Monday, June 6, 2016

Blue Thunder

Year 8, Day 158 - 6/6/16 - Movie #2,357

BEFORE: Just over one week with the new cat in the basement, and she's finally letting me see her again - before tonight, she would just stay in her hiding place, I'd come down and leave a bowl of food, which would be gone the next time I checked on her, a few hours later.  Just yesterday we finally found where she was going to the bathroom, (hint: it wasn't the litter box) and so I moved the litter box over to that spot - this sort of thing makes it difficult to tell if we're training the cat, or if she's training us.

But tonight I came downstairs with the food, left the bowl on the floor, made the usual "kissy" noises, and then went into the spare bedroom/man-cave to burn a DVD.  She came out to eat while I was in the next room, and I was even able to take a few photos of her, to prove that she still exists, and is not just a ghost/ninja kitty.  Give me another week and who knows, maybe I'll be petting her again, like I used to do when she was our backyard cat.  

Roy Scheider carries over again from "The Seven-Ups", and I'm just about to open up the "Burt Locker" for the next 12 films.  But first, there's a little matter of a futuristic helicopter to deal with - futuristic by 1983 standards, that is, so it was futuristic in the past.  Or something like that. 

THE PLOT:  The cop test pilot for an experimental police helicopter learns the sinister implications of the new vehicle.

AFTER: I'm going to keep this relatively short tonight, because I was out at a wrap party for this animated feature whose production is now done done DONE after about three years of shooting, so I'm still a little groggy from drinking beer on a boat that's permanently moored on the west side of Manhattan.  At some point I couldn't tell if the boat was swaying, or if it was me.  I don't think I've been on a boat for a couple years, so I definitely lost my sea legs since the last cruise we took.  Then I stumbled to the comic-book store, because I couldn't make it there on Friday, and then I had to eat a couple of things at McDonald's just to regain my senses for the subway trip home.   I'm never proud after eating at Mickey D's (who is?) but about once a year, it's just the thing to do, especially if I need to sober up fast. 

Anyway, "Blue Thunder" isn't really a film that aged well, simply because it was trying to peek into the future of war technology, and the best it could do was to come up with a helicopter that could run silently, eavesdrop on office buildings with advanced microphones and thermal imaging, and record everything on it's state of the art video-decks, in the soon-to-be-defunct 3/4" tape format.  I was personally using 3/4" tapes for storage at work until about two years ago, but the main reason for that was that it was the format I started storing commercials on in 1998, and I didn't want to change.  I did, however, back up all of the 3/4" tapes to DVD, just in case the companies edit decks ever broke and couldn't be fixed, which they eventually did.  But still, I knew I was probably the last person anywhere still using that format. 

One of those 3/4" videotapes features prominently in this film's most confusing, or perhaps pointless moment.  Scheider's Murphy (he's always named "Murphy", isn't he?  Or I guess sometimes he's "Buddy" or "Brody", but it's always something like that...) needs to find the missing video-tape, which his partner has informed him (via answering machine message, ah, the 1980's...) was stashed in a drive-in theater's dumpster, and he knows for a fact (how?) that they don't empty that dumpster every day.  So Murphy sends his girlfriend (who drives like a maniac, like, all the time, BTW) to go get it, ostensibly because he can't go himself, because he's flying a giant helicopter, and he's being tracked, so if he goes to get it, then the bad guys looking for it will know where it is.  Then when the girlfriend is sorting through the trash in the dumpster, looking for the tape, he's flying DIRECTLY OVERHEAD in his helicopter, which doesn't help her at all, in fact the wake from his rotors is probably making her job a whole lot more difficult, and, silly me, I thought you couldn't go there yourself with the big, freaking helicopter - aren't you supposed to be somewhere else, throwing the people looking for the tape off of its trail?  

The reason that said helicopter exists is supposedly because of the 1984 Summer Olympics, which were going to be held in Los Angeles, and even back then the guvmint realized that having people from all over the world in one city could unwillingly bring terrorism to the city, and nothing defeats terrorists than a giant helicopter with floodlights and very sensitive microphones, umm, I guess?  Look, it's all very simple, they just can't explain how a helicopter with missiles and machine guns stops terrorism, perhaps it's just a deterrent, but really, if you're bringing out the helicopters with machine guns, chances are that the terrorism is already there, and deterring it has probably failed. 

I was also very unclear on what the big, bad villainous plot was.  I get that someone was going to use the helicopter for not-so-good purposes, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what those were going to be.  Yeah, I get that the plot involved killing a councilwoman, but I don't even see who that crime benefitted, or how.  It's all very muddled. 

Also starring Warren Oates (last seen in "The Border"), Candy Clark (last seen in "Cat's Eye"), Daniel Stern (last seen in "Stardust Memories"), Malcolm McDowell (last seen in "Sunset"), Joe Santos, Paul Roebling, David Sheiner, Anthony James, Ed Bernard, Jason Bernard, James Murtaugh.

RATING: 4 out of 10 traffic cones

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