Tag Archives: Dar Robinson

Best Movie Stunts of the Year List 1980-1989

 

Here is the list for the Best Movie Stunts for the Decade 1980-1989 as listed in the book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!

1980 – The Blues Brothersblues-brothers (1)

For a musical comedy this movie has the longest car chase sequence in history.  The cars are just piling up at the end, hundreds of cars destroyed…it’s awesome!  $3.5 million was spent on this sequence alone and lasts over 20 minutes of the movie.

1981 – The Raiders of the Lost ArkRaiders-Of-The-Lost-Ark-

Although there are plenty of fantastic stunts in this film to mention, Terry Leonard does another through the windshield-off the front hood-then undercarriage crawl underneath an Army transport truck, then up the back and into the driver’s side for another round of fighting.

1982 – Mad Max 2: The Road Warriormad-max-2-the-road-warrior-1981

A case where the sequel is so much better than the original. This film rocks from beginning to end and has an unbelievable chase that lasts the second half of the movie.  Great stunts throughout.

1983 – Project Aproject a clock stunt

Jackie Chan makes a name for himself and becomes a stunt legend in this movie.  From this movie on he is untouchable worldwide as a stuntman that does his own acting or as an actor that does his own stunts, whichever way you want to say it. He created his legendary Jackie Chan Stunt Team for this movie and for years to come sets a new standard for stunt teams worldwide.

1984 – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doomindiana-jones-and-the-temple-of-doom-screenshot

This decade is unique as the decade ruled by Indiana Jones in stunts and action sequences.  The first 3 Indiana Jones films make the list. Also, the second rope bridge sequence to hit since last decade’s The Man Who Would Be King. Vic Armstrong is a stand out here as Harrison Ford‘s stand-in.

1985 – Police StoryPolice-Story-1985-Chinese-Movie

Jackie Chan‘s chance to shine in a modern setting this time, and to really showcase what the Jackie Chan Stunt Team can do.  To be quite frank about this movie, it’s all stunts from start to finish and I’m surprised that all the stuntmen survived the making of this film. It’s amazing.

1986 – A Better TomorrowA Better Tomorrow Pic

The combination of John Woo and Chow Yun Fat is just too good to be true.  This film is viewed by many as the finest action film ever to come out of Chinese cinema, and put both Woo and Yun Fat in Hollywood’s viewport.  John Woo really gets Chow Yun Fat to do some fun stuff in this movie.  Very bloody stuff though.

1987 – Lethal WeaponLethalWeapon_Quad_SMALL_zpsf1d5e6c0

The next two films became great series and both just happened to be set during Christmas.  Lethal Weapon became the standard for buddy-buddy cop movies.  This film is dedicated to legendary stuntman Dar Robinson who died the year before, and features some great fight choreography by Cedric Adams, Dennis Newsome, and Rorion Gracie and a great backward high fall by actress Jackie Swanson. 

1988 – Die Harddie hard hans gruber

This movie became the template for many action films to come for years after it was made.  So much so, that pitching an action screenplay to studios became as easy as saying, “It’s Die Hard on a plane… or It’s Die Hard on a boat”.  The whole film rocks, but the highlight here is Ken Bates as he doubles for Alan Rickman in a fall from the Nakitomi building.

1989 – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusadejones45

Five years later, Vic Armstrong does it again as the stand-in for Indiana Jones.  His jump from a horse to a german tank has been voted in the top ten of movie stunts of all time on many lists over the years.

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM

Actors and Stunt Performers in Lethal Weapon

 

Richard Donner and Joel Silver wanted the action in this film to be so realistic that in pre-production they hired stunt coordinator, Bobby Bass, to design all the action and 3 martial arts advisors, Cedric Adams, Dennis Newsome, and Rorion Gracie to oversee the fights and the training of the actors and stunt performers.lethal-weapon-gibson-glover-1

I’d like to add at this time that the film was also dedicated to legendary stuntman, Dar Robinson, although he did not die during any of the stunts in this film, he was killed executing a motorcycle stunt for the movie, Million Dollar Mystery. He trained actress, Jackie Swanson for the airbag jump at the beginning of the film. She jumped 35 feet backwards into an airbag. The stunt was done using an airbag covered with a life-size painting of the driveway and cars, which, like a foreground miniature, visually blends into the real scene. Thus, the editor was able to hold the shot until just as she makes contact with the airbag, for greater realism.

There was a second airbag jump, when Martin Riggs handcuffs himself to a guy on a building who is threatening to jump. The two stuntmen jumped together but once in the air the handcuffs disconnect so you can tell they weren’t really handcuffed together. A little movie goof as when Riggs and the man get off the airbag they are clearly handcuffed together again. Not only is the action in this film fantastic, but the action sequences seem to get better as the series moves along. The entire series was directed by Richard Donner for Silver Pictures.lethalweaponbdcap1_original

 

Things to look up (go to IMDB ):

  • Bobby Bass
  • Dar Robinson
  • Richard Donner
  • Joel Silver
  • Jackie Swanson
  • Lethal Weapon
  • Cedric Adams
  • Dennis Newsome
  • Rorion Grace

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Dar Robinson and Sharkey’s Machine

 

Two things instantly struck me about Sharkey’s Machine (1981); number 1 was that it felt like a remake of the movie Laura (1944), which I loved, because the lead character in each, a detective, falls in love with the murder victim when they are trying to solve the cases only to find the woman they thought were the murder victims, were alive and well.  Pretty interesting plot and I felt Sharkey’s Machine had a tone more like a modern day film noir than what Burt Reynolds kept calling “Dirty Harry in Atlanta” in the 80’s.sharkeys photo

The second thing that struck me is the writer is William Diehl, who would go on to write the incredible movie, Primal Fear (1996) with Richard Gere and an unknown Edward Norton…who was so good in it, he was robbed of an Academy Award!  Aaron Stampler is such a devious character, Diehl ended up writing 2 sequels Reign in Hell and Show of Evil (both are good books), and Stampler seems to rank up there with Hannibal Lecter for me as far as evil literary creations go.

So now there are some other really great things about this movie, Rachel Ward’s debut for one, Burt Reynolds moody and awesome directing for another, incredible supporting cast with Brian Keith, Charles Durning, Bernie Casey, Henry Silva, Earl Holliman and Richard Libertini and of course who can forget about the incredible high fall by Dar Robinson at the end of the movie!
Shrkey Dar Fall

Dar Robinson, doubling for Henry Silva, drops 220 feet into an airbag from the Hyatt Regency Downtown, which at the time was a world record for the highest wireless freefall from a building.  It really is a great stunt, and the behind the scenes stunt footage is really impressive.  Which is all the more baffling when you watch the movie and halfway through the fall they cut to a long shot of what is obviously a DUMMY falling from the building.  Why they didn’t use the whole jump in the movie is beyond me.Sharkeys Dar Robinson

People to research on IMDB:

  • Burt Reynolds
  • Dar Robinson
  • Henry Silva
  • Charles Durning
  • William Diehl
  • Brian Keith
  • Rachel Ward

Check out our new Book, 100 Years of the Best Movie Stunts!Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.23.28 PM