Among the many gifts the 1980s gave to western civilization was the action film. As the cinematic landscape evolved, aging out of the grim, nihilistic stories from ‘70s filmmakers impacted by Vietnam’s toll, the ‘80s brought forth hope, prosperity, and lots and lots of explosions. The decade saw musclebound men with unceasing firepower blowing bad guys to Kingdom Come. We got one-liners, synth scores, mustachioed heroes in ill-fitting denim, and visions of dystopian futures often replete with suspicious robotics.
The ‘80s was a time of indulgence, of mullets, of slo-mo. While Steven Spielberg was creating timeless art that would endure for future generations, guys like John McTiernan and Paul Verhoeven were marinating in the decade’s pungent juices, bringing to life material in such a way as had never been seen before.
These are the 1980s’ best, most over the top action offerings. And no, Over the Top did not make the cut.