Black Eagle Blu Ray Review (MVD Rewind Collection)
Black Eagle is a 1988 action film directed by Eric Karson (The Octagon, Angel Town, & Opposing Force). The film opens with two groups of people looking for the exact same thing. The C.I.A, Dean Rickert (played by: William Bassett from The Karate Kid, The Naked Cage, & House of 1000 Corpses) & Steve Henderson (played by: Gene Davis from Cruising, 10 to Midnight, The Hitcher, & Universal Soldier) discuss a plan to get the lost F-111 back before it ends up in the wrong hands. The Russians, Col. Vladimir Klimenko (played by: Vladimir Skomarovsky from 2010 & JAG) & Andrei (played by: Jean-Claude Van Damme from Hard Target, Kickboxer, Bloodsport, Universal Soldier, & Lionheart) know about the highly secret laser guiding systems on the plane. They want the “Rapid Angel” for themselves. Steve Henderson offers to go out alone to recover their property. Leadership asks if he is the best guy for the job & Rickert tells him no but he is already on assignment then going on vacation after he’s finished.
They force their most dangerous C.I.A agent code name Black Eagle also known as Ken Tani (played by: Shô Kosugi from The Ninja Trilogy, The Master, Pray for Death, Rage of Honor , & Ninja Assassin) to leave his current mission & delay his vacation with his kids (played by his real life kids) to carry out this plan. A marine biologist from the university of Hawaii is this super spy’s cover. Henderson wastes no time & goes after the Russians himself trying to plant a homing device to help locate the missing Rapid Angel. He instantly gets caught by the crew of villains on the boat & Andrei handles the situation quick. In order to bribe Tani, the C.I.A brings his kids to Malta with agent Patricia Parker (played by: Doran Clark from The Warriors, Matlock, Nightingales, & Emerald Point N.A.S.) to protect them while their dad is working.
Father Joseph Bedelia (played by: Bruce French from Helter Skelter, Christine, Fletch, & The Riches), a former C.I.A agent who got tired of all the dangerous & brutal missions so he left to become a priest is Tani’s contact for this mission. He sets him up with everything he needs to carry out the plan to stop this evil. Tani asks about Henderson & finds out he’s already missing. Both groups search for the plane on their boats. They end up running into each other at sea. They give the Russians a bogus story on why they are on the water. They film them & do background checks on the two men. Three goons are following Parker & the kids on the beach then at the museum. Tani notices this & gets them to follow him instead. He surprises one of them while hiding in the corner. He fights the next one on top of a building. The last one tries to jump across building to catch him but falls to his death. All three get eliminated from this human weapon. The Russians find out Parker’s identity which confirms that Tan is really C.I.A! Tani & Parker go out after being called upon. They run into Klimenko & Andrei at the location. Vladimir hints that he knows who they really are. An assassin is waiting for them in their hotel. A quick fight between Tani & Andrei happens outside with no results.
The Russian leader changes plans on the Colonel. Tani takes takes matters in his own hands. Acting like a one man army he plants a bomb, fights multiple criminals, & saves a man from death. Ricket sets up meeting with Tani about Rapid Angel. Tells him they intercepted the Russians talking about moving it. Tani’s kids find out what their dad really does for living. Andrei follows Parker & the kids which ends up being a car chase after they notice they have unwanted company behind. This leads to a trap where they are all captured. One of the kids Brian manages to escape. He fights off those running after him & ends up with the police. Local detective starts questioning why this normal doctor is stuck in this unusual situation. He gets his son back. Tani is out for revenge to get his son Denny & co-worker Parker back! Parker ends up escaping & helps out Tani. After Tani takes out all the goon he fights Andrei again. Father Bedelia & Tani sneak on a boat to try to slow everything down. Tani tells Bedelia he’s going to finish this assignment on his own. He puts on war paint & becomes The Black Eagle! He cuts the power & goes on the ship to get Rapid Angel to finish the mission. After all that build up & previous two fights the two martial artists battle for one last time! It’s most likely for the highlight for most viewers of this film. Father Joe breaks his oath of no more violence & helps Tani fight the crew of villains that leads to an explosive final confrontation!
Let’s be honest when any 80s action fan sees a film that promotes Kosugi’ vs. Van Damme they will get excited. Those two made some of the best action & Cannon movies in the 80s. Eric Karson who’s known for directing The Octagon & Opposing Force was the man calling all the shots in 1998’s Black Eagle. This film is probably more known for it’s misleading marketing strategy compared to the actual film. Years after it was finished Jean-Claude Van Damme became a major superstar in the action world so he was advertised as the main star when in fact it was actually Shô Kosugi’s film. This was Van Damme’s 3rd major role in the film industry. Also, during this time in the 80s over the top action films were taking over the box office so this got targeted to those fans. It honestly was very tame compared to those features & it’s more of a James Bond spy type film. After all these years, this one will be more appreciated than it was in the past compared to Van Damme’s past 17 years of making direct to video movies.
I’ve grown to enjoy this more since when I originally watched this on both VHS & DVD back in the day. This high definition presentation blows those two previous releases out of the water! If you have never seen this film before you might be a little thrown back by the transfer but it’s honestly the best you’ll get for this film. I thought the audio on this was very solid & it sounded good in my home system. I think MVD Rewind Collection providing the extended cut version really made this much better with it’s 11 additional minutes! MVD also provided the theatrical version as another option to view Black Eagle. Let’s talk about the extras on these discs, this release also comes with a DVD copy of the film. Martial Arts Legend is a 21 minute interview with the real star of the film Sho Kosugi & his son Shane going over his career.
He barely mentions this film in it & at the end he promotes his new book. The Making of Black Eagle is an almost 36 minute feature with interviews from various members of the cast & crew discussing their experience during the production of this film. Tales of JCVD is a 19 minute feature with interviews from the cast & crew talking about their experience working with the action legend. The Script and The Screen Writers is a 27 minute feature interviewing the creative minds behind this film. It also features 11 minutes of deleted scenes. If you watch the unrated extended cut you will notice it’s the same stuff added back to the film. The original theatrical trailer plus other MVD related trailers are the last special features on this release.
One thing that REALLY makes MVD Rewind Collection stand out from all of the other labels out there is the AMAZING packaging they provide. Original pressings include a cool retro looking slipcover! So do not sleep on these limited edition releases from MVD. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes sold out within a month for it’s first pressing. It also comes with a collectible poster, inside. Black Eagle is available almost everywhere movies are sold so make you pick up a copy ASAP! Recommended for any fans of Shô Kosugi’ & Jean-Claude Van Damme!