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BLACK EAGLE: DVD

SYNOPSIS:
When a US Air Force plane carrying a top-secret laser tracking device is shot down over the Mediterranean the Air Force discovers that the KGB have sent their own recovery team lead by the infamous Andrei (Jean-Claude Van Damme) to retrieve the missing device. They call up their best man, master martial artist Ken Tani (Sho Kosugi) - code named Black Eagle - to rescue the device.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With one chase, one aborted fight and one small fight on a boat in the first 55 minutes, Black Eagle isn't exactly an action movie. The locations around Malta are nice, but the clunky acting, clunky dialogue and the clunky plot make this a bit of endurance test. And even if you're a Claude van Damme fan, you'll be excused for feeling cheated considering how little screen time he gets in these same first 55 minutes. The plot is too thin to support much tension, so there isn't a great deal to keep us glued to the screen.

To give it some texture, there is a running theme about Ken Tani's (Sho Kosugi) two young boys and his fatherly duties conflicting with his work; the boys resent it. But then they get caught up in the main plot, which gives Kane Kosugi's Brian a chance to show some of his own junior martial arts skills. But it also leads to one of the silliest plot devices to help Ken come to the rescue.

Things do improve in the final 35 minutes or so, but it all looks a tad dated now. The first serious fight between van Damme and Tani is well choreographed and shot, thank goodness, but short. It's a teaser for the climax, which has dramatic potential, shot as it is at night on the waterfront with a couple of explosion-created fires as backdrops. But we don't see much in the dark.

Published December 18, 2008

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

BLACK EAGLE: DVD (M)
(US, 1988)

CAST: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Bruce French, Vladimir Skomarovsky, William Bassett, Kane Kosugi, Shane Kosugi, Jan Triska, Eric Karson

PRODUCER: Shimon Arama

DIRECTOR: Eric Karson

SCRIPT: Michael Gonzales, A. E. Peters (story Shimon Arama)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: George Koblasa

EDITOR: Michael Kelly

MUSIC: Terry Plumeri

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Michael Higgins (set decoration)

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

PRESENTATION: 4:3, DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: Short: Monaco Forever (Van Damme's first film; 31 mins)

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Beyond

DVD RELEASE: December 3, 2008







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