Out on Tuesday, September 6, from Shout! Factory and Fabulous Films is Airwolf: The Movie.
Although the pilot film that launched the series about a souped-up helicopter is available on the Season 1 DVD set, this version is the longer UK edition with some uncensored material and changed scenes. This disc was previously released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK in February of this year, but Shout! has brought in only the DVD.
“It’s not a goddamn helicopter, Senator, it’s Airwolf,” says the CIA project director (Alex Cord) early on. Thanks, that didn’t help at all. But I liked the spunky assistant (Deborah Pratt, Bellisario’s wife at the time) who explains the weaponry and enhancements to the official (Eugene Roche) after telling him his cream cheese is pink because it’s salmon-flavored. You can watch that scene here:
I admit, I’m not the target for this boy fantasy, with its tech jargon, air battles, and beauty shots and stunts with the equipment. (It’s definitely a Bellisario show.) The plot involves enlisting cello-playing, wildlife-loving, Vietnam veteran Stringfellow Hawke (Jan-Michael Vincent) and his father’s best friend Dominic Santini (Ernest Borgnine) to rescue the copter when it’s hijacked by Libyan mercenaries.
This DVD is aimed at dedicated fans, but to make for a fuller package, there are two extras on this disc. The first is a gallery of publicity images and stills taken from the entire series run. The second is a 15-minute “documentary”, “Revisiting Airwolf”, that consists of recent footage of Ernest Borgnine, remembering highlights from playing Dominic, intercut with show clips. I doubt the information covered — that the insurance company didn’t like the actors going up in the helicopters, that Jan-Michael Vincent was a professional to work with — will be new to fans, but it’s wonderful to see Mr. Borgnine looking and sounding so much like himself.
If you know a fan of 80s nostalgia or old-fashioned TV action, this is a great choice for them if they don’t want to spring for an entire season set. It’ll bring back the memories without the commitment. Just the music on its own is thrilling! (The studio provided a review copy.)