Director – Eric Karson (Angel Town, The Octagon)
Starring – Sho Kosugi (Bruce Lee Fights Back from the Grave, The Godfather Part II), Jean-Claude Van Damme (Bloodsport, Kickboxer), and Doran Clark (Quantum Leap, The Warriors)
Release Date – 1988
Rating – 2.5/5
Blu Release – 4/5
I had a unique childhood which is something I often reference in my reviews. My dad would often leave for most of the day and night as part of his job. My little sister and I would often stay with my grandmother who was obsessed with the Sci-Fi Channel before they rebranded. Its because of her that I have my love for horror and sci-fi. My dad, on the other hand, was a hardcore spaghetti western fan but would sometimes settle on action flicks if nothing else was on television. When I would go rent movies on the weekend I would often grab him a 70s or 80s action flick on tape. Over time they wore off on me to the point I absolutely love them. Hell, the reason I wanted to review films was to remind people of the long lost action and exploitation flicks that many forgot about over the years.
Several months back MVD Rewind released the odd JCVD flick Black Eagle. I had never seen this one before which was strange considering how much of a fan my father and brother was. Thank you MVD for allowing me to review this release!
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a military group trying to perform a special ops assignment to retrieve a deadly missile from a downed aircraft that crash landed in the ocean outside of Malta. For fear of the Soviets retrieving it first, the U.S. enlists the help of their best agent who is away on vacation with his two children. Now his whole family is thrust in the middle of a mission that puts everyone’s lives in danger.**Spoiler Alert**
I enjoy the JCVD movies of the 90s and late 80s but it’s weird watching one of his films and he not be the star. Most movies with him are centered around him and his martial arts skills but Black Eagle is not that type of film. We do have a few scenes where he shows off his muscles and flexibility but this is a Sho Kosugi vehicle all the way through.
The acting in this one is rough. I enjoy the cheesy 80s action flick just as much as the next guy but the acting in this one is one of the worst that I’ve seen and I’ve sat through Miami Connection. The worst of the film is star Sho Kosugi. He awkwardly smiles the entire film and has some of the worst delivery I’ve seen in a moderately sized budgeted film. I understand that English is not his first language but the smiling and lack of emotional range made the film laughable. His lack of commitment to the role is contagious. The rest of the cast does not take their roles seriously as a result.
The story for this one is a solid Cold War era action film that is simple but works for what it is. It is dialogue heavy and some of the scenes drag on but there is just enough action in there to make it interesting.
Finally, this one does have a few deaths but they are not as bloody and entertaining as we are accustomed to with horror movies. Overall, Black Eagle is fun for a first time watch but you will find yourself laughing more than anything. The acting is pretty bad and the story does drag. On the plus side, this release from MVD is fucking fantastic.
Theatrical andm Uncut Version
Sho Kosugi: Martial Arts Legend Featurette
The Making of Black Eagle
Tales of Jean-Claude Van Damme
The Script to Screenwriters