I dig car chase movies and who doesn’t love a great heist flick, the Fast & Furious movies certainly prove that these are two great tastes that taste great together. So when you have a film starring Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton and deals with a prototype super car that they have to steal back from the villainous Robert Vaughn, well that’s the kind of movie I just have to watch. Directed by Harley Cokeliss from a story and screenplay by John Carpenter Black Moon Rising is 80s action at its coolest.
The plot follows the adventures of Quint (Tommy Lee Jones), a professional thief who is adept at breaking into even the most secure buildings. Now it seems the government has exhausted all legal procedures to get evidence against a Las Vegas corporation so they turn to Quint to break in and retrieve crucial tax information for their Grand Jury investigation.
Quint has no problem getting in and finding the needed data tape but on the way out he encounters a rival thief Marvin Ringer (Lee Ving), who is currently working for the crooked company. While escaping amongst a hail of machine gun bullets Quint’s car is severely damaged and he is forced to hide the tape under the license plate of a vehicle that had been towed into a gas station. The car in question is the Black Moon, a 300-MPH prototype vehicle made of Kevlar which is hydrogen powered. This supercar was designed by Earl Windom (Richard Jaeckel), built by deaf mechanic Tyke Thaedon (William Sanderson), and driven by Billy Lyons (Dan Shor).
Windom and company take the Black Moon to an upscale Hollywood restaurant to show a potential investor while Quint had followed them there, but before he has a chance to retrieve the hidden tape a group of professional car thieves led by Nina (Linda Hamilton) steal all the high end cars in the restaurant parking lot including the Black Moon. Quint is unable to keep up with Nina, who is driving the stolen super car, but he is able to track down where she went. The car theft ring is run by Ed Ryland (Robert Vaughn) who operates his criminal enterprises from a secret basement level under his twin tower business complex.
There is a bit of a time crunch as Agent Johnson (Bubba Smith) tells Quint that if he doesn’t get them the tape in three days he will transfer all the heat he gets from his superiors to Quint’s body. With Marvin and his goons hot on his trail, as well as Ryland insane security system now in the mix, the chances of success are very slim indeed. The only help he’s got comes from the previous owners of the Black Moon who would really like their “one of a kind” car back and invaluable information from Iron John (Keenan Wynn) a construction foreman who helped build the towers . With pressure coming on all sides Quint takes solace in the fact that he may be able to get an “inside man” if his powers of seduction can work.
It’s here that the movie goes into full on heist mode as they track down blueprints to Ryland’s building, find the man who helped install some of the security methods, and then train themselves for the big night. Everything will have to go like clockwork.
Black Moon Rising has it all, an amazing cast littered with great character actors, a fantastically cool car of the future, all the great heist moments one expects in a film of this type; cutting alarm feeds, beams splitters screwing up cameras, recording and looping security said footage, a grappling gun launched cable from one building to another to allow Quint access, crawling through ductwork, and blowing the shit out of stuff. When Quint and Nina finally team-up we are treated to a harried chase through the villain’s lair until they make their final daring break.
They land safely in the other tower… well, not too safe as Marvin and his thugs are waiting, but Quint is through fucking around and beats the living crap out of all of them. Agent Johnson shows up to get the tape and Quint gets paid so that he and Nina can now retire and spend some more quality time together.
Much of this film rests solely on the charismatic shoulders of Tommy Lee Jones; the MacGuffin tape is a very thinly veiled plot device and the reason for Quint hiding it in the Black Moon made little to no sense but was simply required to get the story moving. Little faults aside if you are a fan of 80s action films you won’t be disappointed in Black Moon Rising.