There are a lot of bad movies floating around, and there are a lot of bad songs that go along with them. Action films — particularly those from the 1980s — have many of the worst soundtracks, and yet some of our most iconic verses have come from Rocky, The Karate Kid and so forth. Did any of the Members Only-jacket-wearing producers at the time know this would happen? Of course not. Will they take credit for our love of cheesy lyrics and guitar solos? Absolutely.
After the jump, check out 10 oddly mesmerizing songs from the action films of yesteryear. Fair warning: these songs will suck up valuable brain space, and you’ll be singing them for hours.

It’s a given that we have to start with “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, right? Originally used in Rocky III (with Mr. T, who wanted to show Adrian what a real man was), “Eye of the Tiger” also was used in Rocky IV and Rocky Balboa. Now a Rock Band staple, it’s the epitome of “cheesy motivational song.”

Sticking with Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar-worthy films, the next song up is “Meet Me Halfway” by Kenny Loggins. It’s a wussy song, yes, I know, but it’s infectious. I don’t know what made Kenny go from “Your Mama Don’t Dance” to soundtrack ballads, but he was doing something right. Kenny’s voice just pulls at you as you watch Over the Top, a quiet, tender movie about a father and son… and arm wrestling. God, the ’80s were great.

Honestly, I’m not leading you through “Seven Degrees of Testosterone-Filled ’80s Movies,” but we’ll go with another gem by Kenny Loggins. “Danger Zone” from the Top Gun soundtrack was EVERYWHERE in 1986. Kids looked to Tom Cruise as a role model, and most of the boys I grew up with swore that they wanted to be pilots (and a few of them realized that dream). Because of TomKat! I know! Cruise used to be normal, people! At any rate, Kenny gets the job done again, this time with way more rocking out.

Another paragraph, another connection. Top Gun also spawned a mind-numbingly repetitive ballad in Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away.” The only reason guys listened to this song was because they thought girls liked it. And we didn’t. I actually saw Berlin perform in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1996 with — of all people — No Doubt and Candlebox. Yeah, it was weird. But seeing them live didn’t make me like this song any more.

Let’s perk things up a little. In the early 1980’s, Prince was a rock god before people were ready for him. Given his full body of work and the reaction to it now, I’m still not sure people truly grasp the genius behind the madness. At any rate, Prince took it upon himself to outfit the entire 1989 Batman movie with purple goodness. If you even try to claim that you didn’t boogie down to “Batdance,” I’m going to call “bullshit” on your ass and then point and laugh as you cry.

Unfortunately, because Prince hates YouTube, I can’t post the fabulousness that is “Batdance” here. Instead, you’ll have to go listen to it on lala or something.

So, how freaking great was Mortal Kombat? Bloody awful, right? Right! And that’s what’s so great about this movie — well, that plus the awesome soundtrack. The Utah Saints killed the theme. If you were a teenager in the 90s, you know that it’s still impossible to gear up for a showdown — be it boardroom or knife fight — without hearing these synthy keys in your head. Impossible, I say! I listened to the hell out of this soundtrack in college and even forced a friend to use the theme in one of her film projects, so this yummy-awful movie and the fabulous game franchise have special places in my heart. (To see what the Mortal Kombat video games could have looked like, click here.)

We’re sticking with the 90’s again, but this time for a ballad by an old standby. Def Leppard had oodles of hits — “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Photograph,” etc. — but do you remember a little tune full of support and sensitivity and cuddliness called “Two Steps Behind?” You do? Well do you remember it was featured in Ah-nold’s flop, The Last Action Hero? Well fine!

I’m forcing another ballad on you, but you’ll thank me later, I promise. Like The Empire Strikes Back, The Karate Kid Part II was one of those rare sequels that was as good as or better than the original. Unlike The Empire Strikes Back, however, The Karate Kid Part II employed Peter Cetera instead of John Williams. Yes, the guy who fronted the band Chicago decided that this movie would be the perfect time to unleash his raging sensitivity and feathered hair on a new generation. Thus, we got stuck with “The Glory of Love.” It’s not a terrible song, really. But if you’re a guy and you start singing “I am the man who will fight for your honor,” you’re gonna get laughed at. On the other hand, if you sing the  “You keep me standing tall” part, we ladies might be interested.

Awww, yeah. It’s time to sweep the leg, baby. Now that we talked about our feelings ad nauseum, we’re going to kick a little ass with a favorite from the original Karate Kid“You’re the Best” by Joe Esposito. Like “Eye of the Tiger,” this little tune immediately bubbles up inside your brain when you’re at the gym, prepping for a big meeting or pulling a Ben Stiller in There’s Something About Mary (Oh, you know what I’m talking about.). And when “South Park” features a song, you know there’s gold in them-there hills.

The final spot on the listof ten comes to us from one of the most prolific bands of the 80’s. Huey Lewis and the News knew how to stretch a guitar solo, knew how to rock a harmonica and knew how to wear a jean jacket and mullet without looking like a total doofus. Maybe that’s why the band was called upon to supply “The Power of Love” for the classic 1985 hit, Back to the Future. While I lean a bit more toward “Back in Time” for my favorite song on the soundtrack (I’m a sucker for horns.), I can see why so many people still karaoke this sucker and why Doc Brown gave all that time for the long-ass music video. Now all we need is a DeLorean.


*EDITORS NOTE: This list is from the NB vault. We recycled it ’cause we’re lazy bastards and didn’t come up with anything new this week. Hope you enjoyed it regardless. Will be back next with a NEW list “Top 10 Things That Got Cut Off”

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