The “Predator” franchise will see its most recent incarnation hit cinema screens next week, almost 31 years after the original first premiered. To celebrate the occasion, here at ThePogg we’ve had a cinematic whip-round of sorts and collated a list of our most loved 80s movies, all of which have been granted the prestigious accolade of a slots game spin-off. Unfortunately, the film in question has yet to be honoured in such a noble and time-honoured fashion but fingers crossed it’s only a matter of time before you’re spinning reels filled with stacked biceps, cigars and rubber-faced aliens.
The essence of an 80s action movie can be guzzled down like a can of New Coke in the 107 minutes of John McTiernan’s first major release. This is everything you either love or hate about 80s action movies, boiled down and distilled into its purest form. McTiernan would go on to direct classics such as “Die Hard” and…erm… “Last Action Hero” … but the muscle popping, baby oiled, machinegun toting alien movie is where it all began for him.
If you wanted to criticise the film, you’d argue that “Predator” feels as though it was written by a 12-year-old boy with little regard for punctuation and a penchant for piecing multiple set plays together with “and then”. “Predator” is unapologetically simple, with little to no dialogue, sweeping characterisation and a plot that is driven forward by ever increasing volumes of TNT.
It might be set in the jungle, but “Predator” is a far cry from Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” . Yet despite these apparent slights on its artistic DNA, Predator is a classic because it forgoes subtleties and gets straight down to the dirty. There’s no needless exposition to bore us, there’s no sub-plot or sub-text bubbling away under the surface either. If you like “Predator” it’s because it dispenses with the fluff and gives you no time at all to sit and ponder the meaning of life.
It is rumoured that the cast began their workouts at 3am every morning before filming even began for the day. The muscles in this this movie aren’t like the ones you see in modern films. Your heroes back then weren’t ripped or shredded, they were freaking enormous. Like the film itself, the cast took real life, blew it up and reformed it into something bigger, better and much less beige. The 80s were a decade of cinematic escapism, where we slouched into our frayed seats, peered through the mist of cigarette smoke and washed down popcorn with full fat, full sugar drinks.
It’s easy to look at Predator as little more than large bags of prime cut meat shooting off machine gun rounds in the woods. But at 107 minutes, with relentless action, McTiernan made a film that Michael Bay could only dream of. Nowadays it’s rare to sit down in a movie theatre for less than two hours and witness no lull in the action. Every single minute is accounted for because “I ain’t got time to bleed…”
First on our list is a film that goes head to head with “Predator” to slug it out for, not only the mantel of best 80s action movie, but also the best Arnie movie of all time. Now strictly speaking, “Terminator 2” is a 90s movie, but the original came out in 84, so we’re going cheat a little bit here.
The Terminator movies, especially Terminator 2, were the high point of pre-CGI special effects. Bill Hicks once claimed that after seeing Terminator 2 we would never be able to top the stunts and special effects used unless we employed “terminally ill people as stuntmen in pictures.” Without CGI there was nowhere else to take an action movie after Terminator 2. It was the high water mark of greenscreenless action movies and cost a whopping 100million dollars to make, which at the time made it one of the most expensive movies in Hollywood history.
Not content with exploring just one of science fiction’s most popular genre markers, the Terminator franchise sets about taking and eating all the sci fi cake it could lay its grubby metal hands on: We don’t just have our own robots trying to kill us, we also have them travelling back in time to hunt us down.
Unbelievably, Arnie actually says less in this film than he does in Predator, as he Daniel Day Lewis’s the utter crap out of this emotionless chunk of killer metal role.
As for the game, “Terminator 2” has all of the main characters from the movie making an appearance somewhere, either on the reels, in the bonuses or even just in the brief feature sequences. The game is a few years old now, but has held up reasonably well, looking as good and in some cases better than most slots games today.
Click here to play the game for free.
We’re going to take a break from science fiction for now and welcome the affable Tony Montana into our lives for the next few minutes. If you like pin-striped suits, sneering, personified machine guns, watching people ingest mountains of cocaine, and the “f” word, then Scarface is the film for you “my little friend.”
In 1983 it was time for us to forget the “Godfather” and give the gangster movie a much needed hit of 80s excess. The character of Tony Montana is so out there, so extreme that only Al Pacino could have pulled it off and not had us cringing in embarrassment. Like “Predator” it’s difficult to imagine this film working today. In fact, seven years after its release Martin Scorsese came along and re-defined what the gangster movie could be.
One of the defining moments in the movie comes when a drunk Tony Montana confronts a restaurant full of middle-class diners and tells them that, “Even when I lie, I tell the truth.” Tony Montana’s story is a classic tale of rags to riches. He becomes everything he ever dreamed of and when he gets there he hates himself for it. He reaches the top through a sea of blood and destruction, trailing rivers of it behind him wherever he goes. He is like the other diners only because he has money. They are aren’t just part of the system, they are the system, making money through means that many would consider as immoral as Tony, but without ever having to get their hands dirty.
As for the slots game, Scarface has all the necessary violence to fit in with the theme that a slots game can manage. During bonus rounds you not only get to shoot people from Tony’s balcony, but you also get to blow them up with grenades! The main characters are all present in some way, as are guns, big wads of cash and bloody chainsaws. The game comes armed with wilds and free spins, giving you few opportunities for boredom during your spins.
The final spot on our list was a tricky one to fill as there have been countless numbers of slots games based on films from the 1980s. Anything from Aliens to Ghostbusters , from Highlander to Dirty Dancing . We eventually settled for the 1986 behemoth that saw Tom Cruise elevated from well-known Hollywood actor to one of the most famous faces on the planet.
Like so much mainstream entertainment flooding out of the 80s, “Top Gun” was a cocksure, in your face mixture of two dimensional characters, wind machines, big collars and Ray-Bans. The main character is so unbelievably maverick that he’s actually called “Maverick”, just in case you didn’t notice how much disregard he has for rules and authority.
The soundtrack is huge, and our hero, despite his diminutive stature is a giant amongst men, revered by all around him. Those who don’t like him are either idiots or feel threatened by that perfectly square jaw and those pearly white teeth. This is Tom Cruise in a Tom Cruise role turned all the way up to the top floor of Tom Cruise Towers.
“Top Gun” was never interested in depicting the reality of life in the Air Force. The movie is as true to the world of combative aviation as most westerns are to life in lawless wilds of the 19th century America West. As with “Predator”, “Top Gun” was was a break from reality, not a reflection of it. Seriously, in what version of real life does an Air Force pilot wear a stetson to a mission briefing? It’s what mainstream cinema in the 80s was all about and it’s partly why we love the great big overblown decade so much.
The Top Gun game, brought to us by Playtech is as pretty as a jet fighter silhouetting against a San Diego sunset. All the characters are here, except and I guess this is a bit of a blow for fans of the film, from Maverick himself. No doubt, the image rights were unobtainable. The game comes with some interesting bonus features and the whole gaming experience is offset by the film’s iconic anthem, “Take My Breath Away”.
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