When starting to watch this movie I was expecting an Airwolf like experience with a super technical armed helicopter as the centrepiece of the movie and all of the action revolving around the helicopter acrobatics. I was positively surprised to find out that Blue Thunder is actually a pretty decent action thriller on its own right, and that the helicopter action is just another layer on top of that cake.
Roy Scheider fares well as the seasoned, wry humoured cop leading the show. I never was a huge fan of Malcolm McDowell outside his work in A Clockwork Orange, and here as well he doesn’t either convince as the rivalling antagonist helicopter pilot, no matter how nasty he tries to be on the screen. Daniel Stern’s performance as the likeable rookie pilot feels so natural that you’d be hard pressed to find a replacement for him.
No review of Blue Thunder would be complete without mentioning how it inspired the similarly named Sega’s 1987 arcade super hit Thunder Blade, which famously went as far in its admiration to using a scan from the movie as its title screen. Blue Thunder also spawned a short-lived TV show that ran for 11 episodes.