BLACK EAGLE (1988)

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black-eagle

BLACK EAGLE (1988)
Directed by Eric Karson
Available on DVD and Blu-Ray

CIA agent Ken Tani is pulled from his annual two week vacation with his kids to retrieve a top-secret laser tracking device from the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Malta, which was onboard a shot-down F11 plane. Unfortunately, the Russians are also aware of the cargo and are doing their best to beat the Americans to it. Tani, codename: Black Eagle, will have to summon all his talents to get his hands on the device first and he’ll also have to contend with the Russian operative Andrei who’s combat skills match his own.

Action drama BLACK EAGLE takes viewers on a thrill ride through Malta as two nations’ secret services battle for a powerful, multi-million dollar device. Stuck in the middle are CIA agent Ken Tani’s two sons who’ve been whisked to Malta by CIA chief Rickert to ensure their father completes the job. Though protected by CIA operative Patricia Parker, who’s more than capable of handling herself, the children are unnecessarily at risk as Ken attempts to to do his job, save his adopted country and look out for his kids.

BLACK EAGLE is a hark back to those entertaining movies of the past, the ones you’d happily watch on a drizzly Sunday afternoon. This movie ticks all the boxes; it’s got car chases, fight scenes, villains, deception, explosions, brilliant location shots and a splash of humour too. Though it’s showing its age slightly, BLACK EAGLE is still a thoroughly enjoyable film and had me gripped throughout its 100 minutes running time with its straight-forward plot and Bond-esque style.

The main draw of BLACK EAGLE are of course its stars. Leading the way for the American secret service as agent Ken Tani is Japanese martial arts star Sho Kosugi, known for his role as the ninja in the series of 80’s action films. On the side of the Russians is the muscles from Brussels, Jean-Claude Van Damme, as KGB manpower Andrei. This is one of the few movies where JCVD plays a villain, but his trademark splits are still present here in a scene where Andrei throws knives at a board whilst balancing upon two oil drums – a world apart from his stunt 25 years later with two Volvo trucks but still very impressive nonetheless. Fans will be glad to hear there’s a few fight scenes between Kosugi and Van Damme although don’t be expecting anything super intense. It’s fairly basic considering their body of work, but there’s enough spinning kicks to get the blood pumping.

It’s nice to see a female character included in the movie that is independent, smart and capable yet still retains her femininity and role as a guardian of Tani’s children, who are actually played by Sho Kusugi’s real sons, Kane and Shane. Doran Clark, who plays the character of Patricia Parker, looks as though she can handle herself and it comes as no surprise that her first ever role was one of the Lizzies in The Warriors. Bad ass noted!

101 Films have brought BLACK EAGLE to Blu-Ray in the UK as parts of its Cult Movie Collection, complete with 5.1 audio track. The audio is pretty clear for the majority of the time, with an odd moment here and there, but the visual transfer is pretty crisp. There’s no special features on the disc but the movie itself is superb.

BLACK EAGLE is tremendous fun with plenty to get engrossed in and hardly ever a dull moment throughout its duration. It might not necessarily be a stand-out movie, but there’s tons to enjoy with even Kosugi’s kids getting in on the action. Well, why should dad have all the fun? The setting of Malta, Mdina in particular, is a perfect choice too and the film does a terrific job of showcasing the wonderful island and using its narrow, stepped alleyways and forts to great effect.

An action-packed adventure, BLACK EAGLE is non-stop entertainment from start to finish.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

About Bat 7628 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: Dead Island, Yakuza Zero and Payday 2.

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