HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Moment of Clarity
Fukushima 50
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Blue Thunder Big Chopper
Year: 1983
Director: John Badham
Stars: Roy Scheider, Warren Oates, Candy Clark, Daniel Stern, Paul Roebling, David Sheiner, Joe Santos, Malcolm McDowell, Ed Bernard, Jason Bernard, Mario Marchado, James Murtaugh, Pat McNamara, Jack Murdock, Clifford A. Pellow, Paul Lambert, Anthony James
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: It's time for the night shift of the Los Angeles police department helicopter team to start, but one of their number, pilot Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider), is nowhere to be seen. One of his bosses sends Murphy's new co-pilot, Richard Lymangood (Daniel Stern), to find him, and he does discover him apparently meditating nearby, timing himself with his digital watch. Once that's out of his system, they take to the skies, and Richard admits he took this position because he thought there would be far less chance of being shot at. However, he is proven wrong when the first criminals they encounter open fire at the copter - but they're not who they should be concerned about...

In the eighties, movies began to embrace the kind of technology largely seen previous to that decade in science fiction, and not only movies, as the year prior Knight Rider had been a hit on television, proving that the main thing the action genre really wanted was an advanced vehicle, an advanced weapon, something advanced to reflect those changing days when everything computer-related was desirable. So Blue Thunder arrived in cinemas, not quite the airborne KITT - the helicopter didn't talk to Roy - but assuring us that no matter how outlandish the whistles and bells it carried, they were all in use by the U.S. Government.

This was presumably intended to up the paranoia ante, and looking back on this now it's clear that Blue Thunder represented the halfway point between the conspiracy thrillers of the seventies and the increasingly popular action thrills and spills that would take up a huge portion of the Hollywood blockbuster budget for quite some time to come. It wasn't the only exponent of this, of course, but it was one of the slicker examples, with a script by Don Jakoby and Dan O'Bannon that emphasised the hardware over the characters, who were somewhat taken from stock: Murphy is a Vietnam veteran who suffers flashbacks to a serious trauma, for instance.

Fortunately, director John Badham (who helmed the similarly technology-obsessed WarGames the same year) assembled a solid cast to bring the cardboard entities populating the story to life. Scheider was always a safe pair of hands in this type of thing, and gets a on-off partner in the shape of Candy Clark as Kate, who is just kooky enough to make you believe she would take part in a car chase with the cops at the crucial moment. Stern is good value as the naive but goodhearted co-pilot, and Warren Oates in his final role (the film is dedicated to him), snaps out his hardboiled lines like the pro he was.

Then there's the most hissable of the villains, Cochrane, essayed by Malcolm McDowell as the now customary English bad guy in an American action spectacular, whose catchphrase "Catch ya later!" you just know will come back to haunt him once he gets his comeuppance. So if you can't really take the politics as something we should be up in arms about, especially as we seem to be more used to the surveillance society now more than ever, what is there for the entertaiment seeker? Although Blue Thunder doesn't fly high in many people's lists of top action movies, that's doing it a disservice, as the stunts are excellent, and it's hard not to get caught up in the excitement of seeing the aircraft of the title zooming through the landscape of L.A., past skyscrapers and even onto street level. There may be a boys with toys aspect to most of this, but its efficiency is very welcome, with agreeable and even slightly underrated results. Music by Arthur B. Rubinstein.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3222 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Badham  (1939 - )

British-born, American-raised director of mostly medium-sized hits. He progressed from television in the 1970s to direct The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings, but his second film was the blockbuster Saturday Night Fever. After that came a remake of Dracula, Blue Thunder, classic Cold War sci-fi WarGames, Short Circuit, Stakeout, the underrated The Hard Way, Nick of Time and Drop Zone, amongst others. He moved back into TV in the 2000s.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: