Black Eagle (1988) MVD Rewind Collection Blu-ray Review
Black Eagle as a movie still isn’t the greatest however, this Blu-ray is essential for the special features and extended edition of the film.
Plot: One of the US Air Force’s most modern tactical aircraft, an F-111 Aardvark with a new laser guidance system, crashes into the sea near Malta – a region where the Soviet forces are highly present, too. The CIA immediately sends out their best secret agent, Ken Tami, to salvage the system before it falls into enemy hands. To ensure his loyalty, they bring his two young sons to a nearby hotel on the island. Ken Tami’s tough opponent is KGB agent Andrei.
Review: Contrary to how this film is marketed now, it is not a starring role for Jean-Claude Van Damme, however, Van Damme is indeed in it, but he plays the villain. Sho Kosugi (Revenge of the Ninja), fresh from his days working for Cannon, stars as a James Bond-type secret agent named Ken Tani who is called into service to retrieve a laser tracking device from a crashed F-11 that lies at the bottom of the Mediterranean. On a tight timetable, Ken has to get to the device before the Russians do, and his biggest competition comes in the form of muscular and agile Adrei (Van Damme), who seems to dog him at every turn. Ken spends a lot of his time running and being chased through the exotic Malta locations, and he tries to spend some time with his two sons (played by Kane and Shane), who become exasperated every time he leaves them in the care of the CIA to go chase bad guys. Kosugi and Van Damme have two fight scenes together, neither of which is conclusive as to conceding a winner, which actually feels appropriate in this case.
Definitely a riff on the 007 movies, Black Eagle has almost everything it takes to be a compelling action adventure … except a heartbeat. Kosugi’s character is boring, and his relationship with his kids in the movie is strenuous at best, and we never see him showing real emotion. Van Damme plays an aloof villain, and we never really get a sense of what he’s about. The pacing of the film is a little lackluster, and unfortunately most of the action is accomplished in a rote, by-the-numbers fashion. The beautiful locations help. Eric Karson (The Octagon, Angel Town) directed it and appears in a small role at the beginning.
MVD Rewind is about to release a very attractive and nicely presented Blu-ray / DVD combo edition of Black Eagle. This is a film that never got a proper widescreen release, and so it’s great finally having a 1080p version in its original theatrical aspect ratio (1:78:1). Another huge plus is that there are two versions of the film – the original 93-minute theatrical version and a 104-minute extended cut. In addition to all that, there are several extensive interviews with Sho and Shane Kosugi, the director, and deleted scenes and more. Honestly, not since Universal released an uncalled for special edition of Street Fighter, have we gotten such a royal representation of a JCVD movie. This release is fantastic!