Behind the cool title, Black Moon Rising hides a decent thriller based on John Carpenter’s story. It blends a lot of different elements into one potent and interesting mix. You have some futuristic elements like fast, experimental cars and hacking into terminals. But you also have heists, chases, fights, and criminal investigations. Everything feels familiar and cozy with an easygoing atmosphere. All this is done on a pretty tight budget, so don’t expect some wonders and you should be fine. It’s one of those movies you’ll enjoy watching but will ultimately forget.
Do you remember the eighties’ fascination with futuristic vehicles? You have Blue Thunder and Firefox coming out a couple of years earlier featuring helicopters and airplanes. The Wraith and No Man’s Land similarly revolve around cool cars and organized car thieves, respectively. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension starring Peter Weller also features a super-fast car breaking records and dimensions in the desert. And to top things off we have Stephen King’s classic Christine. However, I should add that in Black Moon Rising, the prototype car isn’t the focus of the story. It’s in the periphery as we follow Quint and his efforts to get a special disk and hook up with Nina, a sexy car thief.
Meet Sam Quint, a professional thief who used to help the FBI from time to time with their covert missions. Now, they hired him to steal a disk containing evidence crucial for the upcoming trial. He manages to get the disk and escape the facility unharmed. However, a security team is closing in on him fast, so Quint decides to stash the disk. The place he chooses for it will lead him in all sorts of trouble…
Tommy Lee Jones was excellent as the smooth but rugged criminal Quint, improvising most of his snappy lines. And Linda Hamilton proved that her great performance in The Terminator a couple of years earlier wasn’t a fluke. The supporting cast also features a couple of known faces that I will leave you to discover. After all the fame that came with No Country For Old Men, it was refreshing to see Tommy Lee in a different role. He played mostly law enforcement officers throughout the eighties so a wisecracking criminal is quite the change. Although, I have to admit that love scenes seemed a bit odd.
This is a fun little eighties action movie with a distinctive atmosphere. It will keep your attention with nifty gimmicks and fast pacing. Plus you would want to see that car in action. The prototype car in Black Moon Rising is called Wingho Concordia II, released in 1980. Only one model was ever built and the car we see in the movie is actually a copy from the same mold. Because of the tilted seat the stunt driver had incredibly difficult time steering. Moreover, the windshield was made out of highly reflective plexiglass, making it even harder to see where he was going. All this puts a new perspective on stunts in this movie.
Director: Harley Cokeliss
Writers: John Carpenter, Desmond Nakano, William Gray
Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Richard Jaeckel, Lee Ving, Bubba Smith, Nick Cassavetes
Fun Facts: Linda Hamilton despised working with Tommy Lee Jones. Jones had been struggling with alcoholism at the time.