The Blue Thunder Remake Will Not Be About a Helicopter

By  · Published on March 17th, 2015

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.

Remember Blue Thunder? I do, but not well, and that’s for personal reasons as much as it’s for the fact that it’s a 32-year-old drama that hasn’t been thought of much by anyone beyond some hardcore fans. The personal reason for me is the opposite of the reason most of those fans love it: I hate (really, I’m afraid of) helicopters. It’s the same reason I didn’t get into the TV series it inspired, Airwolf (it also spun-off its own shorter-lived show). Anyway, it’s being remade, which is fine given there’s only a minority of people who’ll cry out in protest. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, fortunately for me, it won’t be about a helicopter.

I knew before I even clicked on Slashfilm’s post on the movie, the headline of which doesn’t mention this, that the remake would be about drones. Never mind how that will change the action for the main character. Everything is about drones now, either literally or metaphorically. I addressed Hollywood’s fascination in a post on the trailer for Good Kill, which is literally about drone warfare. The new Blue Thunder will also be the literal employment of military type drones by a metropolitan police force to deal with civil disobedience. There’s no indication that the remake will similarly be set in Los Angeles, especially as there’s no use for a Summer Olympics tie-in the way the original had.

Now, if they could rush this thing through in time for next year, a Blue Thunder remake with drones set in Rio de Janeiro, which is hosting the 2016 Summer Games, and directed by Brazilian filmmaker Jose Padilha, who made the Elite Squad movies and the recent RoboCop remake, which involved drone metaphors, that would be amazing. Unfortunately there’s just not enough time for such magic.

Whatever less cool incarnation this Blue Thunder takes, it will be scripted by Craig Kyle (Thor: Ragnarok) and produced by Dana Brunetti (Fifty Shades of Grey; The Social Network). The original starred Roy Scheider and was written by AliensDan O’Bannon and directed by John Badham. Watch a trailer with commentary from Badham below.

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.