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Black Eagle (1988)

There's an F-111 fighter plane with a top secret laser doodad plus a state-of-the-art micro-chip oojamaflip on the bottom of the Mediterranean, and the CIA wants Ken Tani (Sho Kosugi), their top undersea martial artist, to get them back before the sneaky soviets can get their filthy commie hands on the high-tech macguffins. However, this happens to the be two months of the year that Ken insists on spending with his cute Japanese-American children and the only way the CIA can deploy him is to airlift said moppets to Malta for a holiday. While Ken is sky-diving, hang-gliding, sub-aqua swimming, kung fu fighting, knifing, exploding and ninjitsing all over the island, his kids get taken on tours of all the museums. At long last, the baddies think of endangering the children, and Ken gets really mad ...

Although not enough to make him do anything more exciting than strut about in front of postcard landmarks. There has to be something wrong with an action-adventure movie that spends more time on tourism than terrorism, and Black Eagle is one of the dreariest sub-Bond epics in some time. With all the hallmarks of a direct-to-video rack-filler, this tatty thriller looks embarrassed on the big screen, and is pathetically unable to compete in the explosion stakes with the likes of Arnie or Sly.

Sho Kosugi, who has displayed his athletics in the Ninja series, is put up against Belgian bruiser Jean-Claude Van Damme, the hulk from Bloodsport, which at least promises we'll get some sort of titanic muscle-to-muscle set-to in the finale. However, although Jean-Claude gets to do his trademark splits move once or twice while Sho kicks the air over his opponent's shoulder, the scrap that ensues is a particularly tame affair, with nary a blood capsule crunched nor a skull pulverised.
KIM NEWMAN

First Published In: City Limits (issue unknown)


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