The Film: Black Moon Rising (1986)

The Principals: Director: Harley Cokeliss, Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton, Robert Vaughn, Richard Jaeckel, Lee Ving, Bubba Smith, Dan Shor, Keenan Wynn, Nick Cassavetes.  Written by John Carpenter.

The Premise: A former CIA agent, Sam Quint (Jones) hides a cassette with valuable information in a concept car called the Black Moon, in order to keep it out of the hands of a rival former agent, Marvin Ringer (Ving).  But the car is stolen by a beautiful car thief named Nina (Hamilton) before he can retrieve the cassette and taken to the HQ of a car theft ring headed by Ed Ryland (Vaughn).  So Quint must convince Nina to help him get the car back, with the help of the car’s driver and crew before the next day.

Is It Good: Here’s the thing.  Sometimes when I come up with a flick for the MOD, I agonize over which film to do, and whether or not I remember enough about it if I haven’t seen it in a long time.  Sometimes though, a movie will just pop into my head, which is what Black Moon Rising did as I was starting the article.  So when that happens, you’ve got to go with it.  Thing is though, I haven’t seen this movie all the way through in probably 15 or 20 years.  But I do remember catching it often on cable and really digging it, not just for the car, but also for Hamilton and Jones, and that ridiculous stunt at the end of the movie.  You know which one I mean (it’s the clip  at the bottom).  The film’s also got Robert Vaughn and Bubba Smith, is the height of ’80s kitsch, and was written by John Carpenter, so what’s not to like?

Here’s what I remember.  Jones was a smarmy type of former CIA agent or something.  There’s one scene in particular where he’s getting the snot beaten out of him by some thugs, has to crawl to his car and unleashes a surprise on said thugs.  Hamilton is a high-end car thief and Vaughn was her mentor, who plucked her off the street to work for him.  I believe he had a creepy thing for her.  And after the big stunt at the end, one of the Black Moon’s guys remarks that forget the car market, they need to inform the jet market of the  car’s abilities. And that’s it.

The Black Moon was not only a one-off concept car in the movie, but also in real life, as it was based on the 1980 Wingho Concordia II designed by Bernard Beaujardins and Clyde Kwok (thanks Wikipedia).  It had a Knight Rider-kind of turbo boost that got it up to around 300 mph (in the movie at least).  Used to think it was awesome back in the day, but looking at it now, it looks like a souped up solar panel car.  And I should know because I went to a geek college that built one of those things for competitive racing for a couple of years.  So now, even though my DVR is filled nearly to capacity with movies that I need to watch, I’ll probably have to go dig this film up somewhere to reacquaint myself with it.

Is It Worth A Look: Sure.

Random Anecdotes: More of a SPOILER ALERT.  Don’t watch the clip below if you haven’t seen the movie.  You will spoil the whole thing. If you have seen the movie, then by all means, revel in the absurd.

Cinematic Soulmates: Knight Rider, Street Hawk