80's Movie Grab Bag

Due to storm damage around my parent's place I'm gonna have to leave everyone with just one item for the day. However I think you'll like this if you either grew up in the 80's, or happen to like films from the era.

Today we're going to look at three movies;
The Running Man, Steel Dawn, and War Games

All three of these movies are twenty five to thirty years old. They've been reviewed by lots of people. Still, it's been a long time since I've sat down properly to watch any of them and really wouldn't have had a second thought of any of them if it wasn't for the magic of streaming video. So while it's all fresh in my head let's have a peek.

The Running Man

You know this was based off of a short story by Stephen King? By 'based on' I mean 'has a few of the same character names and a sorta similar premise.' Like so many 70's and 80's movies it takes place in a dystopic future where the US government is more a totalitarian police state than demorcacy. Please, no jokes. Anyway the government has a problem in that the people are hungry, herded, and have to keep their minds off of how everything's been run into the ground. This 'naturally' leads to a modern gladiatorial TV show that promises to give criminals 'what they deserve' while giving the contestants the chance to win prizes including 'trial by jury' all the way up to supposedly an all expense paid retirement somewhere nice and tropical.

We learn it's all smoke and mirrors and everyone that goes n dies no matter what the television says. After all when a network's slogan is 'seeing is believing' the whole thing is a house of mirrors and a bunch of smoke.

This movie has lots of fighting, a little bit of gun, some pretty good one liners (this is a Schwarzenegger flick after all,) and a deathsport game show hosted by Richard Dawson. I love it.

Buy it from Amazon (if you can't see the link disable or pause Adblock.)

Steel Dawn

Patrick Swayze became a hot prettyboy in dirty dancing and needed to try getting some action-movie cred so he wouldn't be pidgionholed in as a romance movie guy. I know. Mr. Roadhouse getting pegged as a romance lead. Crazy innit? Let's look at the raw numbers (care of IMDB.) They spent over Three Million to make it. They apparently only grossed a half million and change. By all accounts the movie bombed and bombed badly.

Let's see. Unrealistic combat. Swords made out of aluminum. Oh and it was seen at the time as a Mad Max ripoff (which to be fair it was.) Why do I like it? PATRICK SWAYZE'S STABBING ANOTHER GUY! That's why! Oh and we're taken so far in the future that we're past the 'inevitable' world war three and into a point in time when the last 'war' was fought with swords and clubs because there isn't a gun to be seen in the whole flick.

There is honestly some interesting bits of world building here but it's strictly B movie material, but the good kind. Take it for what it is, a Desert Apocalypse movie and call it a day.

Buy it from Amazon (if you can't see the link disable or pause Adblock.)

War Games

Whoo boy here's a toughie. Classic movie that's one of the few cases where you get a more or less realistic portrayal of how you break into, or hack, a given computer system. Oh sure some of the number crunching is sped up for the sake of time constraints NORAD doesn't have the kind of command center portrayed, and we unfortunately have no AI, but the concepts shown are the sort of things real life hackers (or crackers depending on which term you want to use) would use.

Beyond that though the relationship bits between Boy and Girl are handled really well. There is no obvious 'bad' guy here. It's more a disaster movie than something with a clear vllain (even though WOPR is technically the antagonist it's doing so because a bug got triggered rather than actual malice and through design elements it's something that couldn't just be rebooted because any actions were to be taken as NORAD being nuked and so an automatic nuke launch.)

It's a movie about as old as I am. It has a lively feel to it without being campy, and it shows just how far you can get by chatting up the right people, researching a target's life, and I hope to God they don't do a reboot of this one. The Direct to DVD movies were lackluster at best (one was absolute crap. The other was only so-so.)

Buy it from Amazon (if you can't see the link disable or pause Adblock.)

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