July 1, 2016
I watched this movie over and over on VHS as a kid -- I had recorded it off broadcast TV. I loved the helicopter, Blue Thunder -- it was so cool and I get nostalgic every time I think about it. I picked up the Blu-ray for $2 and just watched the film. The movie has not stood the test of time, but it is not bad either.
Blue Thunder follows Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider), a Vietnam veteran who suffers from PTSD. Apparently, he is a great helicopter pilot, but like Maverick of Top Gun, a pilot who doesn't follow orders too good. After a strange scene where Murphy and his partner creepily peep in on a nude actress doing some even stranger contortions, they are ensnared in a conspiracy. The conspiracy has something to do with the government causing upheaval in Los Angeles neighborhoods and the need to build a helicopter with a ginormous gun on the front to quell the problem. It doesn't make much sense and is a pretty thin plot.
The film is full of 80s style machismo, like Malcolm McDowell spouting his tough guy catchphrase while making a finger pistol at other characters. The technology is equally 80s, complete with one of the goofiest looking watches I have seen on screen. The action scenes are largely bloodless, but are well done and exciting. The star of the film is Blue Thunder and Murphy said what I was thinking, that the thing looks way too nose heavy. But, whatever -- it flies fast; has lots of glowing buttons and screens; and has a giant cannon mounted on the nose. It even has turbo! Wow!
So, after 33 years, do I still like the film? Yup! It is entertaining and the helicopter stil looks badass. Sure, there's not much in the way of story, but whatever is there works and is enough to carry the movie along.