Tag Archives: Linda Hamilton

Black Moon Rising (1986)

black moon

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Stolen disk in car.

Earl Windom (Richard Jaeckel) has created an experimental automobile that can go up to 325 mph while running on nothing but tap water. He’s testing out the vehicle in the remote desert when he comes into contact with Quint (Tommy Lee Jones) a thief working for the F.B.I. who’s stolen a disk with incriminating evidence. To avoid others who are chasing after him he hides the disk inside the car’s back bumper. When Earl and his team drive away with the prototype vehicle on a truck bed Quint follows them to L.A. in order to retrieve the disk, but gets thwarted when the group stops off at a posh restaurant where the car is stolen by professional car thieves led by Nina (Linda Hamilton). Nina takes the car to a high-rise building owned by Ed (Robert Vaughan) where it’s stored in an underground parking garage that’s inaccessible to the public at large. Quint then teams up with Earl and eventually Nina to find a way to get to the car and ultimately the disk despite Ed using every maneuver he can to stop them.

The film was produced by New World Pictures, which delivered some good movies, but also some low budget ones that were devoid of anything original and completely dependent on mindless action to make it work. This one starts out like it’s part of the latter ones by appearing to have been filmed on video and then transferred to film, but the script, written by John Carpenter, is well paced and has enough twists to keep it engaging. Director Harley Cokeliss captures the wintertime desert landscape of eastern California well and the film does feature an interesting climax where Sam and Nina are unable to drive the car out of the building, which culminates with them being forced to drive it at high speeds inside a limited space, which is something you don’t see too often.

The supporting cast helps, which includes former punk rocker Lee Ving as a bad guy and retired football player Bubba Smith as a federal agent who shares a love-hate partnership with Quint. It’s also fun to see William Sanderson, best known for playing Larry, the talking-half of the Darryl brothers in the ‘Newhart’ TV-show, playing a deaf mute though he exits too early and his death scene, where he gets hit by a car which causes his body to spring up high in the air, looked cartoonish. It was also disappointing seeing talented character actor Keenan Wynn, in his final film appearance, strapped to a hospital bed with nothing much to say or do.

As for the leading actors I really liked Linda Hamilton, in some ways better than in Terminator, though the black wig that she wears at the beginning, which she thankfully gets rid of, was close to unbearable. Jones on the other-hand is an acquired taste. Some people love him though to me he seems too detached and not emotionally into his part enough to make it entertaining, or for the viewer to particularly care what happens to him.

Many fans of this film will list the car chase that occurs in downtown L.A. at night as their favorite scene, but I felt this was a letdown as the prototype vehicle, driven by Hamilton, is able to drive through the busy streets at high speeds, but manages somehow not to hit anyone. Someone not used to driving a car at such speeds would most likely lose control of it, or been hit by another car when it continuously goes through one red light after another.

The finale is contrived as Jones and Hamilton are seen care-freely walking away from the damage and chaos that they caused without having to answer to the police even though I’d think they’d have a lot of explaining to do before they’d be allowed to leave the scene. The film though as a whole is well done for what it’s worth. It’s nothing profound, or intellectual, but as a basic action flick it adequately delivers.

black moon 2

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: January 10, 1986

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Rated R

Director: Harley Cokeliss

Studio: New World Pictures

Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Video, Tubi, YouTube

Tag: The Assassination Game (1982)

tag 1

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 6 out of 10

4-Word Review: Playing with dart guns.

A new fad has caught on at a nondescript college campus where students play an assassination game by killing off other students with dart guns. The one who assassinates the most while still surviving wins. Alex (Robert Carradine) who writes for the school newspaper decides to do an expose on the game in an attempt to better get to know its star player Susan (Linda Hamilton). Unfortunately for them the game’s 5-time champion Gersch (Bruce Abbott) has gone over to the dark side and now using real bullets in his gun. As the game whittles down to just Susan and Gersch the tension mounts for her to catch on to his murderous plans before it is too late.

For a low budget film with only the most modest of settings this thing isn’t too bad. The dialogue is snappy and the story proceeds at a good pace. The opening credits, which is a parody of the ones done on James Bond films is cute and it’s great to see Linda in her official film debut playing the same type of strong-willed female that brought to greater prominence in The Terminator franchise. Carradine is good too as her awkward suitor and the fact that this film plays against sexual stereotypes by having the male in more of a passive role is refreshing.

The film’s playful parody and the way the players take this silly game so very seriously is funny and having the second half shift to more of the conventional ‘psycho-on-the-loose’ plot made it less original and more formulaic. I understood why Gersch kills the first player using a real bullet, but was confused why he would keep on killing them and not go back to just using darts. He could’ve still retained his champion title and passed off the first killing as being possibly just an accident, but by continuing to kill people and harboring their corpses in the closet of his room was clearly going to lead to an eventual long jail sentence that even the craziest of persons could see coming. It also might have been more interesting had the identity of who was using real bullets was kept a mystery until the end.

Even with these drawbacks I still found myself entertained and the film has strong cult potential for fans of low budget 80’s flicks. It’s also interesting to note that Hamilton and Abbott, who first met while filming this, later ended up getting married and having one child.

My Rating: 6 out of 10

Released: April 20, 1982

Runtime: 1Hour 30Minutes

Rated PG

Director: Nick Castle

Studio: New World Pictures

Available: VHS