Cobra Kai's widespread acclaim is evidence that America's love for the '80s is still alive and well, and audiences are wanting to scratch that itch. The Netflix series does a great job doing so with a modern twist, but it's not like The Karate Kid revival is the only project capable of spinning an old concept into something new and awesome.
There's no shortage of '80s movies deserving of a television revival, but I decided to highlight some classics I'd love to see as soon as possible. In my opinion, these are the films most capable of making a splash in a modern era and could be just as big as Cobra Kai if they happen.
Jean-Claude Van Damme's movie of the martial arts tournament that the real-life Frank Dux allegedly participated in and won is almost too good to be true. Because of that, there have been many who doubt Dux actually ever participated in the Kumite tournament, as the existence of a high-profile life-or-death karate tournament could not be proven. In this real-life story, I think a television revival could really thrive. Just imagine -- Van Damme returns as an elderly Frank Dux, scorned by the world who didn't believe his heroic victory at Kumite. And that's not all!
His only true believer is the son of Ray Jackson, the American killed by Bloodsport villain Chong Li during the Kumite. Dux has been training the 30-something man for quite some time, and out of the blue, the two receive a mysterious invite to a remote location. The Kumite was scrubbed from history due to its controversial nature, but this invitation proves it's still very real. Dux will travel with his own protege in the hope of redemption in the eyes of the public and vengeance for the son of his friend. It could be like Rocky with a bit of reality mixed in. What more could you want?
One could argue that Young Guns II and its several key character deaths may make the idea of a Young Guns television revival meaningless. I don't see it this way. As long as Emilio Estevez is around and able to reprise his role as Billy the Kid/Brushy Bill Roberts, I'll continue to take the fact that his fate was left ambiguous at the end of the sequel as an opening for an eventual return.
There were whisperings of a Young Guns reboot around 2017, either as a movie or television event. I think a new version of the latter would be great, especially if a project could somehow continue Billy/Brushy's story for a "one last ride" or means of finding new legs in the franchise with a fresh cast. Westerns are a relative rarity in pop culture today, but I think there's still a market for them. If not, this series could at least go out in a blaze of glory and give fans the story teased for Young Guns 3 but never happened.
Goonies never say die, and for that reason, I'd like to think their shared friendship would allow all the kids to get together as adults for another adventure given the right circumstances. Luckily, this is a completely fictional work of art, so we don't need any stars to align in terms of a story, though getting the actors could be another story. Pulling some of those actors together for a series rehashing a movie from their past would probably be no small challenge, though not one that other television revivals haven't been unable to overcome.
As for what the story would be, I'll leave the pitching to Steven Spielberg, who is said to have developed an idea for a sequel back in 2014. With that in mind, Spielberg recently said the reason a sequel hasn't been made yet is that the bar has been raised so high that it's a struggle to find an idea worthy enough of the original. I'm of utmost confidence he'd be the person capable of coming up with a winner of an idea. With television being a golden medium to explore classic premises, I'd nudge him towards this for a revival instead of a feature film.
Mission: Impossible had not one but two runs on television before it became a massive movie franchise, but that doesn't mean its television days are over. In fact, movie studios like Warner Bros. are really going in on making companion series to its major movies, as is Disney. The taboo of a franchise losing quality going from film to television is fading if not completely faded, so there's no reason we couldn't see a Mission: Impossible revival in the next few years.
The premise could be fairly simple and follow a new or previously unseen agent of the IMF. The great thing about Mission: Impossible is that the first movie established continuity with the series, so there's a world where a series can still keep the events of Ethan Hunt canon without ever featuring Tom Cruise's titular character. The way Treadstone complemented the Bourne movies would be a great example of how this could work, though ideally, this spy series wouldn't get cancelled despite a promising premise.
We're certainly in an age when Hollywood is all-in on female characters who can kick ass, so why don't we already have a Red Sonja project? It hasn't been for lack of trying, I'll concede, as a reboot has been in the works in Hollywood, though updates on its progress as of late have been scarce.
My pitch is that we bring back Brigitte Nielsen as the title character and do a TV series with her character mentoring the next female warrior to emulate Red Sonja. Nielsen hasn't exactly been a booming presence in Hollywood since the '80s, but her cameo in Creed II was damn good. I'd love to see her doing more, and I think having her reprise the role all these years later would help establish a new understanding of the character as a hero, and perhaps less as the way the character has been perceived in the past.
Highlander isn't just a slept-on and underrated '80s franchise; it's also one with a noted record of success on television. While perhaps a little corny, the franchise definitely oozes that Cobra Kai cheesy charm that could only improve with more money and the right creative mind behind it.
The slight hiccup would be bringing back Adrian Paul, who isn't as immortal as his character counterpart. He still looks good, but Duncan would have some miles on him that would need to be addressed, considering these Immortals are meant to be ageless. It's not a deal-breaker, though, and with the amount of de-aging Hollywood has pulled off in recent years, I think they could certainly make it happen here and give us more Highlander adventures to set the stage for another lead to take up the mantle.
There are plenty of '80s movies that deserve television revivals, so be sure to share any left off the list in the comments. As always, continue to stick with CinemaBlend for all the latest news happening in television and movies.