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Hollywood enjoyed a period of unprecedented interest in technology during
the mid-1980s with super vehicle shows such as AIRWOLF, BLUE THUNDER, THE
HIGHWAYMAN, KNIGHT RIDER and the underated STREET HAWK.
Borne from the mind of one of US Television's most creative writers of quality entertainment - Donald P. Bellisario who brought us TALES OF THE GOLDEN MONKEY, MAGNUM P.I., QUANTUM LEAP and currently with the military drama series, J.A.G., it had everything with action, adventure, espionage, adult scripts, international intrigue, coupled with real-world politics (which is rare in Hollywood) even pushing some right-wing, hawkish politics into the middle of the action.
With grim-as-granite Jan-Michael Vincent in the main role as loner pilot, Stringfellow Hawke, aided by Oscar-winning movie veteran, Ernest Borgnine and a support cast including movie actor, Alex Cord (and C.I.A. Deputy Director - Michael Archangel) and TV regular Jean Bruce Scott, it was a show on the edge, that, with the exciting aerial climax at the end of most episodes pushed the boundaries of television with its movie quality action sequences, technology and locations (including the beautiful Monument Valley in Utah).
It now has a sizeable following of loyal fans worldwide (the Wolf Pack), including many people who became pilots (military and commercial) through their love of the show - many fans of which have been following the commercially successful shows of Donald Bellisario (Belisarius Productions) from its humble beginnings in the early 1980s, including the current success of J.A.G. on CBS.
A show which deserved a bigger following at the time, it's a rare gem of television history.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although I'm more of a horror fan than action/adventure, the film and
classic T.V. series "Airwolf" was more than enough to keep me entertained.
The acting was excellent by David Hemmings, Ernest Borgnine and Jan-Michael
Vincent, who happens to be one of my favourite actors.
Considering it was made in 1984, the effects are impressive. Watching it, you actually believe that this super chopper can fly faster than mach 1. My favourite section has to be at the end, in the showdown between Moffat and Hawke, seeing though Moffat has just killed Hawke's girlfriend, you can understand why he unloads 6-7 hellfires that blows Moffat sky high!.
This is a must see movie and T.V. series, in my opinion it is simply irreplacable. Outclasses "Knight Rider" not because of more action, better effects and a better and more believable storyline (although these are factors), but because David Hasselhoff is probably one of the worst actors I have ever seen. If you haven't seen the episode in "Knight Rider" titled "Goliath" or "Goliath Returns" then these are a must see. Michael Knight's twin brother which is just Hasselhoff with a fake stuck on beard, simply comic genius!!.
Movie rating of "Airwolf", 8/10.
The 1980's were the best time for action fans. During that decade we had The
A-Team, Knight Rider, Street Hawk, The Fall Guy and my personal favourite
In this movie Stringfellow Hawke is asked by some government agency to retrieve a billion dollar helicopter stolen by a Dr. Moffett who is working with the Libyans. And we get action and suspense throughout.
Airwolf was quite a dark show. It aired during the mid 80's when the cold war was still very hot and paranoia was at an all time high. Jan Michael Vincent and Ernest Borgnine did a great job as the duo sent to retrieve Airwolf. Vincent played Hawke who was a moody and pessimistic Vietnam veteran whose brother became missing in action. He was perfect for this role.
Alex Cord played Archangel who worked for the government agency (it was referred to as The Firm throughout the series but that was all we knew) and he seemed innocuous enough although you could never be sure what his real motives were.
The best things about Airwolf was the music and the action. The music was so cool and the action scenes were fantastic. At the end Airwolf is in Libya evading missiles and battling helicopters and Moffett himself and the action doesn't let up for a minute.
Damn good series!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Probably the most serious and darkest of all the classic 'man and
machine' TV shows of the eighties, Airwolf follows the exploits of
Strinfellow Hawke and co. as he fights evil with his lethal and
supercool chopper which is armed to the teeth and incredibly fast. The
pilot introduces us to the main themes and characters of the series-
Hawke, a Vietnam vet, and awesome pilot whose past has been full of
tragedy, losing his parents at an early age, and his brother in 'Nam.
However, his brother's body was never found and he never gives up
looking. His only surviving friend is Dominic Santini, a friend of his
parents and together they run Santini Air a pilot school. Often String
is called in for dull jobs like being a stunt man for movies, but when
they hear from the Firm, a mysterious government group that Airwolf has
been stolen, they try to get Hawke involved-he is the only man to have
flown it, aside from Moffet, the sociopath who has stolen it. Moffet,
creator of the helicopter plans to reign terror on the World from
Libya. He is psychotic with a penchant for murderous games. Hawke will
only agree to the mission if the Firm agree to locate his brother.
Archangel, the Firm's spokesperson accepts and Hawke begins his search.
Undercover agent Gabrielle has also been sent in, though against his
wishes Hawke has fallen for her. As everyone he loves dies, he begins a
race to save her and Airwolf, after she had promised she would not die
The dark tones of the film and the series by the master Bellisario are largely covered by the intense action and bursts of humour. Jan-Michael Vincent, the world at his knees shows his considerable acting abilities here before crumbling into himself in later days. His portrayal of Hawke is strong, a man eternally haunted by the past, but who will always do the right thing. Veteran Borginine adds much of the humour and s the perfect co-worker for Vincent. The late Hemmings is clearly evil as Moffet, giving one of his best performances and we are genuinely pleased when he gets what he deserves. Cord has a small role here which would grow over the series, and he fits the role perfectly. Bauer as Gabrielle is both sultry and strong, but vulnerable, and she gives a strong performance. The film has a few exciting moments, but it is mainly just a pilot setting up the main elements of the series. The music is god throughout, not only the main theme, heightening the emotional scenes, and the action is well crafted. Of course Airwolf itself looks cool and all kids watching would want one of their own, firing sunbursts and missiles all over the place. One of the best shows of the eighties, and a strong movie to start it off.
8 out of 10
I would most certainly recommend this film to anybody who has yet to see an episode of Airwolf, the best acting in the film is by Jan-Michael Vincent- who plays moody loner Stringfellow Hawke, and David Hemmings- The choppers insane creator Charles Moffat. The ending of the film includes a great battle scene, and i love the film that much that the tape is worn out. My favourite film of all time and made me a solid fan of the series. This was the pilot episode, and its a shame that Jan-Michael Vincent ended up the way he did. It would have been nice to see the Hawke brothers work together in the chopper, instead of how the 4th series turned out (a load of rubbish and a slap in the face to hardcore fans of the show). Thumbs way up for this one!
The great thing about the Airwolf series is the super-cool hero,
Stringfellow Hawk. He's an ace helicopter pilot who is a cello player,
art collector, and an environmentalist. He doesn't eat red meat. He's
genuinely cool without any fake macho bull-crap.
I also like the way he blows away villains who really need killing, but generally spares the lives of low-end flunkies. The fact that Stringfellow does not own a television is a big bonus.
Stringfellow is proud without being arrogant. He is a thinking man's hero. Airwolf is a must-see.
It is a shame that the actor (Jan Michael Vincent) fell short of the heroic ideal of the character he played. I recall that they re-launched the show without him after he cracked up. I saw one episode, but it wasn't the same.
This is my all time favorite. Borgnine and Vincent gives a really good acting in this tv show. Bellisario has created this master piece. The best tv show ever. Jan-Michael vincent rules.Also check out Nightrider and A-team.
What will probably surprise viewers who find the video of this pilot in
video stores is the amount of foul language in something that was made for
TV. Well, that's explained by the fact that what's on video is the edit that
was released to theaters overseas, with the language a silly way to try and
hide the made-for-TV origins.
I can see why this was released to theaters overseas; some of the production values are pretty high, and would fit pretty comfortably on a movie screen at the time. Still, I am sure that the people who did see this in a theater were pretty disappointed. Now, the opening sequence is great, flashy and action-filled. However, after that point there is hardly any action until the very end, and filled with talk talk talk. Strange thing is that despite all that talk, a number of plot points remain unclear, like why the two pilots decided to defect to Libya with Airwolf's designer. And while some production values are high, there are also some surprisingly shoddy moments. The island assault sequence, for example, is incompetently directed and edited. And some cost-saving measures like stock footage or reused footage come across like contempt for the viewer. Still, I must admit these cost-saving measures are nowhere as blatant and lazy as what was done for the ill-advised fourth season of the show!
Oh, my. When I was a kid I couldn't miss a week of this series, and
this is the movie that started it all. It really has a decent plot,
given the times it was made in. In 1984, the idea of a third world
nation like Libya getting something nasty from a shadowy mercenary type
was very real. In 1982, Israel had taken out an Iraqi nuclear reactor
that Saddam Hussein had bought from contacts in Europe. In 1982, also,
the Falklands war saw the British running into a lot of trouble with
Exocet missiles hitting their destroyers.
In "Airwolf," one scene which took a lot of guts to do features an attack by the hijacked helicopter launched against a destroyer. The idea of nasty weapons getting to nations that might mean ill to people has only become more powerful. In 1987, three years after the television movie aired, a U.S. Frigate, the Stark, was "accidentally" hit for real by an Iraqi fighter in the Persian Gulf.
So, in that context, and with the height of the Cold War, the idea of powerful organizations like "The Firm" that Moffet was working for and which our two main pilot good guys get involved with, made for some powerful stuff. The performances only added to the power of it, especially for a kid like myself, with Jan-Michael Vincent doing a great job as the brooding, reluctant hero, and Ernest Borgnine (Who I had only seen doing comedy in reruns of "McHale's Navy" at the time) doing incredible work as well. This series really was a nice thing for him, and boy did he deserve the chance to do something like this. Finally, who could forget Alex Cord as Archangel, all in white except for the black lens in his glasses over his injured eye? White limousines, a white helicopter of his own, and beautiful female aides dressed in white, and the cane he walked with because of his injuries. Definitely a chilling figure in his own right. Man, this was an awesome show for a kid in 1984. Also, it makes points about the duties of people to what is right, the question of when the lines of the fight for good cross with the desire for power, and all the classic stuff. Bellisario came through with this and "Magnum, P.I." about the same time, I believe, which was quite good for him. Everyone associated with this project turned in good work - including the folks who designed the fold-out cannons on Airwolf's winglets, which were impressive in how they folded out and so forth. - Vincent was awesome in the melancholy and quiet scenes where he was just playing his cello by the lake or hanging out and thinking. The show topped this all off with one of the best scores of the 1980s. Definitely a winner. The toppings are all there, but underneath, with the writing, directing, and the performances, the substance is there in force. Great, great show.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Airwolf is one of the most enjoyable series from the 80's. There is not
much to say about it rather than it's got terrific story line, music
and it's fully action packed. The Pilot starts of the series by the
helicopter being stolen by its creator Dr. Charles Henry Moffett, who
sells it to Libyan mercenaries. One of the deputy director of the
agency which developed Airwolf, calls for the help of a reclusive pilot
who agrees to help them only if they locate his brother Sinjin who is
MIA in Nam. Hawke successfully recovers Airwolf, but keeps it for
himself because the agency, known as the FIRM, wasn't able to locate
his brother. As long as Hawke is keeping Airwolf, the FIRM will keep
looking for his brother but also Hawke has to fly Airwolf for the FIRM
missions in return.
The pilot episode is mostly talk and less action, but you will find the story to be quite entertaining. Well that's all folks, see it for yourself and you'll start to like it.
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