Sunday, July 24, 2011
BLACK MOON RISING (1986) - Harley Cokeliss
For a movie about a top secret, high speed super car, Black Moon Rising is pretty slow going in its first hour. The film starts with some light intrigue involving freelance thief, Quint (Tommy Lee Jones), breaking into a corporation by way of a dubious device that blinks a lot when attached to the building's passcode panel. He steals an incriminating tape and later hides it in the rear bumper of said supercar rather than hand it over to the Feds who hired him (William Sanderson, Bubba Smith). Most dubious of all, the inventors of the super car then decide to go clubbing on the Sunset Strip at some joint called "The Betsy" and leave the keys with attendant outside along with the other Mercedes.
Now, I lived in L.A. for five years and had a pretty crappy Toyota Echo with a terrible light blue "swoosh" on the side. I rarely took the valet parking option, mostly due to embarrassment. But I'm pretty sure if I owned a stylish black top secret super car I wouldn't valet park it either. Seems like a bonehead play as far as super cars go. How mad can you really be when Linda Hamilton steals it and your top secret government tape right out from under you?
Things get more exciting once Tommy Lee and Hamilton shack up and join forces to steal the car back from her employer Robert Vaughn, now ensconced in some highrise building in downtown L.A. The plan involves a combination of old reliables from the heist movie playbook: blinding security cams with laser beams, creating video playback loops to cover their tracks, repelling between two 80 story buildings, driving the super car out the window of one high rise and smashing through the other.
The usual tricks.
I wasn't quite as excited re-watching Black Moon Rising. Most of the fun this time came from seeing a younger Tommy Lee in a legitimate action hero role and the always welcome Bubba Smith. The script by old fave John Carpenter suffers mostly from the fact that, well, he didn't direct the thing. But must have made a strong impression on me as a kid. Check out this eerily similar auto-themed action thriller High Gear that I penciled up that same year (according to the copyright just above the giant gear shift).