Blue Thunder (1983) It’s Raining Cooked Chicken With Brody And Marv In A Chopper

This nostalgia look back review is for Blue Thunder from 1983

Tagline –The Skies Will Never Be the Same!.” (Wow! What a rubbish tagline!)

Who’s our hero today?
Hey it’s Bruce Botherer, Brody aka Roy Scheider. The shark man from Jaws (1975/1978). He would repent his sins of hating and blowing up marine animals when he became Captain Nathan Bridger in SeaQuest 2032 (1993/96) and had a talking dolphin crew member! Was I the only person to watch that series? hehe it was pretty good fun.

Had I seen this one on VHS back in the day?
I was sure I had! Though I didn’t remember any of it! I was waiting for Garth Algar and Officer Hightower to turn up and then it dawned on me I’d watched the series. Blue Thunder (1984)

Quick plot run down.
A controversial top secret combat advanced helicopter called Blue Thunder. Designed for use at large scale events that had potential to turn into terrorist attacks or riots. Blue Thunder was equipped with a completely over the top weapons systems, everything from thermal imaging to microphones and onboard computer link ups. The project is called THOR (Tactical Helicopter Offensive Response) and pushed through possible corrupt channels. Resulting in the death of city council witness. What was needed was an ace police air support helicopter pilot suffering from PTSD.

Does the hero have a day job?
Frank Murphy (Roy Scheider) works for the Metropolitan Police Department. A helicopter pilot that offers support to the on ground police force. Assisting arm robberies and car jackings etc. Frank is one of the best pilots on the squad but suffers terrible bouts of traumatic stress from tours in Vietnam. One of which haunts him constantly.

What’s our heroes special skills?
Flashbacks of Vietnam constantly trouble Frank but he’s got a system to help ease the pain and stay in control. “What is it Mikey?” His trusty stop watch! Yep. He takes solace in the count down from a minute setting on his watch. Keeps him focused.

Some hotshot –He checks his sanity with a wrist watch!?
Captain Jack Braddock replies “What do you check yours with, a dipstick?

Heroes weapon of choice?
Blue Thunder! Which out of it’s many special technical skills, it can either fire four thousand rounds of ammunition per minute with its six barrel forward mounted gun, or you can hear a mouse fart at 2000 ft! Nuff said…

Heroes drink of choice?
Well it has to be Narragansett Beer! His past life persona Brody always raises a beer to Sam Quint when he reminisces back to that pesky shark.

Does hero have a sidekick?
Yes he does. He gets assigned a rookie observer called Richard Lymangood. Who is played by a very fresh faced Daniel Stern of Marv from Home Alone (1990/92) and Phil from City Slickers (1991/94) fame. Lymangood is an “innocent” lad who’s willing to learn, especially when he finds out what kind of peeping tommery you can get up to with the tech of a state of the art helicopter…

Hot girl? Damsel in distress or ass kicker?
Candy Clark plays Brody’s estranged girlfriend Kate. She’s very quirky but loves her troubled fella. She gets to go on a dangerous mission to retrieve a missing VHS cassette tape in drive through cinema’s trash cart. If you can help it, don’t let her drive! She’s wild. She has no fear driving the wrong way down a busy street.

Who’s the main baddie?
A slimmy Brit and his old Vietnam wartime nemesis, Colonel F.E. Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell). He is the chief test pilot for Blue Thunder and extremely smug and annoying. Capt. Jack Braddock –Irritating little cocksucker, isn’t he?

Baddies special skills?
He has two catch phases “That’s impossible” and whilst pointing his finger like a gun “Catch you later!” Yeah, like Frank, you’ll be wanting to punch him.

Psycho baddies rating out of ten? 6/10
He’s a down right dirty playing mofo. Sabotaging a helicopter for Frank to fly and then going bat-shit crazy in a small tactical military chopper.

Heroes balls of steel and anger ratings out of ten? 8/10
Franks pretty calm and collective as long as he’s got his trusty watch.

Surely it features a training montage scene?
Not really a montage but we do get to watch Blue Thunder in action at a special invite exhibition to show off it’s power. A mocked up street of cardboard cut out figures of good guys and bad guys. With woman and children as well. With the promise that Blue Thunder will hit only the bad guy figures. It’s not long before the goodies start taking multiple hits. All being mowed down in a fire storm of bullets. “One civilian dead for every ten terrorists. That’s an acceptable ratio!!!” Some official sleazebag mutters…

Does the hero get a chance to show off their muscles?
No we don’t get any lean top off action from our hero here. Sure it wouldn’t fit regulation helicopter attire either!

Will I be needing to pause the video player? AKA are there any boobies?
OH MY DAYS! I almost feel dirty writing this one down! But I’m a professional here and through gritted teeth I will persevere (or should that be perv-esevere) for you kinky lot out there. Yeah I know “What a guy that Mikey is!

Naked yoga anyone? And eye bulging poses and a Persian rug to drop your jaw to the floor. Yeah I did some research for you. Anna Forrest (apt name for what we see) is still a famous yoga teacher. It is said she filmed another scene with her workout clothes on to keep the censors happy. It’s quite a bizarre scene and if she’d had beans for breakfast I’m sure we would of heard it from the our sofa’s! The police helicopter drops down to her apartment window where she turns up promptly to do her naked yoga workout show. And a whole heap of impossible eye watering poses! I guess if you got the tech you have to use it?

And in another serious use of this future police tech the boys get to try out the super zoom on a “lady of the night”. To be honest her magnificent set of bazookas could probably be seen from the International Space Center. I’ll either leave this two scenes to your imagination or private searches.

Sex scene?
Spotting a police bike parked out on the street and testing the helicopter thermo imaging. They realise one of their fellow cops is on a booty call! Using the sensitive microphone set up they proceed to record him and his the lover in full motion. Accidentally turning the speakers on for the whole street to hear before flying off art speed. I know this film sounds more like Porky’s that a serious action thriller! The 80s hey!

Any good totally random surprise scenes?
It’s raining cooked chicken carcasses! Hundreds of them! Sounds wrong doesn’t it? Well it happens!

Films body count? Low/Medium/High
I’d say the body count was around six but when two F-16s turn up and unbelievably start firing missiles at our hero. There’s a few skyscrapers that take a hit which took out a few floors!

Best death scene?
If you have Alektorophobia you sure gonna be cheering from your sofa to the barbecue and grill scene..

Explosion ratio? Low/Medium/High?
It was plodding along with the normal amount of 80’s action movie explosions when suddenly you get to the end and they blow the shit out of everything. Explosion ratio through the roof.

How many stuntmen probably really died making this film?
It’s noted in the trivia of two stunts that went bad but luckily no one was killed. A stunt driver who drove the police motorcycle chasing Kate, later crashed into the car breaking his ankle. Plus whilst filming the scene where Cochrane ambushes Blue Thunder at the incomplete skyscraper, the MD-500 Defender that “Cochrane” flew had engine failure. Fortunately, the parking lot was clear and the pilot landing safely and walked away uninjured with the helicopter only receiving slight damaged.

Best lines

Frank Murphy –Uh-oh… uh-oh. You’d better hold your nose. We’re in deep shit.

Frank Murphy –Grab your ankles and kiss your ass goodbye Jafo. We’re going down.

Any other familiar faces and actors pop up?
Captain Jack Braddock is non-other than Warren Oates. Whom you will no doubt know from classics like The Wild Bunch (1969) and Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974) to one of my personal favorites that I watched over and over as a kid, Stripes (1981) where he plays Sgt Hulka. I’ve shamefully only featured two film reviews with the brilliant Mister Oats which is very surprising, however, they are both great films, one is a classic and other is lesser known. “Dillinger (1973) Warren Oates Is Public Enemy Number One” and “Private Property (1960) Certificate Rejected For Saucy Manx“. Blue Thunder unfortunately would be one of Warren’s last film performances and he died not long after filming due to a heart attack. His character Captain Braddock does get to let loose with some wordy put-downs and words-of-wisdom like…

  • Captain Jack Braddock – “But there’s a bright side to this, and a moral. I think morals are good for you, I love morals, and the moral of this story is: If you’re walkin’ on eggs, don’t hop.
  • Captain Jack Braddock – “You’re supposed to be stupid, son. Don’t abuse the privilege.
  • Captain Jack Braddock – “I had twenty years in this outfit, when your idea of a good time was sittin’ in front of the TV tube, watchin’ Bugs Bunny and gnawing on your Fudgsicle!

Production Credits
Blue Thunder is directed by John Badham who was a movie machine. He worked with another Jaws actor in Richard Dreyfuss making the two very fun action comedy films with Emilo Estevez in Stakeout (1987/93). The cold war thriller WarGames (1983), family fun with “Johnny Five Alive” in Short Circuit (1986) and another great fun buddy action film in The Hard Way (1991) with Michael J Fox and the fantastic James Woods. John Badham also went disco crazy! With Saturday Night Fever (1977).

Cheese-O-Meter! Low/Medium/High?
It’s the eighties it’s gotta some cheese but generally this is low down and almost lactose free.

IMDB score rating – 6.4/10

Wolfman ACTION & FUN rating – 8/10

Wolfman over all film rating – 6.5/10

Closing thoughts………………………………………….
It’s on Netflix as I type and there I was innocently watching whilst eating my steak and chips when the yoga scene arrived and nearly blew my eye balls out. Hehe you could only get away with some of the more questionable scenes in this film due to it’s era. Of course, for a middle age man revisiting these films, it’s all part of the hilarity and fun. However, it does seem a little strange set in a otherwise serious thriller. Roy seems to walk though the film, Daniel Stern and Candy Clark are both excellent in their supporting roles. McDowell is just his usual self and it is sad to hear it was one of Warren Oates last performances but also great to have him on top form in his relativity small part. What does really shine out is the helicopter scenes. I’m guessing some of it was brilliant looking miniature models but the majority was real. Massive kudos to all the stunt pilots.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the films if you want. However, most important, have fun with the movies.

Keep it filmy…. Mikey Wolf.

3 thoughts on “Blue Thunder (1983) It’s Raining Cooked Chicken With Brody And Marv In A Chopper

  1. Always nice to see these 80s action reviews! Got some good laughs out of this one. Not seen the film since I was a kid, but I’m guessing it must have been cut a bit for TV? I do remember them spying on the yoga lady but not in quite so much, um, detail.


  2. We watched this again several years ago just for fun…and had lots of fun. I love Roy Schneider, for one thing. One wouldn’t think you could cast him in a movie about Bob Fosse… but I was fascinated that he pulled it off. Of course, later when they cast Sam Rockwell in a mini series about Fosse…genius! ‘Cause Sam can actually dance. But even though Roy wasn’t a dancer, he did a great job. That’s one of my favorite movies.
    I think we all have something to be thankful for, though, Mikey, and that’s that you didn’t choke on your steak when the naked yoga scene started up!! Was anybody home??!! Nobody to do the Heimlich maneuver, Mikey !!! lol Of course, hubby likes that scene too. But I guess that goes without saying, lol


  3. Well, I’m not sure I’ve seen this one…if it was a VHS (or Beta!) rental during the golden days of my video store youth, I remember nothing about. And I’m sure I would’ve remembered that yoga scene, so I’m guessing no, I haven’t seen it.

    I used to get this confused with Black Moon Rising for some reason, but now I’ve seen THAT one, I can’t use that excuse anymore. I’m sure Blue Thunder is available at my library, so I’ll be making a trip over there soon.

    And just so I’ve got this straight: was it Blue Thunder or the street walker who had a magnificent set of bazookas?


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