The big punches and scary stunts get dusted off and get put back out on display with these underrated action movies from the ’80s. The stardom in some movies meant others were relegated to the less watched or completely ignored piles and that could be viewed as a secret shame for this great nation. With clippers in hand to make your own tribute Mohawk to the grand time that was ’80s cinema, let your voice cry out in celebration of the past.
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
Cranky and curmudgeonly meets the immovable object in Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and greatness is born. Not many movies made past the concept of equality would think to cast a Caucasian actor for the role of Asian martial arts master but this film embraces the hell out of that idea. Joel Grey gets hit with the makeup stick and then proceeds to hit Remo Williams with every imaginable stick in order to get him into super agent shape. An underrated ’80s action movie that makes the most out of the anti-hero role and pulls out enough fun to make this movie something to be appreciated and even loved.
Next of Kin
Long after the Earth’s curtain call, there will still be a satellite somewhere transmitting Road House, the cousin film of Next of Kin, on fifty channels. This explains why an excellent movie on country boy vengeance got overlooked as it was buried under a swarm of kids running to the hardware store to figure out how to put knife tips in their boots. The action has the best part of violence for the audience in that it in justified classic revenge and that makes it easy to rationalize why you’re rooting for Patrick Swayze to mete out punishment. A human take on the country mouse in the city tale with plenty of violence and enough arrows to make any Dukes of Hazzard fan happy, Next of Kin should hold a spot of honor in the hearts of action films everywhere.
Not content with inspiring the audience to take up skateboarding, Gleaming the Cube also showed that family isn’t limited to a certain color and that’s both beautiful and cheesy goodness that should be voraciously consumed. With a plethora of visually fun stunts that range from the simple to the complex and a nice goofy mystery, this is clearly one of the underrated action movies of the ’80s. This film has Christian Slater, which gives it enough ’80s street cred to deal with any minor plot bumps all while doing a front side power slide into cinematic history.
Young Sherlock Holmes
Outside of the privacy of your own home, you want to be careful when throwing around the word “romp” as the Victorian era police might beat you senseless with their nightsticks. Luckily here in the safe, warm blanket of anonymity that the internet provides it is fine to say that this movie is an insane romp that doesn’t ignore the core of the Sherlock Holmes mythos while still adding enough of its own accoutrement to make the story its own. Equal parts mystery and character study, Young Sherlock Holmes is a thinking man’s action movie that deserves much more recognition so it can leave the realm of the underrated ’80s action movie and move on to a career in middle management, possibly in accounting.
There are times when a movie sets itself up to be underrated and that is evident in Supergirl as the actress playing the titular role gets second billing. With this film you get a double shot of powerful females in the roles of the heroine and the villain. Both actresses give this dichotomy their full attention with excellent performances that bring life to the eternal dance of good versus evil and spandex versus evening wear. The male performances are the picture perfect equivalent of their female counterparts in male-centric action movies of this time period as the guys in Supergirl are now the ditzes and subordinates. This role reversal proves both touching and hilarious; as turnabout isn’t just fair play it’s also satisfying to the audience.