Seven 80s Movies That Somehow Didn’t Seem Cheesy Then

Hey Guys, this is a repost from an article I wrote back in 2010 that still has relevance today.  And wouldn’t you know, it was because I yet again was watching Karate Kid II.

Just the other day I was watching Karate Kid II and man talk about the cheese. I mean I think that movie was supposed to be somewhat cheesy. It’s just so hard to have a sequel that isn’t in some way a little diluted compared to the first. But when you look at the first one? Well that’s another story.

Bottom line is that I think there were plenty of movies that came out in the 80s that were meant to be “serious” or at least “not cheesy” that when viewed today are absolutely ridiculous.

There were seven that shot out to me…..

Karate Kid

Look I know it’s kind of a serious movie and all but let’s face it. It’s a teenager whose best friend is a 60 something year old Asian maintenance man who happens to be a Karate Master. No one likes him except for a hot girl in school (which no one can figure out, even her best friends). He’s constantly picked on and is a complete loser. As far as the cheese? “Put him in a bodybag!!!! Yeahhh!” And did you see the scene where he kisses Elizabeth Shue at the amusement park? Guy could have easily swallowed her face. There’s more unintentional comedy nowadays from this movie than ever.

Big Trouble in Little China

I’m pretty sure this movie was meant to be cheesy all along but I’d guess when people saw it in the 80s they thought it was a legitimate action movie. The funny part is that there are so many characters that we now laugh at because some of them are clearly represented in Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat (Raiden, Blanka). The movie remains a classic but the whole “when Jack” 1st person talk is a complete joke. Hell Kurt Russell’s entire character is a joke (even though it’s supposed to be).


What was once a pretty serious flick about the underground world of the Kumite tournament is now just a movie to make fun of. I mean technically this movie was based on the real life of Frank Dux as played by Van Damme! But now? Now we look back on the silly soundtrack, the ridiculous faces Van Damme made (the scream when he goes blind), the funny clothes and of course how ugly Chong Li is. It’s a classic film and I love it to pieces but it’s cheesy.

Can’t Buy Me Love

Cute little romantic comedy. In reality? A bunch of hilarious lines and an opportunity to make fun of every character and laugh at watching Seth Green when he was a kid. Well I make fun of everyone except for the hot chick with the big boobs. “You shit on my house!”

  • Nick D Pags

    You should do a “That Actor Guy” on Bolo Yeung.

  • Bud the Chud

    Correct me if I’m wrong (too lazy to google it) but wasn’t the “real life of Frank Dux” actually a lie?

  • Mike

    Yes it was Bud.

  • JessKitty

    I know I’ll probably get crucified for this, but from the first moment I watched it, I thought The Breakfast Club was a big bowl of cheese.

  • Jamaal Charles’s Shredded Knees

    You could pretty much do this entire list with classic John Carpenter’s 1980s flicks, though Big Trouble will always be favorite

  • Steve

    Surprised Rocky 4 wasn’t on the list. Easily the most 80’s-tastic of the bunch (ie: cheesiest), and thus, my favorite movie ever. Bloodsport ranks up there pretty high as well. One of my favorite soundtracks to work out to.

    Stan Bush’s song “Fight to Survive” > every other 80’s movie soundtrack song.

  • Wite Boy

    fucking Jean Claude anything. OMG IM GETTING MY ASS HANDED TO ME. but wait… whats this A COME BACK LIKE I DIDNT FIGHT TODAY YET!!! AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! every…. single….. damn…. time

  • Khel

    Actually, when Kurt Russell’s character says “When Jack”, it’s 3rd person (illeism), not 1st person… 🙂

  • Rizzeh

    Even as a kid, I remember loving Bloodsport for the laffs. The slow-motion AAAAAHHHHHHHHs kept my brother and me in stitches. We took Karate Kid seriously though. XD

  • birdseed

    You are nuts. The KKid and FLoose are all still awesome and much preferred over their remakes.

  • The general consensus seems to be that “Big Trouble In Little China” needs to be removed or isolated from the rest of this list.

    If you couldn’t hear Kurt Russell channeling John Wayne or any of the other aspects which make this a coherently tongue-in-cheek classic, then you can chalk it up to your naivety, ignorance and/or loss.

  • Patrick

    Not Seth Green…….. Patrick Dempsey ! 🙂

  • Dale

    I expect you’re far too young to have been there in real time. Temporal context is everything. Your movies seem ridiculous to us, too.

  • Cornelius

    I’ve never met anyone who didn’t realize that BTiLC was an action/comedy the first time they saw it. Honestly it just does not belong on a list with these other films.

  • Buya

    Author – you do realize that big trouble was intended to be a cheese fest, don’t you. Maybe the humor doesn’t transcend to your generation, but the film was intended, and appreciated as, a comedy, not an actioner. It is a piss take of the cheesey action films of the time.

    As for some of the others, low-budget feel good movies did rule the day in the mid-80’s, sort of a blow back form the overly serious, ugly films of the 70’s, when cheese really smelled like a toilet with the disco thing (theey call it Xanaduuuu,, ooooo, ooooo ooo oooo)

  • Kurt Russell

    Big Troublein Little China is AWSOME!!!

  • tassie devil

    What about the scene in Kickboxer when Van Damme got drunk and performed the gayest dance in history. You would never get away with that these days (especially in that tank top).