It goes without saying that if you didn’t grow up in the 1980s you didn’t grow up in the 1980s. It was really THE time to be a kid, and the number of classic films that came out in that era definitely had a lot to do with it. Many of those great films had toy tie-ins. Heck even some of the not-so-great ones did… Dune anyone?
But here’s a handful of films who’s action figures were sorely missed in the toyaisles of our youth.
5. Rocky IV
I say Rocky IV but really the toy gods could have pulled from the whole franchise. Obviously they’re all half naked boxers, but then how many wrestling toylines have there been over the years? Same ballpark.
-Rocky Balboa (red/white/blue trunks, and of course the Italian Stallion yellow/black mail away version)\
-Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan)
-Clubber Lang (Mr. T)
Of course it wouldn’t be right to talk about a 1980s Rocky line without at least mentioning that he was actually a proposed character for Hasbro’s GI Joe: A Real American Hero line. While the figure got as far as the protoype stage (w/ card art to boot!) Coleco had already secured the rights to Stallone’s likeness and the figure was scrapped leaving poor Big Boa with no one to fight.
If it bleeds we can kill it. If its plastic we can play with it! This would’ve been GI Joe on steroids. Literally. Given the movie is violent as hell but so were Rambo and Robocop and that didn’t stop Coleco or Kenner from cashing in or moms from paying out. In all honesty I think this would’ve likely been a one-off series similar to Commando consisting of all of two figures: Dutch and the Predator.
3. Blade Runner
Now this one almost took the top spot for no other reason than its one of my favorite films of all time both for its stunning visuals and philosophical brilliance. No matter how many movies he’s made Ridley Scott always manages to take you somewhere different. But I digress… Imagine a 3 ¾ inch line compatible with Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.
Deckard, Gaff, Batty, Pris, Zhora, Leon, and Rachel. Top it off with scaled Spinner and I’d be all over that line!
2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
It comes with the territory. As far as I’m concerned there are four Star Trek movies. Two, three, and four which make up their own tight little trilogy and then The Undiscovered Country (number six) which serves as a nice send off to the original crew. Your mileage may vary, but everyone knows WoK is the best of the bunch.
Unfortunately Genesis failed to generate anything in toy aisles leaving us bombarded by figures from a galaxy far, far away… Not that we’re complaining. Similar to Mego’s figures based off the first film, and Ertl’s Star Trek III line I think a 3 ¾ inch would’ve been ideal here as well especially if it were helmed by Kenner.
Two words for you: Enterprise Playset.
I know what you’re going to say, and let me stop you.
Yes, Kenner made an Aliens line in ’92/’93 as a tie-in to Alien 3. They were pretty neat toys, but a pretty big departure from anything remotely resembling the characters from Aliens. And if that’s not enough it didn’t come out in the 80s. Loop hole. I win.
Just about everyone in the toy community knows about the 1979 18” Alien that Kenner made for Ridley Scott’s sci-fi horror film of the same name. It didn’t go over well and has now become a fairly sought after piece.
Unfortunately I think that doomed any chance the 1987 movie had for a toyline.
Having re-watched this film again recently I have to admit its screaming for toys! You’ve got a handful of ethnically diverse Marines all with cool sci-fi gear and weaponry not to mention the aliens themselves and their Queen (can we say Sectaurs style hand puppet?). Then there are the vehicles. The APC would’ve also made for a damn fine toy as would the Dropship and lastly there’s the Powerloader that pretty much speaks for itself.