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10 Action Movie Masterpieces From The 80s You've Probably Never Seen

Glorious action blockbusters predate John Wick and the MCU by decades. Here are ten often overlooked action movie masterpieces from the 1980s!

Action and adventure movies are the reason why action figures are a delight both for kids and many parents. But while it is a common belief that great action movies worthy of their own toys are only being made now, it is actually not the entire truth.

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In fact, there are many old action movies that are just as fun to watch as the modern remakes and reboots we are constantly seeing. Here are 10 Action Movie Masterpieces From The '80s You've Probably Never Seen.

10 Near Dark (1987)

Near Dark is a 1987 neo-western horror movie packed with crime and drama that developed a cult following over the years. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow (known for Point Break, Strange Days, and The Hurt Locker), the movie stars Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and others.

In a small midwestern town, Caleb Colton, a farmer's son, gets bitten by a beautiful young drifter. He then joins a family of traveling American vampires in order to survive and get adjusted to his new lifestyle.

9 Bloodsport (1988)

Bloodsport is a 1988 martial arts movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and directed by Newt Arnold. With time, Bloodsport became a cult film, and it was one of Van Damme's first starring roles that allowed him to display his athletic abilities.

The story follows Frank Dux who is an American martial artist serving in the military. Frank decides to leave the army so he can compete in a martial arts tournament in Hong Kong where fights can sometimes lead to the death of participants.

8 They Live (1988)

Directed by the master of sci-fi and horror films John Carpenter, They Live is a 1989 science-fiction action thriller based on a short story by Ray Nelson titled Eight O'Clock in the Morning. The movie was underappreciated during its time, but has since become a cult film and entered the pop culture.

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An unnamed drifter played by Roddy Piper comes across a pair of sunglasses that allow him to open his eyes. It appears that the ruling class is actually aliens who are hiding their appearance to rule over humans, make them breed, and accept the status quo.

7 Tango & Cash (1989)

This buddy cop action comedy is perhaps more well-known than other movies on this list. Starring Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell as the titular characters, Tango & Cash was one of the last movies released in the 1980s.

Two LAPD narcotics detectives Raymond Tango and Gabriel Cash are framed by their arch-nemesis for murder. This forces the two to work together and put aside their differences in order to collaborate and catch their foe once and for all.

6 Kickboxer (1989)

Kickboxer is another movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme in the lead role. It was the beginning of the Kickboxer franchise, but Van Damme only appeared in this first installment and opted out of the future movies due to his participation in other projects.

Kurt Sloane, the younger brother of the United States kickboxing world champion Eric Sloane, sets out to learn the ancient kickboxing art of Muay Thai in order to avenge his brother.

5 The Running Man (1987)

The Running Man is a dystopian sci-fi action thriller loosely based on a Stephen King novel of the same name. The funny thing is that a lawsuit later found that The Running Man movie was guilty of plagiarizing a 1983 french film called Le prix du danger.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Benjamin Richards, a wrongly-convicted man who has to survive his public execution. The story is set sometime between 2017 and 2019 in the United States where a television show "The Running Man" makes convicted criminal "runners" try to escape professional killers in a game.

4 Cobra (1986)

Directed by George P. Cosmatos, Cobra stars Sylvester Stallone in the title role (Stallone also wrote the screenplay). Despite being heavily criticized by critics, the movie was a box office success and later achieved the status of a cult film.

Lieutenant Marion Cobretti, played by Stallone, is a tough-on-crime street cop forced to protect the only surviving witness to a weird and mysterious murder cult that has big plans for its future.

3 Willow (1988)

Willow combines a variety of elements that ultimately contribute to its greatness. Directed by Ron Howard, the movie was produced by George Lucas and based on a story he wrote. It was even nominated for two Academy Awards.

Willow Ufgood, played by Warwick Davis, is a reluctant dwarf farmer who is forced to become the hero of the story and protect a special baby from the tyrannical queen who wants to take over the fantasy world.

2 Highlander (1986)

Directed by Russell Mulcahy, Highlander is a fantasy adventure movie based on a story by Gregory Widen. The cast includes Christopher Lambert, Sean Connery, Clancy Brown, Roxanne Hart, and others. While the initial reaction was mixed and the film struggled at the box office, Highlander nevertheless went on to become a cult classic.

The story follows Connor MacLeod, an immortal swordsman from the Scottish Highlands who is known as the Highlander. He has to face his greatest enemy, The Kurgan, who wants to kill MacLeod and get the fabled "Prize," an ability given to the last living immortal warrior that will grant him the knowledge to help him enslave the entire human race.

1 Big Trouble In Little China (1986)

Big Trouble in Little China is a 1986 fantasy martial arts comedy movie directed by John Carpenter. The cast includes Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall, Dennis Dun, and James Hong. The film's poor critical reception led Carpenter to turn back to independent filmmaking, but the film has since become a cult classic nonetheless.

Jack Burton is a rough-and-tumble trucker who has to help his friend Wang Chi to rescue his fiancee from the bandits living in San Francisco's Chinatown. Underneath the city lives the ancient sorcerer David Lo Pan who wants to marry the woman to get rid of his curse.

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