Eye of the Tiger (1986) Poster

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Great, mindless, action-packed fun
Warning: Spoilers
It was 1987 when I first heard of this movie. It was the very first time I'd heard of Gary Busey and a trailer for this movie was the first time I ever heard the famous Survivor theme song. I hadn't seen the whole thing until about 2003 though. But, being a fan of mindless 80s action movies, I'm glad to say I was not let down when I finally came to own a copy of this movie.

It's sad that Busey never really made it as a leading man, because in this film he gives an absolutely fantastic performance as the wronged man Buck Matthews. Unfaily sent to prison by corrupt sheriff Seymour Cassel for killing a man in self-defence, Vietnam vet Buck is released and heads home. Things have gone decidedly bad since he was gone as the town is now in the grip of a sadistic, drug-running motorcycle gang headed by AIP veteran William Smith. Needless to say, the sheriff is on the gang's payroll and also happens to be Buck's parole officer, so things don't look good for our hero.

The film is, of course, a revenge picture as Buck engages in single handed combat with the gang after they kill his wife and traumatise his daughter. He even has his own special vehicle for the task: a weapon-laden pick-up truck sent to him by a Latino drug lord whose life he saved while in the slammer. Yes, it's THAT kind of film.

But it is actually pulled of rather well by writer Michael Montgomery and 'Vanishing Point' director Richard Sarafian. The action sequences, though sometimes grisly (a wire decapitation), are handled well, especially Buck's final assault on Smith's stronghold when good cop Yaphet Kotto finally decides to step in and help him. Kotto, Cassel and Smith all turn in excellent performances, with Cassel being particularly slimy as the crooked cop. It's very satisfying when he gets his comeuppance. The final fight between Busey and Smith is very well-handled.

Although the famous Survivor song is a bit overused, it seems very appropriate for the movie's action. The original music score by Don Preston is very rousing as well. I can honestly say that while Busey is excellent at playing villains like Mr. Joshua from 'Lethal Weapon' and Commander Kril from 'Under Siege', he shows here that if you give him decent enough material, and overlook some of his personal problems, he can carry a film and make it enjoyable. I enjoy 'Eye Of The Tiger' thoroughly as a great 80s action 'missing gem', and I recommend it to my fellow IMDb users with confidence.
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A Fun Movie! In my opinion, it's possibly Busey's best role.
RTheManF8924 November 2008
I recently purchased this, well not purchased, but my dear mom was nice enough to buy this DVD at Ross today for the low price of just $4.00. At first, I actually had no freakin' idea that this was on DVD to begin with. I thought the only available copy was the OOP VHS from USA Home Video (Which is now Lions Gate). It had a cooler cover than the DVD, but before I get back to the movie, I would just like to make a little rant about how the big Hollywood studios (And the greedy sharks that own them) keep changing the cover art (Or force the art department to do so) for DVD releases. This one's a good example. The cover art for the original VHS of this movie made it look fun and imo, somehow dramatic, but this cover looks like it's been made over at MGM using Photoshop. It just doesn't make the movie look good to a buyer. It seems like these studios could really care less about nostalgia and just only care about making it appeal to today's youth. I guess you could also say that the cover for this made it look like a Transporter Rip-Off or a John Woo- type movie from 2001.

Anyway, back to the movie. It's about a Vietnam Vet/Ex-Con (He had been convicted for a crime he didn't commit) named Buck Matthews (Played by Gary Busey in as I stated, quite possibly his best role.) who had just been granted parole and he goes back to his hometown to move on with his life and his family, his wife Christie (Played by Denise Galik) and Jennifer (Played by Judith Barsi from the awful "Jaws 4: The Revenge", may god rest her poor soul). We then see Buck at the police station, where he meets the corrput sheriff (Played by Seymour Cassel) and meets up with J.B. (Played by Yaphet Kotto) Also, Buck encounters a biker gang (The leader Blade, being played by the always awesome William Smith from "Maniac Cop") attacking a nurse, and saves her life and he becomes a town hero. However, it isn't long before the gang attacks Buck's house and kills Christie. Then, the movie starts to move into Death Wish territory.

I do not feel like going further for the moment (I really don't want to spoil anything for anybody), but I will say the rest gets more exciting every minute. That's just my opinion though.

As for the DVD itself, there really isn't much, although MGM did do a good job with the very beautiful widescreen quality. There is a trailer, but that's pretty much it for extras. There could have been like a director's commentary or even a commentary by either Busey or Kotto or all 3, but I really don't know.
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Grade A B-movie
jzastrow-39 November 2007
This just came on late-night television and I was captivated. It's everything you want in a B-movie. Bikers getting decapitated, hilarious fistfights, and GARY BUSEY. Clearly not a comedy, but I was laughing for half the movie.

If you're one of those people (like me) who enjoy brainless 80's action movies, especially ones with non-sequiturs and the most unbelievable dialogue ever written, then you would enjoy EYE OF THE TIGER. I was entertained.

I really don't know what else there is to say about this movie. So in closing: Gary Busey.
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This place is crawling with lice, and you're acting like it's Mayberry R.F.D.
lastliberal19 April 2009
It don't matter to me.

No, it don't matter that this film doesn't have the greatest actors. Gary Busey does a great job as a Vietnam Vet who comes home to lose his wife to a gang of motorcycle thugs, led by A-number-one total scumbag with a really bad haircut, William Smith. Yaphet Kotto is a perennial favorite of mine, and he does the right thing her. Yeah. And then there is Seymour Cassel as the crooked Sheriff that needs to be taught a lesson.

Yes, the story is pretty unbelievable, but that doesn't matter. It's the little guy getting kicked around, the cops on the take, the townspeople who have ceased to care, and scumbags that need to be flushed down the toilet.

A guilty pleasure for when you need to get the adrenaline flowing.
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Busey gets the lead...and gets revenge!
ManBehindTheMask639 September 2008
Gary Busey plays an ex-nam vet and recently released convict (he is innocent...he was framed) Buck Matthews. He returns home to his family only to find that the town has become over run by a deadly biker gang that sells drugs all over the world. The sheriff has been paid off, so there is no law and the biker's get away with murder (literally!). So when Buck decides to rescue a woman from getting raped by the bikers...the bikers wage a war against him, killing his wife and destroying his home. So Buck decides to take the law into his own hands and seek revenge for this wife and protect the town. It's a pretty simple plot that's fun to watch. The acting is excellent and it is interesting & cool to see Busey play the lead hero for once. The action is decent, with lots of chases and a hand to hand fight scene against the head baddie at the end. The film has good budget and the movie was put together well. The song "Eye of the tiger" is obviously used during the opening credits and at the end when he goes on his vengeance spree. Overall, it was a cool flick that was made cooler by the fact that Busey was the lead action hero. There's a nice decapitation scene in there too.
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Overlooked, Superb 80's Action Flick
hammerfan18 October 2006
Gary Busey had his best starring role outside of 'The Buddy Holly Story' in this 1986 actioner. He stars as typical 80's action hero, Buck Matthews. He's a decorated Vietnam vet, husband and father, and a wrongly convicted ex-con.

Fresh out of prison, Buck heads home to his small town to lie low and reconnect with his family. This plan goes south in a hurry. His parole officer is the sheriff who set him up on murder charges in the first place. Then Matthews runs across the deadly drug-running biker gang who has been terrorizing the town while he was in prison. What makes things worse is the gang and the sheriff are in business together.

Matthews rescues a rape victim from the gang one night and receives the wrath of the gang's leader, played by veteran bad guy William Smith. Without giving away a crucial plot point, I will simply say that tragedy ensues. Buck goes on a vengeance spree that would make Charles Bronson proud.

This is not the type of movie that is nominated for awards and is discussed on any best movies ever list. It is, however, a fantastic example of the type of action / revenge movies that were popular in the 1970's and 80's. Invite some buddies over, heat up the popcorn, and enjoy this awesome movie.
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You can't go wrong
John Seal17 November 2003
When your cast includes Gary Busey, Yaphet Kotto, Seymour Cassel, and William Smith, you know the film will be entertaining--even if it is as absurd as Eye of the Tiger. Busey gives a great impassioned speech in a bingo hall about his days in 'Nam, Kotto cuts a rug whilst dropping grenades from a biplane, Cassel twirls his moustache, and Smith--well, Smith and his semi-mohawk have to be seen to be believed. Let's just say that if you're a fan of Smith's '60s biker movies, you'll love Eye of the Tiger. The only strikes against the film--besides the ridiculous plot and shoddy writing--are the awful Survivor theme song (already used in Rocky III) and Kotto's hair, which appears to be a severely overcooked process 'do'.
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An enjoyable no-brainer, starring the world's greatest actor.
moz-12 March 2001
Well, let me start by saying that Gary Busey is without doubt, my favourite actor of all time. He has an everyman quality which no one else really posessed in the 80's. Don't get me wrong, I don't think he's Bobby De Niro, but he's cool okay, so get off my back. Eye of the Tiger, then. A highly enjoyable movie from a great director. Yeah, it has no brains and yeah, the plot fits on a stamp, but any movie with this theme music is always gonna bring a smile to peoples faces. There are countless great moments with the ever watchable, Busey and Yaphet Kotto. Admitedly, the pace does slack a little too offen, but the decapitation scene and the questioning scene rank up there with my favourite moments and it does have the best pull-focus of all time. Watch when you want some 80's action with a little more breeding than most.
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A fun, forgotten 80's gem, well worth a watch for 80's action fans!
Brian Bell4 June 2013
Gary Busey is fantastic as a just-out of jail Vietnam vet, wrongly imprisoned years before by his hometown Sheriff. He returns home to his wife and daughter, only find himself harassed by the local Sheriff (Seymour Cassel) that had him imprisoned years before. Buck Mathews (Busey) refuses to leave town, so the Sheriff hires the local biker gang to harass Mathews and and his family. Things go too far, and Mathews sets out on a mission of revenge against both the gang, headed by Blade (a maniacal Vernon Wells of Commando fame), and the Sheriff.

Eye of the Tiger is a great B-movie. The cinematography and directing are great, and it has a wonderful cast. Yaphet Kotto is perfect as Mathews old buddy, who is now an about- to-retire deputy to the corrupt Sheriff. The two team up to wreak havoc on the biker gang and deal out damage from the ground and air.

If you enjoy 80's action, and especially if you like Gary Busey, this is a B-movie worth seeking out. It's a good revenge story, full of good over the top 80's violence, and it has a great cast. Plus, it uses Survivors classic Eye of the Tiger song as it's theme! Whether you are relaxing on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or drinking beers with buddies on a Friday night, if you enjoy 80's action, this movie is for you...
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You go out after them your going alone
sol6 December 2009
Warning: Spoilers
***SPOILERS*** After being railroaded by the town Sheriff, Seymour Cassel, for a justifiable killing, in defending himself in a bar brawl, Buck Matthews, Gary Busey, is back to start his life all over again and on the right track.

With the town Sheriff looking for every excuse to put the "Mad Dog Killer" Buck back behind bars he instead becomes the town hero by saving nurse Dawn, Kimberln Brown, from being raped or possibly even murdered by a gang of outlaw bikers. Buck's heroic action not only angers the bikers but the Sheriff as well in him being shown to be the ineffective lawman that he, as well as everyone in town, knows that he is.

Finding out Buck's address from a TV news clip the bikers lead by the wild and crazy as well as a drugged up Ray, Michael S. Walter raid Buck's place running down his wife Christie, Denise Galik, and killing her as well as seriously traumatizing his 6 year old daughter Jenny, Judith Barsi. Getting in touch with his former prison cell-mate Jamie, Jorge Gil, back in Miami where he runs a major crime syndicate Buck receives all the firepower he needs, including a machine gun cannon and rocket launching pick-up truck, to take on the outlaw bikers. Buck's one man guerrilla war starts with the psycho biker Ray being ambushed and ending up losing his head!

It's later when Buck together with his good friend and fellow Vietnam war buddy J.B Deveraux, Yaphet Kotto, start knocking off the bikers with guerrilla war tactics it becomes very evident,if it didn't already, that the bikers have a friend in the town's police department! That chicken sh*t lily liver-ed Sheriff who's been taking drug pay-offs from the bikers to look the other way!

***SPOILERS*** With no one but J.B coming to his aid Buck and his pick-up truck take the fight to the biker's base-camp outside of town where they run their drug operation. with Buck doing the driving and shooting, machine gun rocket and cannon fire, and J.B, a licensed pilot, providing the air support the bikers are put to flight on foot with their bikes no longer operational. The Sheriff ends up getting a free ride on Buck's pick-up truck with him being handcuffed to the steering wheel as it gets a direct hit from a biker artillery shell. As for the the biker's head man Balde, William smith, the late Ray's brother he ends up getting all that's coming to him not only absorbing a dozen or so knuckle sandwiches, courtesy of Buck Matthews, but stuffing himself with all the coke his nose can handle and overdosing on it!
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