All I knew before watching Black Moon Rising for the first time is that it stars Tommy Lee Jones, Linda Hamilton (in between Terminators and before she did her chin-ups), Kino is releasing it, John Carpenter wrote the screenplay, and the director might be a Creedence Clearwater Revival fan and perhaps got the title from their oeuvre but switched it up a bit. (There’s no other reason I can explain the title of this movie.)
Without reading the back of the Blu or looking on IMDb, here’s what I pieced together while watching Black Moon Rising, bear with me: Director Harley Cokeliss saw Michael Mann’s uber-cool Thief and probably thought, “I want to make like that, but cooler.” Black Moon Rising is about a thief (Tommy Lee Jones), who stole some tape from some building and the late, super great Bubba Smith (Hightower from the Police Academy movies) really needs it for reasons never explained. During his heist, Tommy Lee Jones hid the tape in the back of a car that looks like Knight Rider, which Linda Hamilton stole for her boss, chief villain Robert Vaughn, who was also the chief villain in Superman III and we all know how that turned out for him. Eventually, Hamilton and Jones team up, make love (because it’s an 80s movie and 80s movies aren’t 80s movies without an inexplicable love scene) and team up to steal the car back with help from the original owners so he can get this tape for Hightower. Black Moon Rising is the epitome 80s movie, and I loved every minute of it.
This Kino release is a 2K restoration from an interpositive 35mm negative and presented in its 1.85:1 format, which is full-screen, my favorite. The restoration comes to life and has that glorious 80s feel to it. It’s cleaned up just enough for Blu-ray standards but left with some 35mm elements to keep that 80s feel and look — scratches and debris that get on 35mm prints when playing in a theater. The audio comes in both an uncompressed LPCM 2.0 and English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, and both sound exceptional enough to please any home viewer.
There are a ton of extra features for you BLACK MOON RISING fans out there:
-Audio Commentary by Film Historian Lee Gambin, the author of Hell Hath No Fury Like Her: The Making of Christine
-Black Moon Ascending: Interview with director Harley Cokeliss
-Thief in The Night: Producing Black Moon Rising: Interview with producer Douglas Curtis
-Sound of Speed: Composing Black Moon Rising - Interview with composer Lalo Schifrin and film music historian Daniel Schweiger
-Carpenter’s Craft: A video essay on co-writer John Carpenter’s screenwriting career by author and critic Troy Howarth
-Making Black Moon Rising: An archival documentary featuring behind-the-scenes footage and cast and crew interviews
-Alternative Hong Kong version scenes, a presentation of selected scenes from the Hong Kong theatrical version with a different score and sound effects
-Uncompressed PCM 2.0 stereo audio and alternative 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack
BLACK MOON RISING also comes with reversible art (see below) that most will want to use — it makes the movie look slicker than it already is.
Need more convincing? Just watch the opening scene. It’s so, so campy, amusing, and solid gold.