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23 Awesome '80s Action Figures That Should Be Movies


The Toy: Highly collectable (236 figures in total) range of 2-inch tall fleshy wrestling figurines.

Sounds boring, right? Wrong! M.U.S.C.L.E. are mutant wrestlers from space, and they'll 'ave you, no sweat.

Possible Plot: Frankly, a concept this nutzoid needs to be a Troma-style exploitation flick.

Let's keep the storyline’s USP and have an evil collector discovering the tiny aliens and keeping them prisoner - only to discover there’s a whole army out to kick some ass.

Yeah, OK, it sounds like Small Soldiers meets Gremlins . Now, where’s Joe Dante’s number?


The Toy: What your parents bought you for your birthday...

...even when you expressly told them to get Transformers.

Possible Plot: It’s safe to say that 1986’s GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords isn’t screaming out for a sequel. Time for a reboot.

One which reveals exactly why the planet GoBotron is populated by robots that look like late-20th century Earth vehicles. Clue: it’s a colony planet that went horribly wrong when the evil Renegades slaughtered the humans.

Now the goodie Guardians need to find the last surviving humans to put things right.


The Toy: Seriously warped-looking (and impressively durable) creatures, dwarfing over the standard-size heroes.

Just in case you missed 'em, they also had glow-in-the-dark parts.

Possible Plot: The premise is (ahem) rock solid, as volcanic activity awakens mutant creatures buried for millenia in the Earth’s core.

Hero geologists (!) Earth Corps must discover the secrets of pre-history, as they stumble upon a millenia-old battle between Inhumanoids and sentient trees.

Madelman 2050

The Toy: G.I. Joe -style soldiers from Spain with a difference: the hero toys have magnets.

Gimmicky, sure, but it enables them to reveal the presence of alien infiltrators beneath their enemies' disguised human faces.

Possible Plot: The Terrestrial Commandos must protect Earth from militant invaders the Zarkons.

Trouble is, the pesky aliens look and sound just like us...unless the Commandos can devise a means of identifying them.

Micro Machines

The Toy: The ultimate down-sizing – intricate bonsai models of automobiles, planes and other vehicles.

So prestigious back in the way that even James Bond got Micro’d.

Possible Plot: Let’s run with with the spy motif. A crack team of secret agents are investigating crimes in a car warehouse even the evil scientist responsible shrinks the whole factory.

Now the diminutive agents have to save the day with only a fleet of pencil-sharpener sized vehicles to assist them.


The Toy: Fur-less felines wielding the usual array of swords (or, in Pathro’s case, nun-chucks!). Also, their eyes lit up.

But the real ace up the sleeve's range was that the ace cartoon series. Altogether now: "snarf snarf snarf!"

Possible Plot: The iconic TV cartoon begat a feature-length Thundercats Ho: The Movie in 1986, and a CGI reboot was mooted in the late Noughties.

But the success of Avatar surely makes mo-cap essential to tell this tale of exiled cat-creatures taking on the threat of Mumm’Ra, the Ever-Living.


The Toy: Wind-up mechanical life-forms which trundle along in a variety of animal shapes, most memorably dinosaurs.

According to the backstory, Zoids hail from the planet Zi. Actually, they were created in Japan.

Possible Plot: The elaborate Zoidverse has it that the warring Helic Republic and Zenebas Empire created the Zoids (mecha shell, “techno-organic” core) as their armies. Which still sounds an amazing pitch.

Essentially, we're looking at a Transformers / Jurassic Park mash-up. But please – just for once – don’t bring them to Earth. We want full-on interplanetary mecha-carnage.


The Toy: Chunky cowboy figures...with a twist.

This Wild West is in space, the baddies are mutant aliens, Marshall BraveStarr fires laser guns, and his horse Thirty/Thirty can talk and walk on two legs.

Possible Plot: A cheapo cash-in film was released in 1988, fleshing out the cartoon series’ Space Western plotlines.

Today, there’s no reason its combo of trad and mad couldn’t make for a Pirates of the Caribbean -style genre mash-up with BraveStarr as the wisecracking Sheriff trying to bring law 'n' order to mentalist mutant outlaws.

Power Lords

The Toy: The Transformers craze also influenced conventional humanoid figures.

Here, heroes and villains alike have alter-egos that can be revealed by spinning their faces around.

Possible Plot: The explanation for these changeroos is that hero Adam Power - when he implants the cosmic Power Jewel in his forehead - becomes blue-skinned, red-veined Lord Power.

Yet when everybody has similar strengths, things are going to get confusing. Cue an action-movie farce where nobody is quite sure who anybody is.


The Toy: Gadget geek heaven.

The figures were no great shakes, but MagnaLock magnetics and wind-up technology enabled enormous moving parts and interactivity.

Possible Plot: The short-lived TV series was a generic affair; a shame when the toys provided such possibilities.

For sake of argument, let’s rebrand Starcom as terraformers, whose hi-tech spacesuits are able to control and move machinery and materials...until they unearth an ancient evil.