Blue Thunder is a cool, fun to watch action movie that telegraphs its punches. You know that if the hero hates the character who just showed up that the latter is a baddie. You know that if they say the main character did a 360 in a helicopter that he will do it again. There is no real mystery in Blue Thunder but the story itself and the action scenes make it a great watch. This movie became a short-lived TV cop show.
Blue Thunder stars Roy Scheider as Captain Frank Murphy, a chopper pilot for the LA police. He gets a new partner and is asked to test a new helicopter the army has created for the Los Angeles Olympic games. Malcolm McDowell plays the chopper pilot whose baby Blue Thunder is and both men have hated each other ever since their Vietnam days. Scheider has a flashback episode from time to time about something that happened in Vietnam that only serves to make the McDowell character more of a baddie. In the end, the two chopper pilots end up in a duel in the air after a sinister plot is uncovered.
There are plot holes galore in Blue Thunder. The movie begins with the cops being called to look into a rape in a posh neighborhood but there is no rape although the victim, an important city politician dies. Director John Badham (Drop Zone, Nick Of Time, Whose Life Is It Anyways) throws in some TV footage of riots in Watts to support a plot point although when a police copter crashes in Watts the races seem to be working together on a construction project and nothing is burning.
Blue Thunder stands out not only for its great aerial battle scenes but also because the cop's girlfriend, played by Candy Clark, is actually an integral part of the plot and manages to do her part to solve the mystery without having to be rescued or getting killed off.
This is a cool action movie that is lots of fun to watch and keeps you on the edge of your seat because of the many action scenes.