Last night, I watched the 1988 “action” film, Black Eagle!
Why Was I Watching It?
Last night, I watched Black Eagle as a part of the Monday Action Movie live tweet. Going into the film, I knew that it starred Sho Kosugi and Jean-Claude Van Damme and that was enough for me. As the film started, I was happy to see that it took place in Malta. I spent the summer after I graduated from high school in Europe and I spent a few days visiting Malta, its museums, and especially its beaches. I have good memories of the Malta days and especially the Malta nights.
What Was It About?
I’m not really sure what the film was about. I watched all 100 minutes of it and, as far as I could tell, an American airplane crashed off the coast of Malta so the CIA brought in Ken Tani (Sho Kosugi) to dive into the sea and retrieve something important from the plane. However, a Russian named Andrei (Jean-Claude Van Damme) also wanted whatever it was that was on the plane so he and his people ended up chasing Ken all over Malta, an island that I have visited.
Ken was also on vacation so, when he wasn’t killing people, he was hanging out with his two sons, Brian (Kane Kosugi) and Denny (Shane Kosugi). The CIA helpfully sent along one of their agents, Patricia Parker (Doran Clark), and she acted a sort of nanny while Ken was busy fighting the Russians. Also helping Ken was a Jesuit (Bruce French) who also happened to be an explosive expert. I don’t think the Vatican would approve of a priest blowing up boats and building but everyone knows better than to argue with a Jesuit.
Jean-Claude Van Damme didn’t really do much in this movie but he still looked good and he got to do the splits a few times. In fact, it was kind of funny to watch him actively search out any possible excuse to do a split. I had a lot of fun imagining that Andrei only became an international spy so that he could show off his gymnastic abilities. It’s too bad he missed out on Gymkata.
The Maltese scenery was lovely, even if the film itself was a bit grainy. Have I mentioned that I’ve been to Malta?
What Did Not Work?
Oh, that Sho Kosugi. He was great when he was fighting people and tossing them off of buildings but whenever he had to actually deliver dialogue and try to show emotion …. AGCK! There’s a reason why Sho Kosugi’s most popular American films — Enter the Ninja, Ninja III: The Domination — feature him playing a villain. Even when Kosugi was acting opposite his children, he seemed to be in a fairly bad mood.
At one point, Ken asked the priest how he became an expert in demolitions. “Ever hear of a place called Vietnam,” the Jesuit replied and I groaned as I realized that Ken had made one of the biggest mistakes of his life. If there’s one thing that I understand as a result of being raised Catholic, it’s that you never ask a Jesuit for his origin story unless you’ve got a few hours to kill.
To be honest, the film could have used even more scenes about Malta, a lovely place of which I have many good memories.
“Oh my God! Just like me!” Moments
I’ve been to Malta.
Definitely go to Malta if you get a chance.