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Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a radio controlled harbinger of death that's being piloted by an Air Force colonel in Nevada! That's right kids, drones are Hollywood catnip right now, as they've become the new clichéd menace in action and science fiction flicks that deal with technology gone wrong. Be it a new flick created from whole cloth, or in the case of Sony's latest project, yet another remake of a 1980's cult classic, the skies are about to get a little less friendlier. Looks like Blue Thunder is going to be striking in a completely different manner this time around.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that former Marvel Studios employee Craig Kyle is writing a remake of the Roy Scheider original for Columbia Pictures, with drones replacing a stealth helicopter at the center of the film’s plot. The original saw Scheider's character investigating suspicious deaths of political opponents who sought to shut down the project that led to the creation of the latest tool in urban pacification. Sure enough, the intrigue turns to weapons fire, as the only way to prevent the chopper from falling in the wrong hands is to keep it flying.
Blue Thunder isn't the only drone film to set its sights on flying into theaters and delivering a payload of social commentary. Just this year we've already got the Ethan Hawke starring Good Kill on the books, as well as Gavin Hood's Eye In The Sky anticipating release at some point this year. Not to mention, the fact that Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice will supposedly feature a Batman that uses drone strikes instead of gut punches for part of that film's crusade. So what puts Blue Thunder in a class of its own against these competitors? Watch the trailer below, and decide for yourself.
All 80's and Malcolm McDowell jokes aside, Blue Thunder looks like a concept that not only has aged well, but it's also one of those eerie flicks that seems to have seen one step ahead of society. Between the ethics of drones being used in combat, as well as the surveillance subplot that taps into the NSA fears of today, the film could be a double whammy of intelligence and action. Of course, if you watch that same trailer with the wrong frame of mind, you could see Blue Thunder as the perfect opportunity to cash in on a pre-existing name that includes a lot of neat looking stunts.
Blue Thunder has no release date to call home just yet, but don't be surprised if it manages to camp out in either an April or August action flick slot, as this film is going to either cash in on a new audience's unfamiliarity or crash and burn under its own weight.