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Peter’s Retro Movie Reviews: Black Moon Rising (1986)

Black Moon Rising (1986) Movie Posterby Peter Nielsen

Sam Quint is a thief! A professional thief, no less! A thief for hire! The movie opens with him breaking into the Lucky Dollar Corporation. He’s hired by the FBI to steal a data-tape from this company, a tape that contains incriminating evidence, which is needed as proof in an upcoming trial. But things go slightly wrong and he ends up fleeing out of the building chased by both guards and bullets. He now needs to hide the tape.

Elsewhere in an unspecified desert, we see a car being tested. It’s an experimental prototype that runs on alternate fuel and it is super-fast. The name of the car is the Black Moon and Quint ends up hiding the data-tape in it. He quickly discovers that the car is to be transported to a very high-class place called The Betsy (don’t ask), where the developers are to meet with some very wealthy businessmen to further finance the project.

Unfortunately for them and Quint the place is hit by professional and organized car-thieves who specializes in stealing expensive luxury-cars, fixing them up and later selling them to wealthy and picky buyers. With the car gone, the tape is gone! For Quint this means explaining to the FBI why he’s not in possession of the tape anymore and that’s not an easy task since one of the agents is played by the late Bubba Smith. You know… Officer Moses Hightower from the Police Academy movies? He utters one of the funniest lines I’ve heard in a long time. Quint is giving them a little attitude and Agent Johnson (Smith) leans in menacingly and says: “Don’t f**k with the government!” I don’t know… it just comes out of nowhere and it actually made me laugh out loud. They give him three days to get the tape back.

The Black Moon Project

The Black Moon Project

The problem is that the car is being stored in a heavily guarded underground facility. The owner of this building and also the head of the car-stealing “franchise” is one Ed Ryland, played by none other than Robert Vaughn (The Magnificent Seven, The Delta Force, Bullitt, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and a butt-ton of other movies). Mr. Ryland is a ruthless man and in complete control of this business. Well, almost! The rest of the movie is basically Quint breaking in to get both the car and tape back. Oh, and in case you’re wondering why he bothers about the car? The developers have asked him to help them!

Quint is played by the great Tommy Lee Jones from The Package, The Fugitive and Blown Away just to mention a handful. Nina, who’s in charge of stealing the cars is played by Linda Hamilton (Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dante’s Peak) and just like Quint, she’s good at what she does and takes crap from no-one. The scenes with these two are great, there’s good chemistry between them.

I found myself getting a little bit annoyed with Mr. Quint and his damn leather jacket. He wore it all the friggin’ time and in every scene in the first half of the movie. It got to the point where I talked back to the screen with a “C’mon man” and “Are you friggin’ kidding me?”

How the hell does this thing work?

How the hell does this thing work?

He never once took it off, except for the obligatory love-making scene, which I incidentally am NOT complaining about ‘cause Linda Hamilton is hot! But after that everything was ok! Leather jacket not so frequent anymore, or maybe I just didn’t notice… or care, because Linda Hamilton is hot! And I know I’ve already written that, but she is…

The movie started a little bit so-so, I felt the editing was a bit off and the acting a tad weak. I don’t know… it just felt… meh, and I was disappointed, you know, because I had fond memories of it. I remembered it to be better. BUT… it grew on me and after a while I really got into it and just enjoyed the hell out of the action and thrills. The stunts are good and the car-chases are very well handled. The fight-scenes are very brutal and the one where Quint gets the crap beaten out of him actually hurt to watch.

There are also some good names in and around Black Moon Rising. Apart from the aforementioned actors there are other recognizable faces too. Lee Ving (Clue, Streets of Fire) as Marvin Ringer, a man who is also a thief for hire, but uses more brawn than brains to get the

DAMN!!! It's the wrong tape...

DAMN!!! It’s the wrong tape…

job done. I like Lee Ving! He’s a great actor and plays a good thug. You might also recognize William Sanderson (The Rocketeer, Blade Runner) as Tyke, the deaf and mute mechanic on the Black Moon Project.

Black Moon Rising is directed by Harley Cokeliss (Warlords of the 21st Century, Malone) and written by none other than John Carpenter. Yes, boys & girls and ladies & gentlemen… THE John Carpenter, so there’s nothing wrong story-wise. As I wrote earlier, it only started out a tad weak, but the last three-quarters of the movie was pure, classic, 80’s action-flick. The score is by Lalo Schifrin (Sudden Impact, The Amityville Horror (1979), Rush Hour) so there are no complaints on the music either.

BTW? If you think you’ve seen the actor portraying Quint’s old friend, Iron John, before? Chances are that you probably have. It’s Keenan Wynn and just like Robert Vaughn he’s been in a crap-ton of movies. Orca, The Mechanic (1972), Once Upon A Time In The West, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb, Point Blank to name a couple. He was also “Digger” Barnes on the TV-show Dallas. The man has close to 300 titles to his name!!! Yup, let’s give credit where credit is due, right?

Until next time my friends…

 

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