REVIEWER: lyall carter
Black Sunday is the powerful story of a Black September terrorist group attempting to blow up a Goodyear blimp hovering over the Super Bowl stadium with 80,000 people and the president of the United States in attendance.
Blimp pilot Michael Lander (Bruce Dern), who has endured the horrors of the Vietnam War, is now psychotic. Hoping to kill himself in grand fashion, he teams with Palestinian terrorist Dahlia (Marthe Keller), who plans on using Lander to set off a bomb at the Super Bowl by crashing his aircraft into the crowded stands. With thousands of lives at stake, Israeli military agent Kabakov (Robert Shaw) teams with the F.B.I. in an attempt to stop Lander's mass murder-suicide.
For a film made in the late 70’s, Black Sunday is an intriguing affair with a plot, characters and violence that seems a little out of place for the decade that it was made. The film steps away from portraying Kavakov, the hero of the piece, as some kind of virtuous saint.
He’s violent; a heck of a lot more so than the actual terrorists that he wants to take down. Lander is a ‘villain’ that is well written and one that we could find some sympathy for after being abandoned by his country after dutifully serving it.
The plot doesn’t play at a big action spectacle either but slowly ratchets up the tension as it plays out on the biggest stage of all: the Super Bowl. It’s also bittersweet to see Robert Shaw in one of his last rolls on the big screen before his untimely death.
Black Sunday is an intriguing film filled with violence and political intrigue that will thoroughly entertain if one only has patience with its tempo.