#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%

#1820 My Dinner with Andre (1981)

I like movies that invite you to a share a moment or night with some people you don’t know and by sharing that time with them you get to know them and enjoy a small slice of their lives just for a bit.

My Dinner with Andre takes the concept to the most minimalistic approach I’ve encountered so far by following a conversation of two friends – a struggling playwright and a director – over a meal in a Manhattan restaurant.

There’s a lot of ways this could have turned into a complete disaster and a bore of a movie of two intellectual talking heads, but the way that the dialogue effortlessly flows out makes this one interesting passing moment to witness.

80s-o-meter: 12%

Total: 75%

#1819 Forbidden Zone (1980)

Something of a cult classic due to it’s connections with Elfman brothers and Oingo Boingo, Forbidden Zone is a wild and wacky ride into a world of sheer eccentricity.

The movie is shot in black and white films, and takes visual clues from the early cinema and cartoons with psychedelic look & feel to them and mixes it all up with musical numbers, some of which are imaginative, while others feel like the cast is just mouthing a song like in a billion Tiktok videos out there.

While I’m a big fan of wackiness, problem for me with Forbidden Zone is that it tries way, waaaay to hard to be weird at all times, as in ”hey everybody look at me I’m so cuckoo”. This along with some inane humor like everybody dry humping each other really got old and tired fast. I do applaud the movie for trying something a bit different, and succeeding in capturing a very special kind of mood to it – but it really isn’t my cup of tea.

80s-o-meter: 2%

Total: 9%

#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%