The film revolves around Francis McNeil "Frank" Murphy (Roy Scheider), a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) helicopter-pilot-officer and troubled Vietnam War veteran with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His field partner is the newly assigned Richard Lymangood (Daniel Stern in an early role), who is given the nickname "JAFO". Amid a family and employment crisis, he is selected to pilot the world's most advanced helicopter, nicknamed "Blue Thunder," which is essentially a military-style combat helicopter supposedly intended for police use as a surveillance platform and for large crowd control and riot missions. With powerful armament, stealth technology that allows it to fly virtually undetected, and other accoutrements (such as infrared scanners, powerful microphones and cameras, and a U-Matic VCR), Blue Thunder appears to be a formidable tool in the war on crime that the LAPD readily accepts.
But when the death of city councilwoman Diane McNeely turns out to be more than just a random murder, Murphy begins his own covert investigation. He discovers that a subversive action group, using the acronym THOR (Tactical Helicopter Offensive Response, the "proposed use of military helicopters to quell disorder"), is intending instead to use Blue Thunder to carry out an evil mission of their own, one that involves the secret elimination of political undesirables. Murphy immediately suspects that his old nemesis from the war, former United States Army Colonel F.E. Cochrane (Malcolm McDowell), who has become the primary test pilot for Blue Thunder, is hiding something. After following Colonel Cochrane and using the technology on board Blue Thunder to record a meeting Cochrane has with other high-powered government officials planning to use Blue Thunder for nefarious purposes, Murphy tries to get the video tape to a television station before he is killed, as Lymangood has already been.
The final showdown between Murphy and Cochrane, who flies a cannon-equipped Hughes 500 helicopter against Blue Thunder, takes place over the skies of Los Angeles and includes an initial battle with two Air National Guard F-16 fighters. After pulling off a spectacular 360° loop (a feat which he accomplishes primarily through use of Blue Thunder's turbine boost function and extremely painful effort on his own part), Murphy shoots down Cochrane, then destroys Blue Thunder by landing it in front of an approaching freight train, having deemed the tactical helicopter too dangerous to be used by others.
just finished the 3view retrace, hope gonna jump into 3d tonight