The 80s were filled with lots of great movies, countless regrettable movies, and some that were only good because they were littered with unintentional comedy. Here are five absolutely horrible 80s movies that I truly love and watch any time they come on TNT or TBS.
This is easily one of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s best martial arts movies. He stars as Frank Dux, a martial arts expert trained by a Japanese sensei. Dux travels to Hong Kong to fight in a winner take all tournament called the Kumite. Bloodsport includes all Van Damme movie staples like horrible accents, men doing the splits, bromance, odd yelling, and a sordid, forced love story. And just like any other Van Damme fighting movie, it’s impossible to look away because the martial arts are entertaining. Obviously everything is over the top, but that was the intention.
Fred Savage stars with a bunch of no names in a movie that’s basically a one and a half hour infomercial for Nintendo. Savage’s little brother, Jimmy, has a mental illness (probably autism) and doesn’t really say anything in the movie. He is, however, very skilled at playing video games. Savage, Jimmy, and some girl they bump into travel to Las Vegas (I think) to enter a $50,000 video game tournament. The movie has every played 80s cliché in the book, but the nostalgia of playing Nintendo games as a youth allows it to keep a soft spot in my heart.
A police officer gets hurt badly, and has to be constructed into a cyborg in order to save his life. Robocop can analyze things like a computer, but still has a little bit of the personality of the human being. Other than Robocop throwing a bunch of people through glass windows, I don’t remember too many details from the first movie (because it wasn’t very good at all), but I do remember something distinct from the sequel. Robocop has to fight a much larger and stronger cyborg at the end, but this particular creation is dependent on this synthetic cocaine like substance, because the human was a huge addict. I couldn’t believe the writers actually thought it was a good idea to have a robot that was a crack head. Who green lighted this?
Prince stars as himself in a story of love, betrayal, loyalty, and self discovery. The acting was putrid, but all the stars were exonerated because much of the movie consisted of “live” performances by Prince’s band and Morris Day and the Time. Purple Rain the movie is generally considered an afterthought to the album of the same name. The incredible movie soundtrack produced two #1 hits (Let’s Go Crazy and When Doves Cry) and a #2 hit in Purple Rain.
The Running Man
The 1980s version of The Hunger Games. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the role of a former military pilot convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. The film is based in a dark future where criminals have the option of appearing in a gladiator style game show where they have to fight for their lives. These game shows are tremendously popular amongst the masses, and of course everything is rigged just like in The Hunger Games. Schwarzenegger of course fights his way through a host of badly costumed baddies, making dreadful one-liners the entire movie. Of course the action is great (for back then), and the depiction of a dystopian society is always intriguing.