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Action Movies From the ’80s That Need a Sequel

The 1980s saw some of the best, most inventive action movies ever made. Films like Predator, Rambo, and Die Hard, have all managed to engrain themselves into popular culture, with each following generation going out of their way to watch these pinnacles of the action genre. One of the factors which is most responsible for their continued relevance in popular culture is the sequels and the franchises that were born from them. Rambo: First Blood spawned four more sequels; the latest (and possibly final) came out in 2019.

Updated July 3, 2023: If you’re a fan of epic action movies of the 1980s, you’ll be happy to know that this list has been updated with additional content and films which should be given the sequel treatment.

Top Gun received its first sequel in 2022, with the box office-smashing premiere of Top Gun: Maverick. Recently Indiana Jones, an icon of cinema in the 1980s, has recently returned with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Series like Die Hard, Predator, and Terminator have endured in popularity thanks to their sequels. Other films weren’t so lucky, with some iconic stories not receiving a sequel at all. Here are some ’80s action movies that deserve a sequel.

Nighthawks (1981)

Universal Pictures 

Action icon Sylvester Stallone delivered an underrated but highly-impressive performance as a New York City Sergeant caught up in a deadly cat-and-mouse game in the Nighthawks. The film follows Stallone’s fearless character Deke DaSilva as he teams up with fellow lawman, Matthew Fox (Billy Dee Williams) to take down a sadistic terrorist.

Related: 10 Biggest Action Movie Stars of the ’80s and ’90s

With a hearty blend of thrills, exhilarating action, and camaraderie between Stallone and Williams, a sequel reuniting the two would be perfect and could explore their dynamic and capabilities in their later years. In 2020, Stallone announced that a remake streaming series for Nighthawks was in the works at Peacock instead of a sequel, though details surrounding the project have been kept under wraps.

Midnight Run (1988)
Midnight RunA scene from Midnight Run Universal Pictures

Another ’80s action film that does actually have a sequel in the works (with star Robert De Niro set to return alongside Regina Hall), Midnight Run is an action-packed buddy comedy starring De Niro and the great Charles Grodin. After an infamous ex-Mafia accountant breaks free from jail, bounty hunter Jack Walsh (De Niro) is sent on the hunt to find him. A variety of obstacles and heartbreaking backstories stand in the way of Walsh’s trip. The film was a classic, and with new technology now, a sequel to the bounty-hunting Midnight Run could work in this day and age, which is in desperate need of actually good buddy cop comedies.

Silverado (1985)
Silverado Columbia Pictures

One of the best action Western films of the ’80s, when the genre was fading fast, Silverado follows a group of four cowboys who arrive at the fictional town of Silverado, only to discover it is in the clutches of an evil sheriff. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, Silverado contains fantastic set pieces and scenes (like a wild shootout at Stampede), a plethora of gunfights, and absolutely top-notch cinematography. A sequel for Silverado should be in order, and could potentially work to revive the Western genre for modern audiences.

They Live (1988)
They Live 1988 Universal Pictures

In what has been considered to be an underrated gem from legendary filmmaker John Carpenter, They Live would be an ideal candidate for a sequel more than 35 years after it was originally released in theaters. Starring legendary 1980s pro wrestling stalwart “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, a mysterious drifter stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses that somehow reveals to him an alien invasion that has subliminally been forcing humanity into a commercialized status quo.

They Live is considered by some to be the quintessential campy 1980s action-horror film. With audiences being drawn towards a resurgence of 1980s media and the concepts of over-commercialization still prevalent in modern society, a sequel/revival of They Live would very likely have more mainstream success than the original had with general film-goers. And there are plenty of former professional wrestlers who have successful shift into acting that would thrive in the leading role to boot.

The Last Starfighter (1984)
The Last Starfighter Universal Pictures

One of the films on the list that is rumored to be getting a sequel (from screenwriter Gary Whitta), Nick Castle’s The Last Starfighter stars Alex Rogan as a simple teen who lives in a trailer park. He gets suddenly swooped into an intergalactic conflict after he gets the high score on the arcade game Starfighter, which is revealed to be a testing ground for new soldiers. One of the better science fiction action films of the ’80s, The Last Starfighter has been almost forgotten by modern audiences, setting it up to be an ideal candidate for a sequel, especially now in an unprecedented era for great sci-fi films.

Commando (1985)
Schwarzenegger Commando 1985 Silver 20th Century Fox

Arnold Schwarzenegger was right in his action element when he portrayed a retired US Army Colonel on a mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter in the smash hit Commando, which highlights the actor’s absurd physical prowess as he moves mountains to rescue his beloved daughter (Alyssa Milano). With exciting over-the-top action sequences, entertaining humor, and explosive combat scenes, Commando was a knockout with moviegoers and further cemented Schwarzenegger’s status as a bona fide silver screen hero.

Related: These Are the Best Arnold Schwarzenegger Movies, Ranked

A prequel for the blockbuster hit was reportedly in the works, according to co-star Vernon Wells, depicting the origins of Schwarzenegger’s John Matrix. This was never greenlit, though fans would love to revisit the tough-as-nails Matrix in a big-screen extravaganza. With Schwarzenegger returning to acting and starring in the hit television series Fubar, now is the perfect time for him to return to Commando.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
The cast of Big Trouble in Little China 20th Century Fox

Master of horror John Carpenter took a different direction with Big Trouble in Little China, starring a young Kurt Russell. The bonkers film follows the story of Wang Chi and Jack Burton as they go on an adventure to rescue Chi’s fiancé, Miao Yin, who was kidnapped by Chinese gangsters at the airport.

A mix of comedy, action, martial arts (kung fu, specifically), and a bit of fantasy (the main villain is a magical sorcerer), Big Trouble in Little China was probably too weird for audiences at the time and failed at the box office. Over the years, however, it has become a cult classic, and a sequel could be built off of its current reputation. Carpenter and Eric Powell actually wrote a novelized sequel, so there’s even source material to draw from.

RoboCop (1987)
Robocop Orion Pictures

RoboCop is a project that feels like a film distinctly made in and for the 1980s. It’s a film that adeptly balanced larger-than-life thematic pathos about the meaning of humanity while being host to an admittedly absurd premise for a popcorn action flick. It follows Peter Weller’s Alex Murphy, as a murdered police officer who is subsequently revived by major conglomerate Omni Consumer Products to be the inaugural “RoboCop” and serve as a protector of the law while being a husk of his former self. The Paul Verhoeven-directed movie is considered by many to be one of the best action movies of all time and has served as a major influence on the science fiction genre and its filmmakers.

The classic film has been host to numerous sequels that have skewed more towards a family-friendly audience, which has been met with varying degrees of success. However, a direct sequel to the original film that returns the narrative to an allegory of government greed corrupting humanity could help RoboCop find the same types of success Top Gun: Maverick had as a late-stage direct sequel. At the time of writing, there is a reboot for the franchise in development at Amazon Prime Video.

Escape from New York (1981)
Kurt Russell in Escape from New York AVCO Embassy Pictures

With another example from the iconic John Carpenter, Escape from New York is another 1980s action film that would likely thrive with a modern made sequel (even with it technically being the third in a trilogy). The movie is set in a dystopian, prison-state version of Manhattan as Kurt Russell’s Snake Plissken must rescue a kidnapped President of the United States.

There definitely would be interest in seeing how a modern-made take on the cult classic would visually and narratively work. And Russell reprising his legendary role would be a worthwhile experience, especially after seeing Harrison Ford just now reprise one of his classic 1980s film roles with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Fans of this classic saga should have something to look forward to as a “requel” of sorts is in development by the filmmaking team Radio Silence (who have had success in reviving the Scream franchise for a modern age).

The Killer (1989)
The Killer Golden Princess Film Production 

Widely regarded as one of the greatest action films ever made, John Woo’s influential masterpiece The Killer stars Chow Yun-fat as lethal assassin Ah Jong, who after a deadly shootout with a group of gangsters, accidentally damages a gifted young nightclub singer’s sight. After falling for the woman and watching over her, Jong decides to take on one final job to come up with the crucial funds needed for an operation to save her remaining vision.

While a sequel couldn’t include Yun-fat reprising his role (as he went out in a spectacular blaze of glory), a follow-up could focus on Jong’s foe-turned-admirer detective Li Ying or go in a new direction altogether. The Killer went on to have a massive influence on popular directors like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, and a remake is currently in the works at Peacock with Woo returning to direct.

Runaway (1984)
Runaway Tri-Star Pictures

Though it could be argued that another Micheal Crichton story deserves a sequel more (Westworld), Runaway gets the edge here as it does not have its own (sadly canceled) television show. Starring Tom Selleck, Runaway follows Jack Ramsay, a police officer who is hunting down murderous robots. The maker of these robots, Dr. Luther (played by legendary KISS member Gene Simmons, for some reason), uses these robots to eliminate his competition, and retrieve stolen templates from his former lover, Jackie Rogers.

The film bombed at the box office, ruining any chance for a sequel to the flick. A fantastic and wonky blend of science-fiction and action (from the fantastic mind of Micheal Crichton), Runaway is an underrated film that could succeed if given the opportunity of a sequel, especially with today’s immense love for science-fiction films.

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‘I am officially off the market’: When Margot Robbie revealed she made the ‘conscious’ decision of not dating actors

Margot Robbie revealed her decision to not date actors because of the media scrutiny that came with a public relationship of two high-profile actors
Back in 2015, A-lister Margot Robbie made a declaration that she would not be dating any actors. The actress may have alluded to her fiance Tom Ackerley, who she married the following year in 2016. In an exclusive interview with Marie Claire, she revealed that being in a relationship as an actor herself came with its own set of challenges. She believed that dating someone who was popular would add on to the media scrutiny.

Margot Robbie opened up on why she made a conscious decision to not date actorsTalking to Marie Claire, she claimed, “I am officially off the market.” She then shared the reasoning behind her decision and added, “I made a conscious decision not to date actors.” She continued to explain, “But not because I hate actors. That’s a nasty generalization to make, and that’s not the case. People take such an interest in your love life when you have a profile, it puts a lot of stress on a relationship.”
The Barbie actress continued, “So two people with profiles, I figure it’s just double the amount of scrutiny, and I’d like to avoid that at all costs.” This came after reports of her locking lips with Tarzan co-star Alexander Skarsgard started making rounds. It was reported that she was caught kissing the actor during the Sundance Film Festival.

Margot Robbie revealed she opted for a minimal lifestyle even after becoming an actorIn the interview, Robbie also opened up about how she was adapting to fame. She shared, “I have a normal 24-year-old life. If I were a waitress, I’d probably have the exact same lifestyle. I’d go to the same clubs I go to already, live in the same house with the same housemates, hang out with the same people.”
However, Margot Robbie tied the knot with Tom Ackerley who is an English producer and actor. The duo met on the sets of 2013 movie Suite Francaise where Tom was working as an assistant director. Post marriage, both of them launched their production company LuckyChap Entertainment.

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Monica Bellucci and Tin Burton at lunch in the restaurant in Selci Lama

For All Saints’ Day, the Hollywood star from Tiferno returned to his native Umbria to enjoy a moment of relaxation and then visit his parentsOn the occasion of the All Saints’ Day celebrations, the Hollywood star of Tiferno origin, Monica Bellucci, returned to her native Umbria to enjoy a moment of relaxation and to visit her father Pasquale and her mother Brunella.Flanked by her current partner Tim Burton, she went to lunch, together with about twenty old friends, at the Osteria del Musicista, which has always been her favorite restaurant, in Selci Lama.Menu dedicated to typical dishes of the area, which includes an appetizer with breadsticks lined with coppa, duck in porchetta and grilled pork livers, polenta with wild boar sauce accompanied by the very typical cappelletti in broth.To conclude, a dessert based on fried “ciaccia” with Nutella and roasted chestnuts.
Having paid the bill and greeted the restaurant owner and lifelong friend, Roberto Polchi, Monica brought home cappelletti and broth for a family dinner.

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‘Rocky’ Was Quite Different In His Original Screenplay, Sylvester Stallone Claims

Sylvester Stallone took his friend’s advice on a rewrite of the original screenplay to Rocky. A few tweaks later, he was on his way to major success.
In the new Netflix documentary Sly, Stallone discussed how he initially conceived of the project, which had a much harder edge. In the early version, Rocky was depicted as a “thuggish” character, inspired by Martin Scorsese’s crime drama, Mean Streets.

But Stallone’s perspective changed when a friend read the script and thought the boxer was too cruel for audiences to actually care about him.
Stallone recalled her crying.

“She goes, ‘I hate Rocky. I hate him. He’s cruel. He hits people. He beats them up.’”
Stallone took it to heart, and asked what he could do to soften the character.

“I said, ‘what if you stop short of it?’ Like, maybe he almost did. He could have, that’s his job, but he doesn’t?’ ‘That’d be nice,’” he added. “I said, ‘What if he had a girlfriend or something?’ ‘Yeah, that’s nice.’ So I go back, start writing that: ‘Girlfriend. Nice.’”
$117 million in box office later, a franchise was born.

Stallone also revealed that actor Dolph Lundgren sent him to the hospital during one fight scene in Rocky IV.
“Dolph Lundgren… he pulverized me,” Stallone says in the documentary. “Later that night, my heart started to swell—which happens when the heart hits the chest—and then my blood pressure went up to 260, and they thought I was going to be talking to angels. Next thing I know, I’m in intensive care, where I’m surrounded by nuns, and I thought, ‘OK, that’s curtains.’”
Stallone was in the hospital for nine days following the incident, praying for “one more round.”
“For the first minute of the fight, it is going to be a free-for-all,” Stallone told Lundgren. The Swedish actor joked in a separate interview that all he did was “obey orders,” explaining, “[Stallone] was the boss. I did what he told me.”
Doctors allegedly told Stallone that he received a blow to the ribs that made his heart rattle around in his ribcage, a condition typically seen in head-on collisions. “I did hit a bus, of sorts,” Stallone joked.

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