3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most enjoyable action films of the 80s
The 80s was the golden age of action movies, and Blue Thunder still holds up as one of the most enjoyable. Part of a Summer double whammy from director John Badham that also saw him scoring a big hit with WarGames, it's another piece of paranoia turned into slick entertainment as Roy Scheider's Vietnam vet with a bad case of flashbackitis (otherwise known as Clint...
Published on 24 April 2012 by Trevor Willsmer
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly effective
This is a really decent action thriller. The chopper's the star of course and the arial sequences are a absolute treat. The helicopter advancing with the sun behind it is an image that will stay with me. Roy Schider is excellent as the distant, haunted Vietnam veteran at odds with authority. Malcolm McDowell is suitably menacing as his creepy nemisis.
Published on 15 Jun 2012 by Steven
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most enjoyable action films of the 80s,
The 80s was the golden age of action movies, and Blue Thunder still holds up as one of the most enjoyable. Part of a Summer double whammy from director John Badham that also saw him scoring a big hit with WarGames, it's another piece of paranoia turned into slick entertainment as Roy Scheider's Vietnam vet with a bad case of flashbackitis (otherwise known as Clint Eastwood Firefoxitis) gets reassigned from flying police choppers to testing out a new crowd control weapon - the heavily armed state of the art helicopter of the title. With 1984 literally just around the corner and fully equipped with computer-controlled gun systems, high-tech listening devices that can hear a mouse fart at 2000 feet and infrared cameras that see through walls, it's clearly intended for more than just crowd control at the Los Angeles Olympics, which isn't exactly a surprise since Malcolm McDowell's old wartime adversary is behind the program.
Naturally Scheider uncovers their real, albeit vaguely defined dastardly plot and uses the weapon against them, with some especially spectacular results as helicopters duel over the city in scenes that are all the more impressive for being done largely for real. No CGi here and surprisingly few model shots too, just terrific stunt work excitingly edited. The Blue Thunder itself is a striking creation, first seen blotting out the rising sun like a malignant insect, the film clearly enjoying showing off its tricks and firepower as much as it pays lip-service to abhorring its purpose. The plotting may be rudimentary and the characters one step up from cardboard, but the film manages to sell them effectively enough to never quite allow them to be completely overshadowed by the hardware thanks to solid performances, with particularly good supporting turns from Daniel Stern as Scheider's rookie observer and a wonderful swansong from Warren Oates as his eloquently sarcastic boss (the film, co-produced by The Wild Bunch's Phil Feldman, even has a rather sweet dedication to him `for all the joy you gave us').
It did inspire a dismal short-lived TV series that missed the point of the film and turned the Blue Thunder into a `good guy,' though the film itself was changed substantially from Dan Jakoby and Dan O'Bannon's original script. Closer to Taxi Driver with multi-million dollar firepower, that saw Scheider's psychotic character genuinely going crazy and shooting up the city, but the studio wanted the destruction without the high body count of innocent bystanders - it's one of the finished film's absurdities that for all the destruction only the villain gets hurt - turning him circuitously into the film's hero instead, borrowing more than a few plot points from the previous year's Firefox along the way while thankfully improving on Eastwood's film. The rather decent documentary on the special edition DVD AND Blu-ray goes into that in surprisingly frank detail, with O'Bannon even talking about the commercial reasons for his taking first billing on a screenplay largely written by Jakoby - with Alien just released and O'Bannon too ill to work full time, they could get a better deal with his name first. It's certainly a lot more informative than the vintage 1983 puff piece for the film that's also included and which has unfortunately been letterboxed from its original fullframe. The DVD special edition also includes three storyboard sequences that aren't on the Blu-ray, while the Blu-ray includes the original theatrical trailer, which isn't on the DVD special edition but was on the otherwise barebones original DVD release.
Unfortunately the picture quality on Columbia's special edition DVD isn't any visible improvement over their earlier issue, with the same rather light blacks and limited depth: it's an acceptable widescreen transfer, but if it weren't for the new extras it wouldn't be worth the effort. However, the Blu-ray is a distinct step up in quality.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome blue on blu...,
At last the fantastic blue thunder arrives on blu ray. This is a great film with a superb cast headed up by the late Roy Scheider and Warren Oates. The Blu Ray transfer is perfect with great sound and picture quality. The Sunrise at Pinkville is great in surround sound. The extra is where BLue Thunder fans will be thrilled with some first class never before seen behind the scenes footage, and uptodate interviews with John Badham, Roy Scheider before his passing and the writer. This Blu Ray is region free so now worries there and for those that like it, the Blu Ray comes with BD Live. If you love blue thunder then get it on blu ray.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Thunder, The Movie.,
Being an OLDIE I was lucky enough to actually see this film on the big screen on its release date, even got a signed poster of Roy Schnieder who play the lead role.
What can be said about this film, it contains some great flying stunts, a great plot and some pretty decent acting from B rated actors. I dont really care what anyone says about the film, Ive watched it at least 200 times over the years. Even if the helicopter was a bolt-on kit copter built round a french gazelle,only way you can tell its a gazelle is that cool enclosed tail rotor. The rest of it is just awesome. I love the film to bits, even if the plot is a bit cheesy in places. The effects are real not computer generated which considering the year it was made is amazing. They even made a model of an F-16 that had its wing shot off, the rest is great. The stuff kids dreams were made of.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars High-tech, fast-action paranoia and with first-rate performances,
Among the stars of this first-rate high tech action thriller is Blue Thunder, a helicopter that, as one character says, can fire 4,000 rounds a minute and peer down blouses at 1,000 feet. At first glance, Blue Thunder is a marvel; it has night vision capability, whisper action engines, high sensitivity mikes, automatic firepower linked to the movements of the pilot's helmet and sophisticated targeting systems. It's heavily armored and heavily armed. When Officer Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider) a chopper pilot with the Los Angeles police who has bad memories of Viet Nam, is chosen to test out the helicopter, he and his partner, Richard Lymangood (Daniel Stern), find themselves up to their eyes in a secret government conspiracy where people are going to die.
Murphy has nightmares about Viet Nam, has trouble with authority, sticks his neck out, feels he has to test himself. His boss, Jack Braddock (Warren Oates), respects him but gets tired of dealing with Murphy's edginess. For one incident, Braddock takes him off flight status. "But there's a bright side to this, and a moral," Braddock tells Murphy. "I think morals are good things. I love morals. And the moral of this story is, if you're walking on eggs, don't hop." On night patrol in their regular police helicopter, Murphy and Lymangood come across an attack on a woman as she enters her condominium complex. They call it it, police quickly arrive, and in the shootout the woman is seriously wounded. The attack is labeled a suspected rape attempt, but Murphy isn't so sure. Why were there two assailants? Why was her briefcase the object of a theft? What happened to the abandoned car Lymangood had spotted nearby just moments before? The woman turns out to be Diane McNeely, a member of the Los Angeles Mayor's task force on urban violence. Murphy discovers she possessed written information that government agencies were stirring up violence in some of the poorest parts of Los Angeles.
Then the Feds show up with Blue Thunder. The experimental chopper with its high tech gear and armaments is designed to identify potential trouble makers and terrorists, to suppress them and to eliminate any unrest they may cause. Los Angeles, it seems, might be just the candidate for tests to prove more of these choppers will do the job. The helicopter is effective in tests, but not perfectly surgical in it's firepower. "One civilian dead for every ten terrorists. That's an acceptable ratio," says one official. "Not if you're the civilian," says Murphy. One of the people behind Blue Thunder is Col. F. E. Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell), an old acquaintance of Murphy's from Viet Nam. Cochrane was an ace pilot, too, who often tossed Viet Nam prisoners out of his chopper. One night in a check-out flight of Blue Thunder, Murphy and Lymangood come across a secret meeting of Cochrane and some Fed officials. Using Blue Thunder's surveillance capabilities, Murphy gets the meeting's discussion recorded on tape. The discussion proves a government conspiracy by a handful of officials to foment insurrection in order to justify Blue Star's use by the government, and to countenance murder, all for the greater good. Just as the meeting closes, Cochrane pulls open the drapes to look outside...and sees Blue Thunder hovering nearby. Murphy and Lymangood are discovered, and a brutal chase begins. The last third of the movie is a race...by the bad guys to get the tape, by Murphy and his girlfriend to get the tape to the news media, to get the Air Force to destroy Blue Thunder and Murphy, and finally to get Blue Thunder and Murphy destroyed in a head-to-head chopper duel between Murphy and Cochrane.
I like this movie a lot. It's a taut, high-paranoia action film where the paranoia is justified. All the actors do fine jobs. Scheider is authoritative and troubled. McDowell is thoroughly unlikable but always watchable. Stern makes Lymangood a goofy, good-natured guy who doesn't deserve what happens to him. Candy Clark as Murphy's girl friend is a sweet, slightly off-centered delight who is brave and determined when she needs to be. Warren Oates plays Murphy's boss in great style. And the city of Los Angeles comes off well, too. The action sequences take us in a fast tour the city from a bird's eye view, from over downtown, past and around sky scrapers, low and fast over freeways and down to the concrete-encased Los Angeles River.
5.0 out of 5 stars The original super chopper - great film!,
Although I also love the short-lived follow-up TV series starring James Farentino, the original film here starring the excellent Roy Schneider and Malcolm McDowell is far superior, a great plot looking at secret government plans to use the chopper for crowd control and worse while regular aero police officer Murphy (Schneider) tries to blow the whistle on it before he is blown out of the skies by McDowell. Some of the dialogue may be a little dated now, but do buy this, it's a great action film with wonderful performances from the two leading men.
5.0 out of 5 stars PLENTY OF ACTION HERE.,
A very good film if you like to see helicopters like this in action. The story was good, well acted and mind bending to watch the way that helicopter gets around the buildings etc. Thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
4.0 out of 5 stars video,
This is a great adventure film. If you love stories about helicopters you'll love this one. A great intro to the series of the same name
5.0 out of 5 stars This has always been a favourite,
This has always been a favourite of mine, I liked Roy Scheider as an actor and he turns in a brilliant performance, it could have been lost so easily by being overplayed but he doesn't and you believe it. The helicopter is believable and the extras are fabulous, never seen them before.
Bluray quality is good, sound is also good.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good plot, gripping,
The film is really gripping and the plot is coherent, although hi-tech in the movie dated now and one may not want to watch it over and over again. Nevertheless, a nice memoir of an era when such "super" helicopters, cars etc were dreamed of...
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Thunder DVD Blue-ray,
Great DVD, good sound and picture, feels like you are there in the film, great buy, love it, thank you.
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Blue Thunder by John Badham (DVD)
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