John Badham’s 1983 action thriller Blue Thunder turned out to be a rather prophetic film for its time. In it, Roy Scheider plays an LAPD pilot who discovers that the force’s newest helicopter, outfitted with advance weapons, stealth and surveillance capabilities, is part of a plot by a faction of the military to be able to use lethal force against people should crowds at the upcoming Summer Olympics get out of hand. Even if you have never seen the film, from just that description you can see themes about the militarization of the police and concerns over privacy issues, themes that continue to resonate even more strongly today. And that might be why Columbia Pictures is looking at remaking the film for modern audiences.
The Hollywood Reporter is bringing us word about the remake, which former Marvel Studios exec Craig Kyle will be scripting for producer Dana Brunetti. According to the Reporter, the film’s premise will be updated to the “world’s most advanced drone instead of a tricked out helicopter.”
Unsurprisingly, as the use of drones have been a hot button topic in the news for the last couple of years, Hollywood has more than just this film heading our way. On May 15 IFC has Good Kill with Ethan Hawke hitting theaters while director Gavin Hood’s Eye In The Sky, with Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman and Barkhad Abdi, should be debuting later this year.
I have to admit that it has been years, OK decades, since I’ve watched Blue Thunder and while I remember it as a solid thriller, I certainly don’t have a problem with a studio taking a second run at the material, especially given the continual topicality of the original’s themes.