So many films we're extending the honorable mentions, it's like there was a ton of great stuff this year or something!
Beverly Hills Cop II is the rare sequel that works about as well as the first film but on a different level. whereas the first movie was an excellent comedy with some action in it, this one is a pretty solid action movie with a lot of humor throughout. Eddie Murphy is back as Axel Foley and this time, he's looking to avenge his buddy Bogomil (Ronny Cox) who has been wounded in the line of duty. A typically slick 80's sequel from Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, this film is loaded with good character actors, a killer soundtrack and some nice funny bits and action beats. It's not great cinema or anything, but it gets the job done.
The Hidden is a wonderfully inventive mash-up of the buddy cop action picture with an alien invasion picture. Michael Nouri and Kyle MacLachlan are the mismatched duo with Kyle being an alien hunting down a body jumping parasite and Nouri as his human partner. There's a ton of great action including a neat car chase in the beginning and overall, this is one of the better genre blendings you are likely to find.
This is a reasonably tense thriller from a novel by Frederick Forsyth that pits secret agent Michael Caine against Russian spy Pierce Brosnan who wants to detonate a nuclear weapon on a US airbase in the UK. The film gets by with the performances of the two leads as Caine is always fun in these sorts of spy roles and Brosnan makes for a decently menacing villain.
After two less than stellar adaptations, Clive Barker got a good film based on his work by just writing and directing the damn thing himself. Hellraiser is a creepy, utterly screwed up little gem of a horror movie with Ashley Laurence as a young woman who unwittingly pulls four pain loving demons into out world who are in search of her dead uncle who has escaped their clutches. Doug Bradley made a name for himself in the horror genre with his smooth, menacing portrayal of lead demon Pinhead and the rest of the cast does well enough. Good f/x from Bob Keen too.
Sean Connery won a much deserved Oscar for his role here (though as is so often the case, it was more an honor for his whole career to that point) in this very strong adaptation of the old TV series. Brian DePalma directs with his usual flair and the cast is solid from top to bottom, though Kevin Costner is probably a little too square for his own good as Elliot Ness. Still, Connery, Andy Garcia and Robert DeNiro are fantastic and this one still holds up pretty well.
Joe Dante scores again with this highly entertaining comedy about a test pilot played by Dennis Quaid who takes part in a research program that involves being shrunken down to microscopic size in a capsule. He is accidentally injected into Martin Short's lovable loser character and wacky hijinks, tons of Dante regulars, Meg Ryan and some light spy games ensue. The film is just a feast for the eyes with some nice f/x work and Martin Short in his funniest film role.
1987 was the year of the buddy cop film. We'll get to Lethal Weapon later on and Stakeout is a good choice for the second best of the year as far as that sub genre goes. Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez are a couple of cops who are assigned to watch the lovely Madeline Stowe whose ex-boyfriend, played by Clancy Brown, has escaped from prison and is on the loose. Lots of laughs are found as well as a rather nice love story development between Dreyfuss and Stowe. John Badham balances the cop stuff pretty well with the romance angle and the two leads have a nice, easygoing chemistry that works.
Fun, hard-edged Walter Hill action movie with Nick Nolte as a Texas Lawman gunning for old friend Powers Boothe. Throw in a bunch of reportedly dead soldiers led by Michael Ironside and you get one hell of a fun film. Very underrated.
Solid thriller with some nice twists that sees Kevin Costner a a Navy sailor investigating the death of a woman he's been sleeping with who is also involved with politician Gene Hackman, the man who killed her. At the same time, there is also a manhunt going on for a Russian spy that pays off in shocking fashion at the end. Good cast, some nice tense moments and overall, this one is a real winner.
The other really good vampire movie of the year, Near Dark is a nicely done, gory Western horror movie about a young man who falls in with a bunch of nomadic vampires led by Lance Henriksen and Bill Paxton. Henriksen and Paxton are the highlights of the movie and Kathryn Bigelow does a fine directing job.
Depending on how you feel about Barfly, American Ninja 2 is the best film Cannon released in 1987. I've talked a lot about this one so I'll be brief. Cheese all the way through, colorful super ninjas, Steve James is the happiest ass kicker I have ever seen, Michael Dudikoff is a very good actor for an ambulatory plank of wood.