Tag Archives: 80’s

The Karate Kid part II, American movie (1986)

When I grew up as a kid there was a movie that always made me feel good. It is one of my favorite childhood movies and it’s called the Karate Kid. I watched this film at a time where attending school was a very dark place for me. I was bullied nearly every day, and here was a film where the same thing was happening to this young boy called Daniel. But guess what? He not only managed to gain respect and grow as a person, but he also beat his bullies in a brilliant way. It gave me hope that eventually everything can be beaten if you just put your mind to it. I will always be grateful to the movie for providing me a sense of relief and escapism in what was quite frankly a time in my life that I don’t like to look back on very often. Three years later the sequel came out. And it blew my young mind away again, but this time also for a few other reasons.

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FINISH HIM!!!!!!

The second part of the Karate Kid literally starts where the first part ended. Daniel has just won the All-Valley Karate Tournament and prepares to go home with his teacher mr. Miyagi. Once outside the pair see Daniel’s rival from the first movie being accosted by his own sensei John Kreese. Luckily Miyagi intervenes just in time, proving that you should never hold a grudge for too long. Six months later mr. Miyagi receives a letter from his lost love in Okinawa, Yukei, telling him his father is very ill. Daniel is eager to find out who Yukei is, and he soon hears the story behind the reason for his old master’s departure from Japan all those years ago. Yukei was apparently arranged to marry a man named Sato, who was mr. Miyagi’s best friend. But when he fell in love with her, Sato challenged him to a fight to the death. Unwilling to enter into such a duel, Miyagi left Japan, leaving behind a heartbroken Yukei. Having no choice now but to go to Okinawa and his dying father, he departs in all haste, with Daniel travelling with him. Upon their arrival though, both master and student are about to find out that some people can hold a grudge for a very long time……

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Honestly I would have included only pictures of Kumiko, but I guess I did not want to be too obvious.

This movie is very dear to me. It’s my number one go to movie whenever I feel down or depressed. Somehow it never fails to lift my spirits. There are two things this film did besides the general feel good atmosphere it manages to create. The first is that it introduced me to Asian culture, more specifically the culture of Japan. I loved the many customs we as an audience get to experience through this film. One of the scenes that really still brings a smile to my face is the tea ceremony between Daniel and his love interest in this movie: Kumiko. It is a wonderful custom to observe, and it is also incredibly romantic. With this movie my interest for Asian culture in general started to take shape, a fact that continues to this day. The second thing it did was give me my first movie crush. I was absolutely mesmerised by the beauty of Kumiko, played by a young Tamlyn Tomita. In my young mind she was the perfect woman, and I completely fell in love with her. Ah teenage love can be so strange at times.

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Ice, Ice, baby…..

From an acting point of view there are some great roles that I think are worth mentioning. First up is Pat Morita, as mr. Miyagi. I think his role in this second part was even better than in the first movie, as in this film the spotlight is somewhat more on his story instead of focussing all the attention on Daniel. It gives us a few wonderful scenes, most notably the ones between him and Sato and his love Yukei. Sato played by Danny Kamekona is the perfect adversary for Miyagi. His gravelly voice is terrific, and he also manages to create a humanity to his character in a great way. Lastly we have Sato’s nephew Chozen Toguchi, played by Yuji Okumoto, who eventually becomes Daniel’s opponent. He is a particular breed of nasty, and you will come to hate him over the course of this film. Some of the things he does still gets my blood boiling after all these years, and it is only a big compliment to Okumoto’s acting, that he manages to invoke such a feeling.

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Okay, sorry, just one more…..

Now some might argue how mediocre the fight scenes in this movie look. Certainly we are not watching a Jet Li or Jackie Chan movie here. The fights only serve to create some extra tension, in what is otherwise a really great and heartwarming film. I can’t express through words alone how much I still enjoy seeing this movie, even though it is now 31 years old. Both parts 1 and 2 are the ultimate feel good experience and are a perfect watch for whenever you just want to feel like you can take on the world again. It probably won’t please everyone, cynics might certainly point out the many flaws this film probably has, but I just love this movie to death. If you have never seen this one, I do recommend watching part 1 first. That movie establishes the relationship between mr. Miyagi and young Daniel, and to skip that would be to miss out on a lot of things. And remember to relax: wax on, wax off.

I give the Karate Kid part II a 10 out of 10 score.

 

Lethal Weapon 2, American movie (1989)

We all know what happens when a movie is succesful at the box office. When it brings on buckets full of money, the studios look for ways to increase that money. And than the word appears that movielovers both hate and love at the same time : sequel. Throughout movie history the sequel to a succesful movie has mostly got a track record of being a lesser product than the original. Luckily though, the sequel these days does seem to be improving to what it usually was in the old days: a cheap way to make more money. But there were certainly noteworthy exceptions. One thing that the 80’s did right was produce an incredible amount of highly entertaining action franchises. Rambo, Die Hard and ofcourse one of my personal favorites the Lethal Weapon series. I already did a review of part 1, which you can find here. Two years later the sequel saw the light of day, and it was every bit as fun as the original movie, if not more so.

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Hmm, you think we can eat this?

Lethal Weapon 2 starts off in the middle of a high speed pursuit. Our favorite crimefighting heroes Riggs and Murtaugh are hot on the tail of a suspect when the car chase ends abruptly with a crash. Inside the trunk of the car they were chasing, an enormous amount of gold Krugerrands is found. This soon leads them to a South African consul general called Arjen Rudd. Riggs is almost certain that this man is tied to a couple of highly illegal dealings, but because Rudd enjoys diplomatic immunity, they are not allowed to pursue the matter any further. What’s worse is that they get a new assignment and that is to protect a valuable federal witness called Leo Getz. This would not be so bad were it not for the fact that Getz is truly driving them completely crazy. But when an attempt is made on Leo’s life, Riggs and Murtaugh discover that the case of Getz might also be linked to the case they were ordered to stand down from. And when colleagues of them start to die, the two of them will have to pull out all the stops in order to solve the case, but also to escape with their lives still intact.

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Sorry miss, I am going to have to confiscate your groceries.

Man, oh man, oh man. What a joy it was to see this movie back again. I might have seen it way too many times already, but it just never get’s old. I was grinning like an idiot all throughout the film and still had to laugh at all the jokes this movie has on offer. Right from the very first opening scene this movie comes out guns blazing. I don’t care about the fact that we certainly have had a couple of great and memorable action movies in recent years: 80’s action just has a certain charm and atmosphere to it, that will never be recaptured on screen. And the action in this one just never let’s up. Highspeed car chases, gunbattles, fist fights, the action lover certainly get’s his or her fix in this film. And all this is mixed with a brilliant comedic blend, that takes the edge of some of the darker moments in the movie.

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No need to argue about this…..I am going to appear in the next two parts as well.

But once again it is the actors that make these movies, and praise most definitely goes out to both Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The comedic banter between these two is even better than it was in the first film, and you can really tell that the both of them had a blast making this sequel. Another very welcome addition to the cast is Joe Pesci who plays the role of Leo Getz. It is not often that you get a character that is so obnoxious, but endearing at the same time. Some of the best moments from this film occur when he is around, and it’s a great thing that his character returned for parts 3 and 4. The villain Arjen Rudd is portrayed by actor Joss Ackland, and he manages to create a character that you will truly grow to hate throughout this movie. He is a really evil man, who does some loathsome things, and certainly is a handful for Riggs and Murtaugh to take down. Ackland’s acting is superb, and only adds more depth to the sinister character that Rudd is.

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Come on man you spent enough time on the toilet now, let me get you off.

The story of this movie ofcourse takes a backseat and pretty much serves only to propel the action and comedy forward. And it succeeds in doing that in a good way, while providing enough twists and turns to keep you entertained until the end of the film. Lethal Weapon 2 is a prime example of how a sequel can definitely work. It’s a great follow up to the original movie, and if you liked that one you don’t even have to think twice about watching this. It’s one of the greatest 80’s action flicks that has been made in that era, and still provides a fantastic experience even though the film is now nearing it’s 30 year anniversary. This movie definitely still isn’t too old for this sh*t.

I give Lethal Weapon 2 a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Stranger Things season 2 trailer.

Last year, Netflix released a television series that was so incredibly briljant, that I finished it twice in one weekend. Yes, I am not kidding. The series was an homage to everything 80’s and managed to create an atmosphere that I had not felt since movies like E.T. or Stand by me. That series was called Stranger Things and it was everything that an 80’s junkie like me could have dreamed of. Stranger Things was simply perfect, and it had only one negative point to it as far as I was concerned: it only had 8 episodes. Being such a huge succes, it would have been erm strange, if a second season would not have been announced. Ofcourse it was, and since then I have been eagerly awaiting news or the first images of the second series. Besides a very short 15 second  teaser, it all was deceptively quiet. Until now….

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When there is something strange, in your neighbourhood, who are you going to call? Erm..not them….

This morning I woke up, browsed through the YouTube video’s and then my eyes fell upon the Stranger Things season 2 thriller trailer. With a pounding heart, I clicked on the play button……and had a stupid grin on my face until it finished. I just had to share this with you guys. Unless I am mistaking this second season is going to be even more epic than the first. All of our favorite characters return, and oh man that wonderful 80’s vibe, you just can’t beat that! We still have to wait a few months for it’s final release, but until that time we can watch this trailer again….and again….and again! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I did. And if you haven’t yet seen the first season, go and watch it now. It is utterly amazing, and certainly the best tv series that Netflix has made so far.

Deep Star Six, American movie (1989)

Sometimes Hollywood goes through, what I would like to call “phases”. There are times when we all of a sudden get a number of movies that are released around a certain theme. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that recognise this. In the 80’s people were getting tired of the standard science fiction movies that were being released one after the other. Movie studios were beginning to realise this, and began to look for other alternatives. And so it was that the action moved from outer space to the deep dark trenches of the ocean. In the year 1989 no less than six different underwater based movies were made. Of all of these James Cameron’s The Abyss is the only one that became a huge box office hit. The other ones were mostly forgotten B-movies. But that is not to say, that some of these were not entertaining. DeepStar Six definitely falls into this category, and can absolutely be called a B-movie, but certainly a fun one.

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A good and decent shotgun, never leave home without them

DeepStar Six is an experimental underwater base, that is tasked with a mission by the US Navy. Headed by dr. van Gelder, whose sole purpose in life seems to be his work, the base oversees the installation of a nuclear missile platform deep under the surface of the sea. But as usual things that at first seem like an easy job, eventually turn into something that is really ugly, real fast. Right under the site where the missiles are to be stored, a gigantic underwater cave system is discovered. Against better judgement van Gelder orders depthcharges to be used, in order to collapse the system. That this turns out not to be such a good idea soon becomes apparent. In the wake of the explosion a massive fissure is exposed, and part of the seabed collapses. As if this was not bad enough already, the cavesystem appears to be the home of a gigantic creature. With the monster now set free, it soon sets it’s sight on the crew of DeepStar Six, and it is out for blood…..

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If you ever lose your can opener, this guy is sure to help you out. No..really. 

Ah the wonderful 80’s. I cannot express enough how much I love to see movies from that era. For some reason there is just a certain charm that those films seem to have. DeepStar Six is not going to be winning any Oscars, but it certainly has some interesting features. The movie was directed by Sean S. Cunningham who was also responsible for directing the original Friday the 13th movie, that starred a very young Kevin Bacon. While there are no hockey mask wearing killers walking around in this film, Cunningham does manage to create a tense atmosphere, certainly in the second half of the movie.

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It’s almost as if she is going to start laughing here….but that won’t last for long. 

The characters of this film are your usual bunch of people that you expect to find in movies such as these. We have the hero of the movie, the submarine pilot mcBride, played by Greg Evigan. He is a bit of a macho kind of guy, but still just likeable enough to root for him in the end. Ofcourse we also have the coward and paranoid type of character in the form of Snyder, portrayed by actor Miguel Ferrer, who sadly passed away earlier this year. Snyder is a seriously annoying person who gets on everyone’s nerves, but you can still find sympathy for. And last but not least we have the love interest for mcBride, Joyce Collins, played by actress Nancy Everhard. She is a pretty tough woman, who can definitely take care of herself. The rest of the characters are pretty much cardboard, but do provide enough support for the main cast.

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I’m pretty sure you are not supposed to tie a necktie like this, but I could be wrong. 

The story of the film is pretty much non-existent, but ofcourse you watch a film like this for the monster. And I honestly have to say that the creature is pretty cool. Considering the era in which this was made, the monster looks convincing enough, especially since we are talking about practical special effects here. The sets of the underwaterbase are also rather awesome and certainly don’t look like they were made for a low budget movie. All in all we have a film here that is a fun ride throughout it’s runtime. I was not bored by the movie for a single moment, and what it may lack in budget, it more than makes up for in thrills and entertainment. Don’t expect wonders from this movie, but if you like low budget films that feature a good monster and some scares, this film might be worth your time.

I give DeepStar Six a 8 out 10 score.

 

Labyrinth the Boardgame, a boardgame for 1-4 players by River Horse games (2016)

One of my favorite alltime childhood movies was Labyrinth. This fantasy movie from 1986 featured David Bowie as the evil Goblin King, and a young Jennifer Connelly as Sarah. Made by Jim Henson, this wonderful feelgood film had a young girl facing challenges in a magical labyrinth in order to save her baby brother from the clutches of the wicked Goblin King. This film has gained quite a cult following, and it recently was announced that a sequel to the movie is now in the works. Sadly ofcourse without David Bowie who unfortunately died last year. In 2016 the movie celebrated it’s 30th anniversary, and because of that a lot of new merchandise was released, most notably the boardgame I am about to review. If you are interested in reading more about some of my favorite childhood films, you can find them here. But now onwards with the review.

Components

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As a huge fan of this movie I was delighted to see it represented in such a lovely way. The components for this game are of a very high quality and look amazing. Contained within the box are five miniatures that represent the most important characters from the movie, including Ludo, Sarah, Sir Didymus, Hoggle and ofcourse the Goblin King himself. The board itself is a representation of the Labyrinth from the movie and looks okay, but could have been designed a little bit better. Also included are six special dice, 4 character sheets, various cards and stand-up figures and a bunch of tokens. Rounding out the game is the rulebook that explains the rules in a very clear and precise manner, as well as containing some lovely photographs from the movie.

Game overview

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In a game of Labyrinth each player takes on the role of one of the characters from the movie. The Goblin King is controlled by the game itself. Labyrinth is a cooperative game, meaning that either everyone wins, or everybody loses. Just like in the movie players are on a race against time to rescue Toby, before the clock strikes midnight and Toby becomes a goblin forever. Each character has it’s own strengths and weaknesses. For example the loveable Ludo has enormous strength, but is a bit slow in the brains department. These traits are represented by a corresponding die.

Labyrinth is played in a series of turns. During each turn a player moves his or her character across the board. The object of the game is to find the entrancecard to the Goblin city and by doing so, face a few final challenges and defeat the Goblin King. By moving across the board, players get to reveal cards. These cards almost always involve taking some kind of test by rolling a die. Failing at a test usually has a nasty side effect, but also takes up precious time. After each player has taken it’s turn the Goblin clock advances by one hour. When the clock is back in it’s original position the players lose the game.

This really means that players are under constant pressure in order to find the card that represents the entrance to the city. When the entrance is finally found, the action moves to the Goblin King’s castle, where the players have to defeat a couple of enemies in order to have Sarah face her final challenge.

Difficulty

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From a rules point of view this game is very easy to learn. The rulebook explains things very well, and pretty much everyone can learn this game in about five minutes. The game itself depends a lot on luck in order to win it. The game relies heavily on the results of the dice that are being rolled, and if you are unlucky in that department, the game can be lost very easily. That being said, there is a little bit of strategy involved in this game as well. By having players work together, it becomes easier to complete certain tests. All in all though this is a very simple game, and it does not pretend to be anything else either. Honestly from time to time, it is nice to have a game that doesn’t have you look up every single rule each time that you play it.

The Verdict

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Whether or not you will like this game will probably come down to if you are a fan of the film or not. For me, it was a wonderful experience, and it was really nice to see a lot of scenes from the movie being brought back into life this way. It’s hard not to smile when you have to repeat a certain quote from the movie in order to pass a test.  On the other hand, this game can at times be quite repetitive. The game really is not much more than having your characters race across the board, and rolling dice to complete tests. But this game is simply put, made for fans of the movie. It manages to really recreate the spirit of the film, and that’s one of the most important things for a game that is based on a movie. The score you find below my review is given as a fan. If however you have never seen the film, or hate it with a vengeance (Shame on you! Kidding ofcourse), you might want to deduct one or two points from it, depending on whether or not you like games that depend heavily on luck.

In closing I want to dedicate this review to Ludija, who is a huge fan of this movie. Hope you enjoyed reading this, and as promised we will play this game soon 😊

I give Labyrinth the boardgame a 8 out of 10 score.

Lethal Weapon, American Movie (1987)

And here we are, yet another movie from the 80’s that I am reviewing and have rewatched today. I really don’t know what has gotten into me, but for some reason I seem to be stuck into some kind of 80’s mode. The funny thing is that even on other blogs I see posts appearing, that talk about movies from this great era of filmmaking. Maybe there is some kind of world wide epidemic that I am not aware of. Whatever the case, I don’t mind it at all, as I am really having a blast rewatching these old, but classic and in my humble opinion timeless movies. As for Lethal Weapon, it has really been quite a while since I last saw it. The fun thing is, that there is now also a television series based on this great moviefranchise. I have not yet had the pleasure of seeing this series for myself yet, but I did catch a few clips of it on YouTube and I do have to admit it looks pretty cool. That said, it will never beat this classic movie though…not even by a longshot.

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The movie starts when we witness a young prostitute jumping to her death from the balcony of a high rise apartment building. What at first seems to be a simple suicide, soon turns into something much more complex. Detective Roger Murtaugh from the LAPD, who has just had his 50th birthday, is put on the case. It is not long before he is partnered up with a detective called Martin Riggs, who got transferred from narcotics. But Riggs is not your average cop. Having just lost his wife, he seems completely crazy and on a road towards selfdestruction. At first Murtaugh wants nothing to do with Riggs. But as time passes the two begin to work together and form a lasting friendship. And not a moment too soon, because a brutal drug smuggling ring has very sinister plans. Plans that might end up costing the two detectives their own lives….

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Even though this movies is now 30 years old (yes I know, I am getting old ), it has not last any of it’s charm and power. This film is the best buddy cop action film ever made. Yes, I know this is a bold claim, but it is definitely the truth. This movie works because of the incredible chemistry between the two lead actors. Mel Gibson is fantastic in his role as the completely crazy Martin Riggs. There are a lot of scenes that still had me laughing out loud because of his antics. But Danny Glover is equally funny in his role as the older cop Roger Murtaugh. The scenes between the two of them are well written and work very well.

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But in between all the comedy is also a terrific, and at times even brutal action movie. The storyline, even though serving in the background with movies such as these, is effective enough. But a movie like Lethal Weapon you watch because of the action, and on that department the movie delivers. Right from the very start the movie has a good pace, and serves up enough action to satisfy any lover of action movies. Lethal Weapon will always be one of my favorite actionfilms. The three sequels that follow this one, are all pretty much as good as this part, except for maybe the third one. This classic action movie is still a joy to watch and I highly recommend it to anyone who is an adrenaline junkie. Don’t be put off by thinking that this is a thirty year old movie, as it is a film that still is every bit as strong and fun as when it was released back in the 80’s.

I give Lethal Weapon a 9 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Action Movies of the 80’s

The other day I was sharing comments with fellow blogger Hermione Flavia from Wildfiremovies . Now before I get into that, I first want to give a big shout out to her blog. If you love movies as much as I do, then one thing you should do is check out her blog and subscribe. She is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter, and her movie reviews are seriously topnotch. From classics movies, to action films and horrormovies, there is almost no end to the movies featured on her blog. Not only that, she is also one of the kindest persons you will ever talk to, so really what are you waiting for: press on the link provided above and subscribe.

Now we were talking about how lately we spent a lot of time in the past and feeling nostalgic, and how so many great action movies were made in the 80’s. This is pretty much how the idea for this post came about. Now I have focussed myself only on the non-science fiction action movies of that era. I might at sometime in the future do a follow up for those kind of films, but right now I am simply going to stick to the good old fashioned normal 80’s action flicks. So grab a seat, take a drink and some popcorn, and let us travel back in time to the wonderful 80’s.

Rambo: First Blood (1982)

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I have seriously lost count on how many times I have seen this briljant action film. Starring Sylvester Stallone as Vietnam veteran John Rambo, this movie is simple in it’s story telling, but incredibly effective. When John returns home to visit an old friend, the local sheriff thinks off him as a drifter, and tries to force him to leave town. It is not long before things escalate into violence, and the small town becomes a warzone. Stallone is absolutely amazing in his role, and the movie eventually spawned three sequels. The original movie is still the best though, featuring terrific action sequences, a dark atmosphere and the brilliant score of Jerry Goldsmith.

Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

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Beverly Hills Cop is one of the greatest action comedies ever made. Starring Eddie Murphy as the loudmouth cop Axel Foley, the numerous comedy scenes featured in this film, are even now still every bit as funny as back then. Axel is a cop in Detroit, but pursuing a murder case eventually ends up in Beverly Hills. Meeting two local cops, the three of them set out to find out the truth about the murder. Murphy steals the show in the leadrole, and could not have been cast any better. Featuring great action pieces mixed with perfectly timed comedy, this is also one of those movies that will never get old.

Missing in Action (1984)

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Now for every good movie, there usually also is a bad one. Missing in action is an action movie that is so bad, that it is actually good and fun to watch. Ofcourse cashing in on the succes of Rambo, this movie starred Chuck Norris in the role of James Braddock. Believing that there are still POW’s being held in a prisoner camp in Vietnam, Braddock returns to the jungle to try and free them. The movie is filled with cliches, bad acting and cheesy oneliners. But honestly that is what makes this B-movie so much fun to watch. Chuck would reprise his role two more times in the sequels that followed this one, and those are every bit as bad. Seriously, what is not to love about that?

Commando (1985)

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Now, not featuring any Schwarzenegger movies in this post would ofcourse be a big mistake. After the enormous succes of Conan and the Terminator, Arnold was definitely on a roll. In Commando he plays the role of John Matrix, a Black Ops Commando who is happily retired and now lives with his daughter (a very young Alyssa Milano). But when his daughter is kidnapped by criminals, John begins his personal war to bring his girl back safely. With an over the top bodycount, and such classic oneliners as ” Don’t disturb my friend, he is DEAD-tired” this is one of Arnold’s best. Yes, the action is completely crazy, and at times completely unrealistic, but man is this movie a lot of fun to watch.

Cobra (1986)

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Back in the 80’s Schwarzenegger and Stallone were not exactly the best of friends, and both tried to outdo each other with bringing out numerous films. Cobra is a brutal Stallone movie, where he plays the role of the tough as nails cop Marion Cobretti. In this film he has become the protector of a witness, who is being chased by a murderous cult in order to prevent her from testifying. Crime is a disease, and he is the cure was this movie’s tagline, so you pretty much know what to expect. Lots of shooting, chases and fight scenes, make this film a wonderful addition to Stallone’s already impressive action resumé.

Lethal Weapon (1987)

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This movie is one of my own personal favorites. This fantastic buddy cop movie, eventually resulted in three sequels which were every bit as fun as the original. Mel Gibson plays the role of the completely crazy cop Martin Riggs, who has to partner up with the close to retirement Roger Murtaugh played by Danny Glover. At first they hate each other’s guts, but eventually a close friendship develops, while they are on the hunt for a brutal gang of drug smugglers. With seriously fantastic action sequences combined with great humor, this movie is a roller coaster ride from start to finish. An absolute must see for every action junkie out there.

Bloodsport (1988)

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This movie pretty much introduced the world to the “Muscles from Brussels”, mister Jean Claude van Damme. This movie has a very simple storyline, where van Damme plays Frank Dux, a martial artist who has set off to compete in a lethal tournament in Hong Kong. The acting is terrible, but you take that for granted as the action choreagraphy for this film’s incredible fight sequences, is the reason why you need to watch this movie. Brutal martial arts fights, with deadly consequences result in a movie that is not for the faint of heart. One of Van Damme’s oldest, but also one of his best movies.

Above the Law (1988)

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In Above the Law another martial artist is introduced to the world, the man called Steven Seagal. Above the Law (also known as Nico), sees Seagal playing the role of a Vietnam veteran turned cop, that uncovers a sinister CIA conspiracy. Seagal is not known for his acting skills (I at times seriously wondered if this man had any facial expressions, no offense), but his martial arts skills were formidable. Sadly, these days Seagal is but a shadow of his former self, and plays mainly in (very bad) B-movies. Luckily we will always have his classic movies to look back on, and for an introductory film, this one was highly enjoyable.

Die Hard (1988)

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To not include this movie, would seriously be a sin. One of the best action movies ever made, it made Bruce Willis an action star overnight. In Die Hard he plays police officer John McClane, who accidentally is caught up in a hostage situation during a Christmas party in a huge skyscraper building called Nakatomi Plaza. His wife is amongst the hostages, and McClane take the fight single handedly to the terrorists. Not a good way to spend the holidays. This movie is simply put: brilliant. Great acting, wonderful oneliners, and very imaginative action sequences make this movie a must watch for any movie lover. The sequels that followed were also very enjoyable, except for part 5 which was absolute garbage.

Black Rain (1989)

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Black Rain is a movie that might not be known by everyone, but is definitely worth checking out. Directed by Ridley Scott (yes, that guy), it stars Michael Douglas in the role of New York City cop Nick Conlin. When he and his partner arrest a Yakuza member, they eventually end up in Japan. It is not long before they get caught up in the dark and criminal underworld of this unfamiliair country. Black Rain is a very dark but fantastic movie, and features a great storyline and incredible tension that is combined with spectacular action sequences. Michael Douglas pretty much never disappoints and also does a more than decent job in this movie.

Final Thoughts

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And that brings us to the end of this post, which I now realise has become my longest one to date. I know that this list is by no means complete. A lot of other great action movies were made back in the 80’s and maybe one day I will do a follow up to this post. I had a lot of fun writing this, and it was great to revisit a few of these classic films.

And now it is over to you guys and girls. Did any of your favorites make the list? Were any of them missing? Let me know in the comments section below. As always thank you very much for reading, and see you on the next post!

Special Features Presents: Childhood Cartoons

A few months ago I published a post about Childhood Movies (you can find it here). It featured a lot of my favorite movies from my own childhood, and that I really enjoyed back in those days (and to be perfectly honest, I still enjoy watching them). But one of the really great things of the 80’s were the fantastic cartoons. I remember getting up early on saturday morning, switching on the television, and just sitting back watching all of your favorite cartoons back to back. So I thought it would be nice to make a post that brings us back to those days, and feature some of my alltime favorite 80’s cartoons. Most of these are now available on dvd boxed sets, to relive your childhood. The thing that may surprise you the most when you rewatch these great cartoons, is the amount of stuff you still remember from certain episodes. Even though most of these are almost 30 years old now. So without further ado, here they are counting down to number one.

8. Gi-Joe

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Gi-Joe was my least favorite cartoon. The story about a special group of soldiers fighting against the evil forces of Cobra, was for me never as much fun as the other series on this list. It was a highly popular show though, and the toyline also made a lot of money. Still, I did watch the series, when nothing else was on, and kind of enjoyed it at times. It certainly featured some great characters, and a cool villain in the form of Cobra Commander.

7. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

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One of the cartoons that probably everyone who grew up in the 80’s remembers. From the powerful theme song, to the fantastic characters, this cartoon is a true gem. Taking place in a fantasy world called Eternia, the most powerful man in the universe has to protect the planet from the evil Skeletor. This series was incredibly popular, and even spawned a live action movie featuring Dolph Lundgren in the role of He-man.

6. She-ra Princess of Power

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Because of the success of He-man a spinoff series was made which featured his sister She-ra. And honestly I liked this series even better than He-man. Also taking place in a fantasy world, She-ra had a great nemesis in the form of Hordak, who actually was once the mentor of Skeletor. The series was a bit lighter than He-man, and featured some great humour as well. There were, ofcourse, also a lot of guest appearances by her brother He-man.

5. M.A.S.K.

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Mask was a truly terrific cartoon. Matt Tracker who always lead the mission and the hero of the show had assembled a team of men to fight against the evil organisation of Venom. Equipped with special masks that gave them all kinds of powers, and transformable vehicles, every episode was packed with action and featured some memorable characters and some great storylines. Unfortunately in the second season of the series, the storylines were gone, and instead it became a pretty weird series where the heroes had to race against Venom in order to win the day. Still, I have fond memories of this great cartoon, and I still enjoy watching it to this day.

4. Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors

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I think this series is one of the first truly great science fiction epics I have seen in my life. Even though most of the episodes could be watched on their own, it had a storyline that progressed throughout the series. The hero of the show Jayce, went in search for his missing father Audric together with his friends. Opposing them were terrible monsters that were mistakenly created by his father in an experiment that could have prevented starvation, called the Monster Minds. Led by the terrifying Saw Boss, the creatures stopped at nothing to prevent Jayce from finding his father. A very underrated and in my opinion still utterly fantastic cartoon.

3. Inhumanoids

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Now this was a very shortlived cartoon, which, when looking back on it today I still find very strange how this could ever have been found suitable for children. The series featured truly terrifying monsters that preyed on the human race. Opposing them were the Earth Corps and a few benovelent creatures. With a narrative that progressed from episode to episode, this was one of the more unusual cartoons from the 80’s. This series is still very enjoyable to watch, even though it has only a few episodes.

2. Transformers

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One of the most popular cartoon series of the 80’s it will always be one of my alltime favorites. The story about the two robotic races, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, is one of the few franchises that is even today still very well known. And ofcourse the toys that the series was based on are still incredible to look at, and are highly coveted by collectors. When the cartoon was cancelled in America, the show continued in Japan. Also known as the Takara series, it continued the storyline,and went in a very different (but no less enjoyable) direction. Transformers will always be a fun watch, and one of the true highlights from my childhood.

1. Robotech

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My number one series, and one I have been a fan of for more than 30 years now, is called Robotech. An Americanised version of three totally unrelated Japanese animeseries, it featured three generations of humans that had to deal with the threat of an alien race. With main characters dying, a storyline that was truly powerful (especially the first segment of the show: the Macross saga), it was a unique series. Robotech has a very strong and loyal fanbase, and that is the reason that Robotech still lives after all these years. This year will see the release of a new comic book series, and a live action movie is supposedly still in the works. If you have yet to see this magnificent series, try to track it down in any way you can. It is an awesome cartoon, especially if you like Mecha anime shows.

Final thoughts

And that brings us to the end of this post and this trip down memorylane. Now ofcourse this list is not complete. There are a lot of cartoons from the 80’s that I have not featured, such as Visionaries and Inspector Gadget to name a few. That is not to say that those were not fun to watch, but I did not find them good enough to include in my personal top 8 shows. These are the series that I enjoyed the most, and the rest just fell short.

So that brings me to you. What childhood cartoons did you watch? Are any of these included on the list above? Are there any others you might have enjoyed, or maybe you have never heard of a few that are included above. Let me know in the comments section. As always thank you for reading, see you on the next post!

 

 

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction, American/Chinese Movie (2014)

Growing up as a kid in the 80’s was a lot of fun. Especially with all the cool toys that were around back in those days. From Gi-Joe to He-man, every kid had a favorite toyline. For me it has always been the Transformers. There was just something incredibly cool in the way you could transform a truck into a robot. The basis for these toys were ofcourse the cartoons that aired on saturday mornings. I look back upon those days with fondness, and even today I still enjoy the franchise immensely. In 2007 the Transformers finally got made into a live action movie directed by Michael Bay. Reactions from the fans were mixed, but most were pretty negative saying the action director had absolutely no respect for the original source material. This year the fifth installment will see the light of day, again directed by Bay. I thought that was a good opportunity to revisit the fourth movie released in 2014.

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Transformers Age of Extinction is set five years after the events of the previous movie. It is a dark time for the Autobots as they are being hunted by the humans that they have been trying to protect all these years. A Black Ops government unit is in charge of these hunts, aided by a sinister robotic bounty hunter called Lockdown. Optimus Prime, badly wounded, has so far managed to escape the fate of his comrades and is in hiding. A mechanic called Cade Yeager comes across Optimus, and not knowing he is a Transformer, takes him home. Just when he is about to start repairs, Optimus reveals himself to Cade. Yeager convinces Optimus that he is a friend, and means him no harm. However, it is not soon until all hell breaks loose, when the Black Ops team arrives on the scene. Forced to flee, Cade and Optimus must try and survive, and find the remaining Autobots. There are worse things going on though as Prime’s oldest enemy might not be dead, and the survival of the entire human species hangs in the balance…..

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If you have seen the previous three Transformer movies you pretty much know what to expect in this one. A lot of explosions, slowmotion shots, carchases, in short a typical Bay movie. As said, a lot of Transformer fans hate what Michael has done with this beloved franchise. I pretty much see these movies as a reimagining of the cartoon series of old and have not had any problems with them. I like them for what they are, big blockbuster popcorn movies, with lots of cool special effect sequences, and nice action. Sure, storywise they leave a lot of things to be desired, but honestly that is not what you go and see these movies for anyway.

The biggest draw of this fourth one, was the appearance of the fan favorite Dinobots, and in that regard the movie did not disappoint. There was something seriously awesome in the way Optimus Prime charged into combat on the back of Grimlock. The bountyhunter Lockdown was one of the coolest robots of the entire movies series to date, and provided some great fight sequences. Actionwise there is again enough to enjoy, and in that regard Bay pretty much never lets you down. That said though, this movie is way too long. Running close to three hours, the movie should have had some things cut from it, which would have benefited it in the end. The cringeworthy humor from the previous films is somewhat toned down, but has unfortunately not disappeared completely. Acting wise Mark Wahlberg in his role of Cade Yeager does a decent enough job to provide a good character. Stanley Tucci, always a very good actor no matter what role he is cast in, also is a welcome addition to this movie.

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In the end this was, in my opinion, one of the weaker installments of the Transformers movie franchise. Don’t get me wrong, there is still enough to enjoy if you liked the previous parts. It is pretty much the length of the movie that for me caused me to like it less than the other three movies. Supposedly the fifth movie wil be the last part to be directed by Bay, but this is something that he has now said so many times, that it is hard to believe. I for one would not mind seeing another director take the helm, and see if more can be done with this franchise. At least more than meets the eye…..

I give Transformers: Age of Extinction a 7 out of 10 score.

Special Features Presents: Things to look forward to in 2017 (Tv series)

As much excitement as there is in the cinema next year, there is just as much to enjoy (if not even more so) on the small screen next year. If I am being totally honest there are times when I can enjoy watching a television series more than a movie. Don’t get me wrong, I am an absolute movie addict: that will never change. But the television series that are being made in this day and age are sometimes better than a movie. For one thing it can develop characters better (as there are more episodes to explore a character’s motives). And as it takes longer, you can enjoy something even more than a movie, especially if it is a series that does things right. And with the budgets on tv series being almost as big as there big budget counterparts, the scale of certain shows is at times just off the charts. So following are 5 shows that I am looking forward to the most  for next year.

Voice (Korean drama series)

Korean drama series are fantastic. Just as in anime, there are so many series that you can choose from, ranging from romance, to historical drama, to action, there is a show out there for everyone. Voice is a series that will be released early next year, and promises to deliver a really good thriller. So far only small teasers have been released, but they already show the tense and gritty atmosphere of the series. Voice will deal with two detectives on the hunt for a brutal serial killer. The lives of the families of an emergency call center team are being threatened by this killer, and so the countdown is on to find him before it’s too late. I really enjoy movies about serial killers, and this one looks like it might take on the likes of films such as Seven and Silence of the Lambs.

 

Attack on Titan: season 2

Do I really need to explain what there is to be excited about for this one? Attack on Titan has become a juggernaut in the world of Anime and it is just simply put an amazing and exciting series. Fans have been waiting for ages for the release of season 2, and finally we now have confirmation that we will be able to see it next year in april. I usually watch shows after they have completed a full season, but I already know that I will make an exception for this one. The wait has been long enough. All I can say is that no matter his much I looking forward to this one, there is always this slight sense of unease that it might not be as good as season 1. With so many time to prepare for it though, I hope the creators have done their best to create an even better experience this time around.

 

24: Legacy

Before the Walking Dead became my number 1 alltime favorite tv series, there was 24. The realtime television series featuring Kiefer Sutherland as the hero Jack Bauer, has been a rollercoaster ride throughout it’s 9 seasons. Part of what made the show so exciting was Jack Bauer, the seemingly immortal but also very tragic anti-hero, that will always remain my favorite television character. (Not even the Walking Dead will change that). Next year 24 returns, but this time without Jack Bauer. One really has to wonder about the wisdom of that decision. Still, having seen the trailer of the new series, I do have to admit it looks good, and there are also some very good actors involved. Therefore I will give it a chance and keeping my fingers crossed that 24 will be able to live on without Jack Bauer.

 

Stranger Things: Season 2

Stranger Things was for me personally the best television series of 2016. It was a love letter to everything that I enjoyed about the 80’s. The music, the characters, the storyline, everything in this Netflix original series was just simply put: perfect. It has been a huge succes and therefore it came as no surprise the series would get a second season. With a series that was this good, one really has to wonder if they are able to maintain that high level for the second season. Whatever the case might be, I really can’t wait for this series to return. When it does I am seriously going to bingewatch it in one day. So far the only trailer that has been released for it, has in a truly original way, given us all the episode names for the second season.

 

Prisonbreak: Sequel

Prisonbreak ended it’s run after four seasons in a very satisfying way, and with what I found to be a touching and fitting end. Some people thought that the show went on too long, and getting more unbelievable with every season that followed. I personally loved it, even it’s fourth and final season. When I heard about the fact that the series would not only return, but also would feature a character who everyone believed to be dead, I could not help but wonder: How and why? Whatever the case, after having seen the first trailer for the new season, I found myself getting excited for it regardless. Prisonbreak has always been a personal favorite of mine, so hopefully this short follow up will do it justice.

So there you have it. The shows that I am looking forward to the most for next year. Are any of these shows that appear here on your list? Are there any other things you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments section below. As always, thank you for reading!