Blue Thunder (1983)

Genres - Action  |   Sub-Genres - Action Thriller, Police Detective Film  |   Release Date - May 13, 1983 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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This 1983 production gets an A for its rousing action and an F for its farfetched plot and shallow characters. The film is really a rip-off of Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic, Jaws (whether witting or unwitting), with Roy Scheider again portraying a likeable Irish-American policeman. In the opening scenes, an innocent female dies in an attack, just as in Jaws, and Scheider discovers the perpetrator: a cabal of government conspirators operating in the undercurrents of Los Angeles after dark. But after the mayor brands him a troublemaking meddler (as in Jaws), Scheider -- this time in the role of helicopter cop Frank Murphy in lieu of Amity Island police chief Martin Brody -- decides to take on the conspirators himself with the help of a callow sidekick (also as in Jaws). Instead of a shark-tracking boat, Scheider uses a menacing helicopter (Blue Thunder) -- the conspirators' own weapon, which he commandeers -- in an attempt to vanquish the villains. The action sequences are impressive. After helicopters duel in skyscraper canyons, planes, trains, and automobiles get in on the action. Buildings collapse, a restaurant explodes, and a duct-taped captive kickboxes his way to freedom. Meanwhile, a car carrying a secret audio disk races toward a TV studio with incriminating evidence. But, alas, the dialogue and character development are as moving as a slow lane.