The 20 Greatest 'So Bad They're Awesome" Action Movie Sequels

Through my years as a movie lover I have discovered that my biggest weakness (next to Italian exploitation films) is cheesy/awesome sequels, primarily action movie sequels from the 80s. These are my favourites.

My ratings:
#1 - 10/10
#2 - 9/10
#3-7 - 8/10
#8-17 - 7/10
#18-20 - 6/10
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
No Retreat, No Surrender 2 (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.0/10 X  
In this sequel, Scott Wylde, an American kickboxer, must go to Cambodia to rescue his Vietnamese girlfriend from Russian and Vietnamese troops. (92 mins.)
Director: Corey Yuen
“ Virtually unconnected to the first, but chock full of the best martial arts scenes found in a US (co-)production. Loren Avedon should have been huge. ” - Stein-e
 
2.
Death Wish 4: The Crackdown (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Architect/vigilante Paul Kersey takes on the members of a vicious Los Angeles drug cartel to stop the flow of drugs after his girlfriend's daughter dies from an overdose. (99 mins.)
Director: J. Lee Thompson
“ Bronson delivers some of the most questionable one-liners to make it to the screen and rids L.A. of drugs in less than two weeks, you can't make that *beep* up. ” - Stein-e
 
3.
Braddock: Missing in Action III (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  
Braddock mounts a one-man assault to free his wife and son who are still being held in a Vietnam prison camp. (101 mins.)
Director: Aaron Norris
“ I don't really care for the first two MIA movies, but the third on gets it right, delivering bigger and better action on a larger budget. It also features the best one-liner Norris ever delivered "I don't step on toes, Little-John. I step on necks.", and he does! ” - Stein-e
 
4.
Revenge of the Ninja (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
After his family is killed in Japan by ninjas, Cho and his son Kane come to America to start a new life... (90 mins.)
Director: Sam Firstenberg
“ Now I love Franco Nero, but a marvellous moustache does not a martial artist make. So promoting Shô Kosugi to lead for the sequel was the correct move in every way. Kosugi kicks all the asses in the best movie that came from the 80s "ninja craze". ” - Stein-e
 
5.
Death Wish 3 (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Architect/vigilante Paul Kersey arrives back in New York City and is forcibly recruited by a crooked police chief to fight street crime caused by a large gang terrorizing the neighborhoods. (92 mins.)
Director: Michael Winner
“ One of the most glorious over-the-top films produced by the decade, Charles Bronson turns New York in to a war zone and slaughters punks with a Browning machine gun like it was the most normal thing in the world. Insane doesn't describe this movie. ” - Stein-e
 
6.
Bloodfist II (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  
Kickboxing champion Jake Raye thought his fighting days were over, until a call from an old friend draws... (85 mins.)
Director: Andy Blumenthal
“ This tenuously connected Don 'The Dragon' Wilson sequel offers a cheap re-hash of the plot from "Enter the Dragon" and some of the best martial arts fights scenes put on American funded celluloid (far superior to its plot twin, yeah I went there). Wilson never topped it. ” - Stein-e
 
7.
The Karate Kid Part II (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Daniel accompanies his mentor to Okinawa who is off to see his dying father and confront his old rival, while Daniel inadvertently makes an enemy of his own. (113 mins.)
“ Now I actually think this is on par with the original, but a low IMDb rating suggest most others don't. A great sequel that takes the premise of the original and ups the stakes, the two of them should always be watched back-to-back. "Dlum techneek" ” - Stein-e
 
8.
The King of the Kickboxers (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A cop goes undercover in Thailand to avenge his brother's death in this martial arts film. (99 mins.)
Director: Lucas Lowe
“ Sequel-schmequel, this is kind of the unofficial 4th entry in the "No Retreat, No Surrender" series by default after Loren Avedon signed on for 3 movies and this was the third. Pretty much a rip-off of Kickboxer, but Avedon is a cop on a case where JCVD was on the revenge path. The final fight between Avedon and Billy Blanks is one of the best ever, and as a bonus you get to see some of Keith Cooke's amazing combos. Damn he was quick back in the day. ” - Stein-e
 
9.
Highlander II: The Quickening (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  
In the future, Highlander Connor MacLeod must prevent the destruction of Earth under an anti-ozone shield. (91 mins.)
Director: Russell Mulcahy
“ Sue me, I love this movie. Only in the extended cut and when ignoring its connections to the first, but still I enjoy this one a lot. ” - Stein-e
 
10.
American Ninja 2: The Confrontation (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
On a remote Caribbean island, Army Ranger Joe Armstrong investigates the disappearance of several marines, which leads him to The Lion, a super-criminal who has kidnapped a local scientist and mass-produced an army of mutant Ninja warriors. (90 mins.)
Director: Sam Firstenberg
“ Superior sequel that delivers a plot about kidnapped scientist and scientifically engineered ninjas, but also a great soundtrack and more of that sweet Dudikoff/James goodness. Too bad they never got to do another one together. ” - Stein-e
 
11.
No Retreat, No Surrender 3: Blood Brothers (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Two feuding brothers (one a policeman, the other a martial arts expert) of different political views... (101 mins.)
Director: Lucas Lo
“ Just as unconnected as part 2 and just as filled with breakneck martial arts scenes that will impress the crap out of you. The script has a couple too many clichés to ignore though. ” - Stein-e
 
12.
Bloodsport 2 (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
After thief Alex Cardo gets caught while stealing an ancient katana in East Asia, he soon finds himself imprisoned and beaten up by the crowd there... (90 mins.)
Director: Alan Mehrez
“ The sequel to the greatest martial arts movie of all time struggles with its narrative, but Daniel Bernhardt shows he can deliver some vicious kicks. The fight between Bernhardt and Ron Hall is worth the price alone. ” - Stein-e
 
13.
Kickboxer 2: The Road Back (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  
This movie is suppose to be a sequel to the movie which starred Jean-Claude Van Damme. Only now the... (89 mins.)
Director: Albert Pyun
“ Many people have problems with Sasha Mitchelle replacing JCVD, but I love the guy. This one sports one hell of a supporting cast too. ” - Stein-e
 
14.
Best of the Best II (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
The Colosseum is the fighting arena owned by the champion Bracus. Now after the death of their friend, Rhee and Roberts want revenge. (101 mins.)
Director: Robert Radler
“ Like Karate Kid 2 this one re-does the first one, but with life-death stakes. Eric Roberts never looked better. ” - Stein-e
 
15.
Bloodfist IV: Die Trying (1992 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  
When Danny unknowingly repossesses the car of a powerful arms merchant, it sets off a chain of violent retaliation... (86 mins.)
Director: Paul Ziller
“ The second of six unconnected Bloodfist sequels, but the only one worth a look. Wilson's two brawls with Gary Daniels and the restaurant scene are great. Wilson later remade it as Moving Target, which for the record is not worth the look. ” - Stein-e
 
16.
American Shaolin (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
After being humiliated in the ring by a dirty kickboxer who pulled down his shorts and then hit him... (106 mins.)
Director: Lucas Lowe
“ The unofficial 5th entry in the "No Retreat, No Surrender" series, although with this one I am not sure how it came to be. A really underrated Karate Kid knock-off with a compelling story, good acting and some great fight scenes, the Asian co-production really elevated the fight scenes in the "No Retreat, No Surrender" series, making them some of the best US produced martial arts films ever. Also, look for a young Daniel Dae Kim of Lost fame. ” - Stein-e
 
17.
Bloodsport III (1996 Video)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  
Bloodsport III brings us back to the world of Alex Cardo. This time he must battle in a fight to end all fights - The Kumite... (91 mins.)
Director: Alan Mehrez
“ Once again a jumpy and uneven narrative is saved by Bernhardt's ability to kick people in the face so hard you'll be wearing a teeth protector while watching this. ” - Stein-e
 
18.
Best of the Best 3: No Turning Back (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
A martial arts instructor comes to the defense of a schoolteacher who has taken a stand against a local white supremacist organization. (90 mins.)
Director: Phillip Rhee
“ The connections are getting thinner as Philip Rhee ditches Eric Roberts and fight Neo-Nazis in the deep South. Probably has the best fight scenes of the series. ” - Stein-e
 
19.
Kickboxer 4: The Aggressor (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  
David Sloan must travel to Mexico to save his wife from a savage drug lord who's also an old nemesis. (90 mins.)
Director: Albert Pyun
“ Ignores the 3rd entry and adds a whole new storyline about Sloan being in prison and his wife (who has never been seen before) becoming a sex-slave for Tong-Po, who is now a drug lord in Mexico, yup. The plot makes little to no sense, but the fights are probably the best in any of the sequels. ” - Stein-e
 
20.
Howling II: ... Your Sister Is a Werewolf (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  
A young man whose sister was murdered by werewolves helps an investigator track down a gang of the monsters through the United States and Europe. (91 mins.)
Director: Philippe Mora
“ Okay, this is a bad movie, a really bad movie, but it is the kind of bad movie that features Reb Brow tossing a dwarf out a window and Christopher Lee using a "holy hand grenade", and that is a good kind of bad. And screw you if you don't think it counts as action, I do. ” - Stein-e