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» iRewind Talk » Movies » « 80's Movies » Underrated Actors: Michael Biehn

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Author Topic: Underrated Actors: Michael Biehn
Kash
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"I do firmly believe that I've been overlooked, especially in The Terminator. Jim Cameron was saying to me at the time, "I don't know Michael why you are not being offered more movies now. All of us expected it, you know?"

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"But now, five or six years later, when everyone has seen the movie five or six times on video people are beginning to realize how good it was and what a good performance it was. But I have to say I don't feel shortchanged and I don't resent anything. I think it's best in the long run. Look at the Brat Pack: those guys got so much so fast that they were never allowed to really struggle and know what good chances they had in much of the work they were doing. So, even though I felt that some of my work was overlooked at times I know that it has made me stronger and better and it has made me work harder to get other jobs and be good in them." [From a 1989 interview]

Lt. Hiram Coffey,'The Abyss' : Biehn's finest hour. Excellent, faultless performance as the unhinged military man with an itchy trigger finger, hovering uncomfortably close to the control arm of a nuclear warhead. A dramatic and commendable shift from leading man / heroric roles.


Kyle Reese, 'The Terminator' : It was Biehn & Linda Hamilton who provided the human-interest angle in one of the best movies of the 80s. And though Linda Hamilton was the real star here, Biehn’s sensitive & heroic portrayal was pitched just right, without Hamilton & Biehn's onscreen relationship, the T-800’s deadly mission wouldn’t’ have been half as menacing; we care about these characters, and that makes their struggle all the more intense.

Dwayne Hicks, 'Aliens' : Another iconic sci-fi character, Hicks embodies the sensitive / heroic traits of Kyle Reese, only this time in space. Again, Biehn humanises the hardman who comes across as an essentially decent professional in what appears to be a no-win situation. Good role, well played.

What Could've Been And Looking The Future : Biehn was originally cast as Spiderman back in 1994 (would've been cool to see that) but, bizarrely, was written out of the Alien franchise despite surviving the last picture. A good actor overall, whose made a few classic films, but also starred in a lot of bad ones, perhaps a reason as to why he's so underrated. I'm surprised that Cameron didn’t cast him in 'Avatar', never mind, there's always the 80s and if I get my way: BOTH Hicks & Reese will be resurrected in their respective franchises somehow, some way, however tenuous it might be; those characters deserve a comeback, as does Michael Biehn.

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aTomiK
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Nice stuff Kash!
I love those three movies!

After The Abyss, Biehn did Navy Seals (1990) which i also love.
It has a great cast: Biehn, Charlie Sheen, Rick Rossovich, Bill Paxton, Joanne Whalley etc.
Kick a$$ hard rock soundtrack too!

Next one was Timebomb (1991).
It was ok with some nice scenes and of course ultra sexy Patsy Kensit.

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80'sRocked

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Biehn is great in all those movies! I own Navy Seals on dvd too. He's not underrated in my book!
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Earl Keese
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Could not agree more Kash! Dead on with your nice analysis too...fully agree. I have always thought that Biehn has walked the razors edge between the tough guys of the 80's Stallone / Willis / Van Damme, etc. and some of the...oh shall we say leading men "more in touch with their feelings" type...you know...I just killed a bad guy, but I feel real bad about it. I think that is why they had so much trouble finding a "place" for him. He is a great actor and can pull you into the character and emotes better than a Stallone / Van Damme, but he can also do incredibly menacing. Where do you put a guy like that?!

They did find one role that in my opinion sums it up and while not from the 80's is definitely worth the time and that is his role as Johnny Ringo in Tombstone. He has all of the menace and danger and yet makes you feel for him even though he is the worst of the bad guys.

"Poor soul, you were just too high strung." After Doc says it to Johnny Ringo, you believe it as much as any performance you will see.

If you ever get the chance, also pick up a copy of the novelization for The Abyss. This is by the the best novelization of a movie tie-in I have ever read and expands on all of the characters, delving into their childhoods and backstories, but Coffey's in particular. A must read for fans of the movie...

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esmagnus
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jdocster McFly you Irish bug

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Don't know why he never made it "big"... Maybe he didn't want it... Who knows. I've liked him in all of his movies...


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esmagnus
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Even Tarantino tried!

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journey
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My friend and I are always speculating about why Michael Biehn never took off as a leading man the way contemporaries like Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson did. I still don't get it. I think he's awesome. Apparently Hollywood thought Keanu Reeves and Nicolas Cage were more suited to the task. (Or maybe they just had better agents).
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Pittsburghgirl
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Today is his birthday- he is 53 years old. I loved him in the Terminator, my hubby liked him in The Magnificent Seven.
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Pittsburghgirl
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Just saw him on an episode of the new show Dark Blue on TNT last night. He still looks the same, just a little older, but in fantastic shape!
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