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Nostalgia or truth: The 80s had the best action movies

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by The_J, Sep 15, 2020.

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Nostalgia or truth: The 80s had the best action movies

  1. Totally true, Arnold is the best

    61.1%
  2. Bah, nostalgia, and you have no movie taste

    27.8%
  3. Downtown is my biggest action hero

    11.1%
  1. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I recently watched Conan the Barbarian and Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Ark, and somehow.... today's action movies are different, or is that only my feeling because I grew up with them?

    And I looked back, and the 80s were the decade for action movies:
    Terminator, Rambo, Predator, Lethal Weapon, Mad Max, Indiana Jones, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop, Conan, Rocky, etc.
    And they created all the big action heroes:
    Schwarzenegger, Stalone, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Eddy Murphy, Jackie Chan, Chuck Norris, Jean Claude van Damme, Kurt Russel.

    And what came in the 90s?
    Mostly more of these. The 90s also had good action movies (Speed, Matrix, Blade, Mission Impossible), but many of the franchises started in the 80s continued in the 90s.
    And today, or in the last 20 years, what do we have? Besides Marvel? The Bourne series maybe, but anything else? EDIT: Fast & Furious, how could I have forgotten.

    I also have the feeling that the overall ... I don't know... feel (?) is different.
    Maybe simpler. The 80s action movies were simple, the characters were not too complicated, the story more straight forward. Maybe it's me, but it gives the movies a different feeling.

    Or maybe it's just nostalgia?
    Discuss!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
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  2. MaryKB

    MaryKB Goddess Queen Supporter

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    I mean, recent Marvel movies are pretty much the best action movies ever.

    Very few 80s action movies are even watchable.
     
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  3. Berzerker

    Berzerker Deity

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    its generational...like you said, you grew up on those movies. So did I more or less.
     
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  4. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    No you're probably right.

    John Wicks a modern one.

    The genres just not that popular anymore. Its like westerns I suppose. I like action movies but a lot of 80s ones haven't aged well although a few like Commando or Rambo I and II are fun.

    Overall 80s probably better than 90s for movies. In terms of variety and quality.

    Modern movies suck in that regard at least for big budget.
     
  5. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I tend to find action movies comical. I tried to watch the first Avengers once and spent about 2/3rds of the movie laughing uncontrollably. 80s action movies can be even funnier.
     
  6. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald 老仁森林

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    I think it's mostly nostalgia, and you're probably just kinda missing new action movies (I heard about John Wick first when the third one came out), but I do think there's something to modern computer effects being not great
     
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  7. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    You either get them or you don't.

    I think you can still make a good action movie, see John Wick.

    Demolition Man underated but it's from the 90s.
     
  8. tjs282

    tjs282 Socially distancing since 1975

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    I think one of the major factors might be that for much of the 80s, action-movie stunts were "limited" by what was physically possible to stage, as opposed to the infinite possibilities enabled by generating stuntwork on a computer.

    And every new actioner had to one-up the last big actioner, so the stunts just got more and more insane. But since the movie-producers and -directors had to make so certain that any given stunt was safe to perform, they took care to film it properly ('cos they might only get one take), and they also took care to ensure that the viewer actually got to see/feel what was happening.

    I love the MCU movies, but when Spidey swings from a skyscraper, there's no real dramatic tension, because I 'know' that it's all just CGI-pixels. Conversely, when John Spartan jumped out of a helicopter on a bungee-rope to arrest Simon Phoenix (OK, early 90s, but you know what I mean), somebody actually did that for real.

    The plots and scripts and 'characters' were of course just as ridiculous then as now, though.
     
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  9. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    CGI stunts often look bad.

    Black Panther and Civil war looked kinda bad as the CG characters kinda floated.
     
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  10. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    I used to think the '80s were indeed the "golden age" of the action movie, but I no longer think that. I even underestimated the 1990s for a while, but changed my mind when I actually looked. Still, the '80s were outstanding and you're right, there's definitely a "feel" to these different eras.

    The '80s: Obviously, I don't need to sell you on that decade. I could go on if you wanted me to, though.


    The '90s, in addition to all of the aforementioned: The Long Kiss Goodnight; The Mummy; Desperado; The Fifth Element; Enemy of the State; The 13th Warrior; The Crow; Con Air; The Rock; The Fugitive; Independence Day; John Carpenter's Vampires; Backdraft; True Lies; Twister; Men in Black; Starship Troopers; Hard Rain; The Mask of Zorro; Payback; True Romance.

    MVP of the '90s: Antonio Banderas or Keanu Reeves.

    One thing that happened in the '90s, for this American anyway, was a jump in foreign and non-English language action movies: El Mariachi; Hard Boiled; The Heroic Trio; and Le Femme Nikita were kick-starters for me. I went on a Hong Kong film festival binge in the '90s, and searched the city for video stores that carried foreign movies. Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh made the jump across the Pacific, but there are more where they came from. Jean Reno came over from France.

    I'll do the 2000s later.


    p.s. Practical effects and stuntpeople ftw. CGI mostly blows.
     
  11. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I thoroughly enjoy John Wick, but I wouldn't say it's the action sequences per se that make like it (though they are of course very well done), but rather the worldbuilding, the performances of some of the supporting characters and antagonists, and the cinematography.

    Hey, there's another cool thing about John Wick - I'm pretty sure Keanu Reeves himself performed just about all the stunts in that movie. I do tend to have a bias toward practical effects but CGI can still be cool too.
     
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  12. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    CGI often best used when it's understated. Eg Forrest Gump removing the actors legs via CGI.

    A really good action film has a bit if a story to it though or makes you think. Eg Demolition Man, John Wick.

    Nothing wrong with a bit if Commando in occasion it's a classic action movie but it's a what you see is what you get.

    1999 is also one if those years that might be in the best years ever for movies.
     
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  13. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    Yeah, I think the best action sequences would be a separate conversation from the best action movies. A movie with pedestrian action sequences could still be one of the best action movies if everything else is top-notch; and there are crummy movies that have great action scenes in them.
     
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  14. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    Favorite action movies of the 2000s: Blade II; Serenity; Hero; Hellboy; Kill Bill; The Dark Knight; Iron Man; Wanted; Taken; Brotherhood of the Wolf; Kiss of the Dragon; Spider-Man; Spider-Man 2; The Rundown; Pitch Black; the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

    Best 2000s action movie that wasn't about the action sequences: Man on Fire. The whole movie is in the first half, with Denzel Washington teaching Dakota Fanning how not to flinch when the starting gun goes off. If you didn't have that entire, largely action-less part of the movie, you wouldn't give a [toss] when she gets kidnapped and he summons his younger self to get her back. "Creasey is an artist, and he's about to paint his masterpiece."

    Most mediocre 2000s movie that's still totally awesome because of the amazing action sequences: District B13. I mean... *throws up hands* You just have to see it.
     
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  15. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    The 80s had different strictures on the ratings system than the 90s and later. You could make Temple Of Doom PG-13 in the 80s. You can't now. That difference has left a lasting impact on quality and actual action scenes. That's why we get so much shaky cam today.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2020
  16. r16

    r16 not deity

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    too many things happen at once , with too many things to keep track of . Am a lover and whatever of planes , ı can draw an X-Wing or a TlE , was amazed when all those fighters came at you over Endor . These days such things happen at every scene , like 2 minutes apart . With a gazillion things on everything ...
     
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  17. cardgame

    cardgame Obsessively Opposed to the Typical

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    Absolute disagreement

    Absolute agreement :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
  18. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    I agree, but the star here is Sylvester Stallone, so it counts as 80s ;).

    Sir, you just lost all credibility.

    Okay, the list of the 90s and 2000 is quite okay, there are good movies in there.
    But they don't compare well to the 80s. The 80s sparked memorable series and franchises, which the 90s and 2000s did considerably less.
    And feeling-wise, something like Iron Man or the 13th Warrior (which I think are both great movies) is just not the same as a big hunk of a man with a big gun.
    I don't know, I think right now it's pretty much only my feeling :lol:.
     
  19. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    Blade 1 and 2 were decent enough. Better than a few of the MCU.

    Just watch Aquaman. I enjoyed it quite a bit one of the better superhero movies I've seen lately.

    Only watched the MCU on Disney+ not so long ago. A few good ones but a bit meh overall.
     
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  20. EgonSpengler

    EgonSpengler Deity

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    Hey, you don't need to sell me on the '80s. I think Aliens is probably still my favorite action movie, and there's nothing objective about it. Just a feeling, as you say, and because I was right in that movie's bulls-eye when it came out. I do wonder how that movie holds up to a first viewing today, especially for someone who's seen some of the recent movies that have Alien DNA. The Descent; the recent Invisible Man; A Quiet Place; Captain Marvel a bit. I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

    No judgment here.
     
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