Blue Thunder Blu-ray
Roy Scheider, Candy Clark, Malcolm McDowell, Daniel Stern
Directed by John Badham
Columbia TriStar 1983
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2009
Blue Thunder is a very good cop action movie with a great chopper fight scenes. This movie was a hit when it came out in 1983 and begat a short-lived and decent enough TV series and a very little known spin-off movie. Granted, the movie does tend to announce its major plot points but if you are looking for an entertaining and visually stimulating (and this not just because of the babe in the window scene) action movie, this one fits the bill. The last thirty minutes are all action and really cool. The Blue Thunder Blu-ray features a 2:35:1 widescreen –the one with the black bars–, and a few of the usual special features.
Roy Scheider plays veteran and troubled police helicopter Frank Murphy. Murphy’s life is a bit of a mess, to say the least. He is chosen to pilot a new helicopter, the Blue Thunder, which comes with a lot of bells, whistles, and ammunition. The LAPD is very interested in getting one of the birds. Malcolm McDowell plays the army chopper pilot who first flies Blue Thunder. You know he is evil because he kills some civilian targets in a practice run, has a British accent, and is disliked by Murphy. A secondary plot line is about a city councilwoman who was killed during a botched rape robbery. A very young looking Daniel Stern plays Murphy’s rookie co-pilot.
The movie does have a couple of glaring plot holes. There is no way anyone would let a rookie (Daniel Stern) be co-pilot for the test flight of a kick-ass helicopter like this one. What happens immediately after the bike accident is also hard to believe.
Aside from being a setup for some excellent dogfights, Blue Thunder poses a couple of interesting questions about privacy rights. The helicopter has access to all the information any computer has on people, can listen in to conversations, and can track people through infra-red. This point is underplayed but there is a reason this action movie begins with Scheider and Stern playing peeping Tom on an exhibitionist fan.
This movie has aged pretty well. Its pacing is a bit on the slow side as it sets up its conspiracy plot line but you easily get caught up in this movie.
Blue Thunder Blu-ray comes with a commentary track featuring the director, editor, and motion control supervisor, a multi-part making of featurette, a short on the making of the helicopter itself, the original trailer, and a promotional trailer. No great bells and whistles here.