As a child no one idolized "Rowdy" Roddy Piper more than me. I booed Hulk Hogan Everytime they battled. I wore my "Hot-Rod" shirt all the time. I wanted to be just like him. Good guy, bad guy, it didn't matter to me. He was the greatest talker in the sport in my opinion. When he transitioned to films I was elated. In fact I went to see They Live simply because I saw him in the commercial.
When I heard the news that he passed back in 2015 I remember just sitting there. I was of course we'll into my late 30's but clearly an important part of my childhood, hell even life had passed away. It truly was a sad day. I was fortunate enough to see Roddy Piper wrestle live when I was a kid. He fought Adrien Adonis. I was going to meet him at s Spooky Empire convention and finally get a pic and his autograph and more importantly shake one of my heroes hands but something came up and I couldn't go. Sadly I will not get that opportunity again.
With over 50 titles under his belt there are a lot of great ones to chose from. Action, horror, comedy, he did it all. I rewatch his films all the time. Like I said with so many under his belt it's hard to pick the best. But I'll give you my opinion. So in my opinion here are the Top 5 Films of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper!
5) Body Slam: If you don't count his uncredited appearance in The One and Only, Roddy's first with was Body Slam. He played "Quick" Rick Roberts. The film revolves around a down-and-out music promoter named M. Harry Smilac (Dirk Benedict) who inadvertently becomes a successful professional wrestling manager. He manages the team if Rick Roberts (Roddy Piper) and Tonga Tom (Samu Fatu). After being exiled from the business by rival manager Captain Lou Murano(Lou Albano) he finds success in promoting shows that feature both wrestling and rock music. The film features many well-known wrestlers of the time and references the Rock 'n' Wrestling era of professional wrestling. Ric Flair, Bruno Sammartino, Freddy Blassie, The Wild Samoans, and more. This is still funny all these years later.
4) Tough and Deadly: A fantastic straight to video action film from 1995 when the home video action boom was in full effect. Roddy made a never of these films, which were all excellent in my opinion. This is his second film with Billy Blanks. Piper stars as Elmo Freech a private investigator and was contracted by John Portland (Blanks) a CIA agent who suffers amnesia, in oder to reveal a dubious case of drug smuggling in which are involved big fishes of the CIA and from Washington. Martial arts and gun shooting galore abound in this one.
3) Immortal Combat: Nothing to do with the game but it's sure exciting. LA Cops John Keller (Roddy Piper) and Jiro "JJ" Jintani (Sonny Chiba) are investigating a serial killer known as The Signature Killer. After he kills one of their fellow officers and is shot dead his body goes missing. Keller goes rouge and travels overseas to investigate the HybriCo Corporation which is ran by the evil Dr Quinn (Meg Foster) they are bringing people back from the dead as killing machines and now Piper and Chiba must battle them and put an end to the corporation. Side pice of trivia the late Art Barr has a cameo as a waiter, and Chris Jericho has a quick appearance as a fighter. Great action packed violence for all.
2) Back in Action. Originally the sequel for Talons of the Eagle, Back in Action was changed and became the first team up of Roddy Piper and Billy Blanks. What followed was one of the best straight to video action films of all time. Wall to wall martial arts battles explosions and shootouts make this one of my all time favorite action films of all time. Piper starts as maverick cop Frank Rossi. He is investigating a local drug operation when his partner is killed durring a shootout. At the same time former special forces soldier Billy (Billy Blanks) finds his sister is dating one of the goons. When his sister becomes targeted by the group he uses his martial arts skills to go after them. Piper who is now out for revenge teams up with Blanks to destroy the entire organization. Blanks amazes with his martial arts skills, but Piper hitting a bulldog on one of the bad guys still made me pop more. This came close to being number one as the action as well as the chemistry between Piper and Blanks was fantastic.
1)They Live: No shock here. The film that put Piper on the map in terms of Hollywood. Directed by the frat John Carpenter They Live stars Roddy Piper as Nada. He's traveling looking for work and takes shelter at a homeless camp where he befriends Frank (Keith David) One night durring a raid he discovers a pair of sunglasses capable of showing the world the way it truly is. As he walks the streets of Los Angeles, Nada notices that both the media and the government are comprised of subliminal messages meant to keep the population subdued, and that most of the social elite are skull-faced aliens bent on world domination. With this shocking discovery, Nada fights to free humanity from the mind-controlling aliens. Featuring the most iconic fight scene in film history They Live is a true masterpiece that holds up perfectly to this day.