Iron Eagle II & III (DVD)

They really don’t make films like this anymore. The Iron Eagle films, following Lou Gossett Jr’s fighter pilot Chappy Sinclair on his adventures in airborne espionage, are utterly without irony, from a time before post-modernism prevented the action movie from being earnest and near-plot free. The first one I haven’t seen so I can’t tell you if Lou Gossett Jr is bringing anything regarding emotional development or character evolution to the character of Chappy, but no matter what the first instalment does or does not do, these are terrible films.

The second film finds Chappy being called to form a team of US and Soviet soldiers to cooperate on a strike on a nuclear missile site in the Middle East. He finds issues with getting the two sides to band together but they end up finding common ground when Chappy finds out a nuclear strike will be called if they fail, meaning they could be nuked themselves. You could argue this is just designed as an action flick but the politics of the story are unavoidable and just all over the shop. Is this film suggesting that during the Cold War, the US and Soviets should have teamed to take on the Middle East? I don’t know, mostly because the dialogue is embarrassing, the plot somewhat confusing and the acting pretty poor.

The third though drops yet further, with an aging Chappy trying to aid a woman (Rachel McLish) who’s South American village has been taken over by a Nazi. Chappy bands together with a group of also-aging pilots to take on the bad guys, on of which is supposed to be on his side. My God, this is a terrible film. Gossett Jr at times looks genuinely embarrassed to be involved in such a farce (although not embarrassed enough to refuse a fourth). Again the dialogue is awful, the action just bad and the plot, its not confusing but honestly, its just laughably bad. As a minor curio, kung-fu movie legend Sonny Chiba briefly turns up in this bizarre folly. I would thoroughly recommend avoiding these foolish exploits and prevent the fourth being reissued too and dirtying the DVD shelf at your local shop. 

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Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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