Big sweaty men! Big noisy guns! Dozens of people getting beaten and slaughtered–per scene! Entire cities razed to the ground! Liberal wimps beware as simple handguns become judge, jury and executioner!
And the only repercussion is that the Stupid Chief takes your badge and gun for the weekend…
Welcome to the wonderful, white bread world of 80s Action. The brain trust here at Ruthless spent some time figuring out just what exactly made a shoot ’em up flick in the 80s so much better than the identical film shot in some other decade. That task took all of about five minutes. Firstly, action films from the 80’s are all exceedingly homoerotic. It is an essential part of the given movie’s aesthetic. Sure, Steve Reeves took his shirt off in The Thief of Baghdad, but he spent most of his time chasing after the princess, not touching other men. Of course all of the heroes in 80s Action flicks talk like tough guys, but there is rarely any hetero-sex and by the end of the movie they are typically locked in mortal, lascivious combat with another muscular, shirtless man.
Furthermore, the heroes of these great films are men who in real life could actually beat the living fuck out of you. Say what you will about his political abilities [Ed Note: Vote Larry Flynt], but back in 1983, Arnold Schwarzenegger could have ripped the arms off your body. Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Charles Bronson, Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude van Damme or Clint Eastwood, back about eighteen years, were all actually muscle-bound, tough-as-nails uber-mensches. You would not have wanted to run into any of them while lurking in a dark alley. Especially if you’re a commie-nazi, drug-dealing terrorist leftist cop who’s soft on crime and likes kidnapping/molesting under-aged white girls in said alleys. These days, more often than not, all you get are androgynous pencil-dicks like Jared Leto playing the heavies. Put more succinctly, if me and Leto met in a darkened alley, I’d be the one bending him over. And Will Smith is exactly as intimidating as Milhouse Van Houten. Action stars of today are pussies. Action stars of two decades ago shot .44 bullets out of their cocks. Honestly, if me and Charles Bronson were in the same room I’d kill myself just to make sure he didn’t hurt me.
Finally, 80s Action films have a definite right-wing slant to them. Similar to Triumph of the Will. Sure, no one wanted to see sex on screen while Reagan was in office, but more than half of the films we’re going to discuss derived their plots from Willie Horton commercials. Whether it is Rocky Balboa single-handedly bringing down the Iron Curtain while draped in Old Glory or Charles Bronson intricately dissecting the fallacies of liberalism with a .357 Magnum or Schwarzenegger waltzing around half-nude with more guns than the Branch Davidians, people who enjoy circle jerking to Norman Rockwell prints simply love action films of the 80’s. We know we do. Enjoy!
The Ruthless Guide To 80s Action is a living document and will be updated every so often. We’re thinking 50 100 is a nice round number, so we’ll probably stop there. Here is what we currently have: