The best of recent cinema has been inundated with comeback stories. The Wrestler proved what we all knew—Mickey Rourke is one hell of an actor. JCVD was even more surprising in that Jean Claude Van Damme proved he could actually act.
Rourke and Van Damme were '80s superstars who came on the scene as a hot commodity then fizzled, taking genre roles in stale films. But their latest flicks got me thinking: If they can do it, what other B-list '80s stars could also show off their unknown chops?
1. Steven Seagal
The aikido master was known for his roles in such nighttime fodder as Hard to Kill, Out for Justice and Under Siege. He was never much of an actor, and that's putting it so, so lightly. He was always more of a catchphrase type actor, ending films with that glorious one-liner.
Now, he's overweight, starring in direct-to-DVD films that can't even garner a 2 a.m. slot on USA.
But the dude's got fans. Vern from "Ain't it Cool News" wrote an over-300 page dissertation on the genius of his flicks. Sure, it's outlandish, but anyone who has a childish love for Seagal's trademark bone-breaking moves would be in line to see a dramatic turn from the silent martial artist.
How about life after Under Siege? What does the cook Casey Ryback do post-battle? Perhaps he makes a badass chicken parm.
2. Dolph Lundgren
The Russian. The one actor forever known as telling Stallone, "I will crush you." Afterwards, he was The Punisher, the villain in Universal Soldier, then he was demoted to lord-knows-what.
While he doesn't exude personality in these flicks, he was one of the funnier commentators on VH1's "I Love the '80s." Let's give him a stab at a comedic role as a supporting actor. Something tells me he could be the affable tough/gay guy partner ala Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang or The Rock in Be Cool.
Lundgren's an icon for being the one man who could bring down Rocky. I'm sure he can take time off from the gym to do an action comedy with Chris Tucker.
3. Mr. T
I pity the fool who doesn't make a documentary on this perplexing A-Team member.
4. Christian Slater
Many will balk at this entry. The guy's known for Pump Up the Volume and doing his best Jack Nicholson impression all the time. But his best flicks flirted with the action genre. Remember True Romance? Hell, even I'll admit Kuffs was a guilty pleasure, and it was ridiculously violent for a PG-13 flick.
Nowadays, everything he does has action in it. The guy wants to be an action star. Sure, he's tried drama, but no one has cared. He will be forever known as the smart-ass.
No more. Slater needs to go bald and play the worried dad who constantly reads a book and always chews his magnifying-lens-style glasses. Instead of Nicholson, he needs to start ripping off Richard Jenkins.
Don't act like you're not intrigued.
5. The Cast of Young Guns
With Rambo 5, Rocky 6 and Die Hard 4 all seeing the light of day, let's bring back the most ridiculous of the sagas—Young Guns. Bring the entire cast back and let Christopher Nolan direct it.
Make it like The Dark Knight but with '80s teen idols Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen leading a group of newcomers through the Midwest.
You're right, Nolan would never do that. But if it ever happened, you know damn right I would be there in the front row with a large popcorn.