In a world where action movies rule supreme, there is one decade that stands above the rest, the 1980s!
Recently I discovered the book, The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops and Feuds of Hollywood’s Kings of Carnage by Nick de Semlyen and I knew I had to grab a copy. The book is a thrilling journey back in time, exploring the golden age of action cinema, the 1980s.
There’s a special place in my heart for the action movies of the 80s. Their larger-than-life heroes, explosive sequences and witty one-liners drew me in as a kid and continue to captivate new audiences today.
The Last Action Heroes takes fans of 80s action blockbusters on a journey through the sets of films like Conan the Barbarian, Rocky IV, Predator and Rambo. While Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger defined 80s action movies they aren’t the only focus of the book.
De Semlyen gives equal time to all the big action stars of the era; Chuck Norris, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Bruce Willis, Dolph Lundgren and Jackie Chan.
While all the stories are entertaining I actually enjoyed the chapters dealing with Lundgren, Norris and Chan the most. Maybe because they are usually overshadowed by Arnold and Sly.
One of the book’s best aspects is its ability to reveal previously untold stories from the sets of iconic movies and the stars personal lives. I thought I’d heard all the behind-the-scenes but de Demlyen is able to deliver new stories about the actors and movies.
There are conversations between Sylvester Stallone and Ronald Reagan, the origin of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s famous buns, and the behind-the-scenes tales that were once kept hidden. The arc of Jackie Chan trying to make it in Hollywood, becoming disillusioned with movie-making in the West and heading back to China was fascinating.
How Sly, Arnold and Bruce Willis put aside bitter rivalries to become business partners was interesting. It all comes down to money. The stories provide a fresh perspective on the films and the stars who brought them to life.
The Last Action Heroes not only explores the movies and stars of the Reagan era but also delves into the cultural significance of these films. The book offers an insightful analysis of why the movies resonated with viewers during the Cold War and why they continue to hold a special place in our hearts.
If you enjoy trivia as much as I do, then this book won’t disappoint. De Semlyen offers insight into Stallone’s work in a zoo, Schwarzenegger’s father’s dark past, Bruce Willis’s former career as a security guard, and Quentin Tarantino’s first screen credit on a Dolph Lundgren fitness video.
Nick de Semlyen’s love for the action movies of the 80s shines through every page of The Last Action Heroes and he understands why these movies became so popular, they were fun. Something missing in action movies today.
The Last Action Heroes by Nick de Semlyen is a must-read for any fan of action movies, especially 80s action movies. With meticulous research and captivating storytelling, de Semlyen sheds light on the behind-the-scenes stories, iconic movies, and unforgettable characters that defined 80s action movies.
From untold stories to cultural analysis, de Semlyen’s work provides a comprehensive and entertaining exploration of the films, stars and legacy of the 80s. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual moviegoer, this retro trip is guaranteed to leave you entertained and longing for the days of explosive action on the silver screen.
Grab your copy of The Last Action Heroes: The Triumphs, Flops and Feuds of Hollywood’s Kings of Carnage and revisit the golden age of action movies.
If you’ve read The Last Action Heroes let me know your thoughts in the comments below