Quint (Tommy Lee Jones) has a job to do, but before he gets down to business he visits a convenience store and buys himself a cup of coffee. Just as he pours it, a young punk comes in with weapon drawn, demanding the money in the register, though Quint is such a laidback kind of guy that he manages to talk him out of it: for a start, he points out the closed circuit camera has got a really good look at the young man's face. That obstacle out of the way, Quint can attend to the reason he's in town which is to liberate a cassette containing evidence of dodgy dealings by a local corporation...
Black Moon Rising was based on a script by John Carpenter which he had written about a decade before, but at this point his star had risen to the extent that studios were keen to adapt whatever he had in his office drawer. New World was that studio, putting into play one of their low to medium budget affairs which would deliver the action, thrills and humour its audience would have wanted, it was nothing revolutionary but it did make for a perfectly serviceable Saturday night's entertainment at the drive-in or later, at the video store. So it was with Mr Jones, either as a Snake Plissken substitute or wishing he was Clint Eastwood.
Tommy didn't need to wish any such thing naturally, as he was more than capable as himself, but there was a period in American movie making that seemed as if a certain type of action thriller was actually penned for Clint to star in even if he couldn't be persuaded to sign on the dotted line; everything else was for the more musclebound heroes to consider as the eighties dawned. What should have been by all rights the star of Black Moon Rising was the car it was named after, a custom built machine reminiscent of the snazzy vehicles proliferating in movies, but also a lot of television. Carpenter missed a trick by not making his car talk.
But where every episode of ooh, to pluck a name out of the air, Knight Rider guaranteed plenty of scenes with the motor doing its stuff, here they were surprisingly cheeseparing with the actual driving sequences, especially after the halfway mark. Quint crosses paths with its owners when he puts the cassette in the back of the supercar to hide it from the bad guys who are pursuing him, but then bad luck strikes when it's stolen itself, by corrupt businessman Ed Ryland (Robert Vaughn doing what he did best, being an old smoothie) who is assembling a collection of top range vehicles to sell on in his skyscraper, like you do. Now Quint has to get it back, with the help of the Black Moon's owners.
Oh, and Linda Hamilton, fresh from The Terminator, as expert car thief Nina leading Quint a merry dance when he chases after her in the Black Moon which she has taken for Ryland in return for avoiding a nasty situation. With towering Bubba Smith on the government side and formidable Lee Ving on the gangsters' side both seeking to do damage to our hero if he cannot secure that cassette, a heist is put into effect where he and Richard Jaeckel, with Dan Shor and a deaf William Sanderson (look out for that great big lorry, William!), work out they can use the skyscraper's as yet unopened sister building as a way in so they can get the car out. Throw in a love scene (Jones's only) which seems to have been lifted from The Terminator and some none more eighties decor and director Harley Cokeliss served up an unexceptional but amusing enough genre piece, though the sci-fi elements were strictly about a car that went very fast, and all those security cameras for added hi-tech paranoia. Carpenter-esque music by Lalo Schifrin.