Maria Conchita Alonso had a solid run of action films in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Maria Conchita Alonso first received success as a singer before moving into acting, where she had roles in telenovela Natalia de 8 a 9 and American series like Fantasy Island and Knight Rider. She made her American movie debut alongside Robin Willaims in 1984's Moscow On The Hudson. More movies followed, including sleazy thriller Fear City from director Abel Ferrara and romantic comedy Touch And Go.
Her string of action films began in earnest with 1987's Extreme Prejudice from Walter Hill. This modern Western reunited Hill with his 48 Hours star Nick Nolte, who plays a Texas Ranger taking down a major drug kingpin (Powers Boothe) - who also happens to be his best friend. Maria Conchita Alonso plays Nolte's girlfriend, who is also an ex of Boothe's kingpin, leading to a love triangle. While the film features some of Hill's best setpieces - including a finale that's an obvious nod to The Wild Bunch -sadly Alonso is given little to do when it comes to the action, outside of being rescued by Nolte.
That same year she had a leading role in The Running Man opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. The movie is loosely based on a Stephen King novel and revolves around Arnie's framed soldier being forced to take part in a reality show where convicts must fight against themed killers. Alonso plays the woman who gets him recaptured by the authorities, but when she starts to investigate his claims of innocence, she's captured and thrown into the game too. Alonso brings a fun comic touch to the character, and unlike Extreme Prejudice, she gets to fight back and takes down one of the gladiators by herself.
Maria Conchita Alonso later joined the cast of Predator 2 as Leona, a member of Harrigan's (Danny Glover) elite team of L.A. detectives. While this Predator sequel isn't as fondly regarded as the first movie, it still contained some taut action and expanded on the mythology of the title alien in intriguing ways. Alonso is also great as Leona and is more than convincing as a cop who has to weather the hellish L.A. depicted in the film.
Maria Conchita Alonso's unofficial action quadrilogy came to an end with 1991's utterly bizarre McBain. Christopher Walken plays the title role, a tough soldier who puts his old squad back together to seek revenge on the dictator who killed his friend. Alonso plays the sister of his late friend, and they work together alongside the likes of Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers) and the late Steve James in a movie with a spectacularly high bodycount. Sadly, it's something of a sloppy mess, with poorly staged action. Simpsons' fans may remember the show's OTT parody of 1980s action films was also named McBain, and the release of this film caused the show to stop using that title.
While McBain was a disappointing end to Maria Conchita Alonso's action run, she showed her versatility in each one, and they all make for fun, Friday night viewing.