Good Action Movies 1989

Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 9:43 pm

Good action movies 1989 run the gamut from buddy cop films to trailer park classics. Genre legends like Jean-Claude Van Damme and Steven Seagal are present, and actors such as Michael Douglas and Don Johnson also try their hand at being pistol-wielding tough guys. While about half the films on this list have been largely forgotten, fans of stuff blowing up may want to give them a look.

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Road House – The late Patrick Swayze plays Dalton, the best cooler in the business. When he takes a job to clean up the Double Deuce, he runs afoul of the local rich white guy, which can spell nothing but trouble. Sam Elliott is outstanding as his grizzled mentor, and Kelly Lynch plays Hollywood’s version of a female doctor (translation = brainy but smoking’ hot). Lots of memorable lines, martial arts showdowns, and music from The Jeff Healey Band.

Kickboxer – Jean-Claude Van Damme plays Kurt Sloane, the younger brother of a champion kickboxer from America. When they take on Thai champion Tong Po (Michel Qissi), Kurt’s brother is left paralyzed from the waist down. You know what that means: time to master kickboxing, do some splits, and go looking for revenge–Van Damme style.

Hard to Kill – Mason Storm (Steven Seagal) is an honest cop who catches a corrupt politician (William Sadler) making a deal with the mob. But before he can expose the plot, a hit squad kills his wife and leaves Storm in a coma. Waking up years later, Storm is devoted to breaking bones, reuniting with his son., and making sweet love to the nurse who helps him recover (ex-wife Kelly LeBrock).

License to Kill – The 16th film in the James Bond franchise and also the last one to feature Timothy Dalton in the role of 007. When a drug lord (Robert Davi) maims pal Felix Leiter and kills his new bride, Bond decides to get payback no matter what the costs. On the run from MI6 and with his license to kill revoked, Bond must fight a one-man war against the South American cartel. Talisa Soto and Carey Lowell stars as the “Bond girls.”

Black Rain – Directed by Ridley Scott, Black Rain is one of the good action movies of 1989, even though hardly anyone remembers it. Two cops (Michael Douglas and Andy Garcia) arrest a member of the Yakuza and escort him back to Japan, but he promptly escapes their custody. Mocked as incompetent by the local Japanese police, the two Americans break plenty of rules and customs in order to recapture their prisoner and put a hurtin’ on the criminal underworld. Fans of the Lone Wolf and Cub films should keep an eye out for the late Tomisaburo Wakayama in a rare Western film role.

Lethal Weapon 2 – Riggs (Mel Gibon) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are back in this sequel to the popular buddy cop film. This time around, they track a cache of stolen gold coins to the South African consulate and learn all about “diplomatic immunity.” Riggs romances a doomed secretary (Patsy Kinsit), and Joe Pesci makes his first appearance in the franchise as Leo Getz (as in, “whatever you want, Leo gets”).

Cyborg – I have no idea why all the characters in this Albert Pyun movie are named after guitars, but they are. Van Damme is Gibson Rickenbacker, a gritty mercenary who lends his services to a cyborg named Pearl Prophet (Dayle Haddon) who’s trying to reach scientists in Atlanta. They’re pursued by Fender Tremolo (Vincent Klyn), a marauder with freaky eyes, a vicious streak a mile wide, and a gang of killers known as The Pirates. Tremolo knows Pearl has information that could lead to a cure for the world-devastating plague, and he wants it all for himself. What follows is plenty of fighting, Van Damme getting crucified (temporarily), and several more characters named after musical instruments.

Dead Bang – This was supposed to be the film that propelled Don Johnson into the movies after his run on Miami Vice, but the box office results were less than impressive. It’s not a bad movie, though, especially considering that the cast includes Tim Reid, William Forsythe, Penelope Ann Miller, Tate Donovan, Bob Balaban and Michael Jeter. Johnson plays an alcoholic homicide detective assigned to investigate the shooting death of a cop. As he relentlessly looks for answers, he’s forced to team with a by-the-book FBI agent (Forsythe) as the case begins to uncover connections to a Neo-Nazi group. It’s not often that a protagonist’s first scene shows him puking all over a suspect, but that’s just the way that Sonny Crockett rolls.

Blind Fury – Based on the popular Japanese character, Zatoichi, Nick Parker (Rutger Hauer) is a blind ex-soldier who lost his sight in Vietnam. But despite his lack of vision, Parker is a master with a sword, having received special instruction from a helpful group of Asian villagers (that’ll work every time). When he goes to visit an old friend, he arrives just in time for all hell to break loose, and Parker must flee with his friend’s son. Noble Willingham and Randall “Tex” Cobb portray the baddies, and the final showdown involves Sho Kosugi, a legend when talking about ninja movies from the 1980s.

Red Scorpion – Dolph Lundgren plays a hulking member of the Soviet Special Forces who’s fighting anti-communist rebels in an African nation. But when he’s imprisoned by his commanding officer and later talks to an American journalist, he realizes the error of his ways and becomes a smiling lover of democracy. The politics behind the film make it seem particularly dated, but Lundgren could still kick ass with the best of them.

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