters.

Instead, the movie throws in to the mix a bunch of useless gimmicks, like being shot in 3D. In practise this means pulling off some needless and distracting camera tricks just for the sake of playing around with the media. Thanks for the inferior format, the 2D transfer has a very blurry image that gets even softer towards the edges, resulting part three looking much more dated than both the previous two films.

Jason in this part seems to loan a lot from Halloween movies’ Michael Myers in his movement and appearance, and it’s probably not the only thing loaned here. The amount of staggeringly stupid jump scares pretty much sum the amount of the laziness and the unoriginality of the movie.

The only upside of the movie is Jason finally switching his pillow cover mask to the hockey mask, a simple piece of prop that soon became synonymous with the series.

80s-o-meter: 76%

Total: 23%

#748 Halloween 2017: Friday the 13th Part II (1981)

Although Jason – the antagonist of the Friday 13th series – is synonymous with the whole series, he is really properly introduced in Friday the 13th Part II, and this is the movie where he starts his mission of seriously harvesting the teenage population.

The premise of the Part II is basically the same than in the previous film. Five years after the events of the first movie a bunch of new kids gather at the cabin by the lake, and as expected they first get naked and soon get whacked off one by one. As a movie the sequel is more well rounded than the first movie – even preferred by many fans of the series – but on the other hand it lacks the cult status and the relative freshness of the first movie.

Here we see Jason still masqueraded with a pillow cover instead of his iconic hockey mask, which just doesn’t seem right if you’re set to watch a Friday the 13th movie. Comparisons to another well known slasher sequel released in 1981 are inevitable, and out of the two Halloween II comes out a clear winner.

80s-o-meter: 81%

Total: 62%

#739 Halloween 2017: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Released 12 years after the original movie shocked the world, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 brings back the whole sadistic, cannibalistic family to the silver screen in a splattery, comedic package not unlike Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, released one year later.

Directed by Tobe Hooper, the production values have amped up and what the sequel loses in its snuff atmosphere, it gains in professional set design, tight action scenes and quality makeup. The tone of the movie has changed quite a bit as well, changing from nerve wrecking, documentary like tension to action, comedy and guts.

Dennis Hopper is seen as Lieutenant ’Lefty’ Enright who dives right into the role with the right kind of madness and intensity. Bill Johnson makes for a good dumb, often hilariously confused chainsaw wielding Leatherface often seen in delightfully violent entrances to the scene through some solid walls and doors. A lot of work has gone in the set design of the underground lair, which is a chaotic mix of a slaughterhouse, wax cabinet of mummified corpses in macabre poses, hoarded items, and endless, stuffy corridors filled with color lights.

The sequel is an exercise in bad taste that amps up the madness levels to the max, and the insanity depicted here gets so overboard at times that watching the movie feels suffocating like being locked in an asylum. It’s a movie that’s definitely not for everyone, but obviously that’s the way Tobe Hooper wanted to design it.

80s-o-meter: 82%

Total: 80%

#738 Halloween 2017: Curse II The Bite (1989)

Curse II: The Bite joins Halloween III, C.H.U.D. II and House III as horror sequels that have absolutely nothing to do with the original. It’s also joins the endless list of sequels that fall behind the original.

While I don’t usually bother to comment any technical details, I have to say I was distracted by the overall look and feel of the movie. Although shot in New Mexico, the movie just somehow gives a strange vibe of being instead an aussie movie shot in the Outback.

The movie changes from showing good potential to a slight disappointment multiple times, until the last 15 awesome minutes of the movie. Without giving away any spoilers, this is one of the most intensive and visually stunning effects rumble I’ve seen, good enough to warrant watching the movie and definitely pay off the time invested in watching the movie, with interest.

The Curse series spawned even two more similar, independent sequels, released in 1991 and 1993 respectively.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 74%

#722 The Karate Kid Part III (1989)

So .. this had to happen then.

The duo is put together one more time in a sequel that pretty much takes a total piss on the whole series. Poor Daniel returns to L.A. being once again dumped by his latest girlfriend. Daniel shells out his college fund to lease a shop to sell bonsai trees with Miyagi and soon get harassed by a couple of bozos, one of which is the John Kreese, that heinous karate instructor from the first movie.

The core trio of evil doers doesn’t seem to get enough of teasing a teenager and the elder asian, no matter how many times Mr. Miyagi hands their asses back at them. The baddies are more annoying than in the previous two movies combined and watching the endless stream of abuse gets somewhat uneasy to look. Even if this is the buildup is for the ultimate inevitable revenge, it pretty much feels like watching as a standbyer as someone’s being teased to death by the most abusive school bullies ever.

The only positive side in the movie is that the karate shown in the movie is much more convincing than in the previous installations, with Thomas Ian Griffith showcasing some genuinely impressive moves.

80s-o-meter: 87%

Total: 45%

#721 The Karate Kid Part II (1986)

The work for the sequel started in a record time, only ten days after the first movie was shot and it seems like a story the makers wanted to tell to complete the first movie. In The Karate Kid Part II the duo travels to Okinawa, and this time around it’s Daniel steps up to support his friend Miyagi who finds himself face to face with things he thought he’d left in his past.

Even if the sequel is weaker than the first installation, I have to compliment the production team for taking the franchise to a new direction instead of playing it safe and repeating everything seen in the first movie, which is the case more than often in these series.

Shot in Hawaii, the decorated setting is carefully reconstructed to pass as a small Okinawan village and these beautiful pacific backgrounds add much depth to the kata training sequences. Similarly to the previous movie there’s not a lot of actual hand to hand combat going on here and in the few selected fights we see I have to say that Ralph Macchio’s credibility as the undisputed karate master still requires quite a stretch of imagination

If the previous Karate Kid was a movie about friendship, in Part II the theme is love. The two very different relationships between Miyagi and Yukie, and Daniel and Kumiko, under the pacific paradise island are portrayed with fondness. The relationship between Daniel and Miyagi also deepens on multiple levels, and Mr. Miyagi gains some new dimensions when his integrity and honor are faced with themes of loss, shame, love and even pettiness.

Pat Morita’s portrayal here is nothing short of awe inspiring.

80s-o-meter: 85%

Total: 81%

#642 C.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud (1989)

The biggest flaw in the sequel is that is isn’t actually a sequel at all, but a completely different horror comedy rewritten to mimic one. While this is not unusual at all (as is the case with House III and Halloween III for example) it does set the viewer to a wrong mood to begin with, only to get something completely different than anticipated.

Viewed as a completely separate entity, Bud the Chud is actually not that bad.

There are a few actual laughs every now and then, and the showdown in the swimming pool is pretty unique. It’s just the amazingly strong competition of the late 80s horror comedies that make it look bad: Compared to the likes of The Lost Boys, Return of the living dead, Night of the creeps or Beetlejuice it’s just totally forgettable.

80s-o-meter: 89%

Total: 73%