Review: Black Eagle

Blu-ray: Black Eagle (1988)

BlackEagleBluI’m going on record now and saying that I really love Van Damme movies. Van Damme was part of the new wave of action heroes in the 80’s and 90’s. Of course you had Arnie and Stallone who were also massive action heroes of mine however; this new breed of action hero seemed well, a little bit more flexible and capable of making their limbs reach places that Arnie and Sly could only dream of. You really marvelled at just how wide Van Damme could spread his legs. Quite how he managed to do those spinning high kicks or splits is beyond me. Of course he couldn’t resist getting his arse out and why wouldn’t he, because it was quite simply a magnificent arse.

Anyway, before I get carried away with JCVD’s pert buttocks let me tell you about Black Eagle. Black Eagle starts with a US plane getting shot down and crashing into the sea near Malta. The race is on between the Americans and Russians to recover a laser guidance system. JCVD plays one of the Russians whilst Sho Kosugi plays the eponymous Black Eagle working with the Americans.

Kosugi is a kind of high kicking James Bond who sports some very fetching speedos in one particular scene. I honestly didn’t know where to put my eyes. Black Eagle feels more like a spy movie rather than a martial arts showcase which is surprising considering its two stars. It even has a casino scene where Kosugi and JCVD stare at each other building the tension before they inevitably face off. Speaking of which its about 1hr 20 minutes before there is a meaningful battle between the two.

As well as JCVD and Kosugi, Malta is one of the stars of the show. In fact it feels a little like a travel guide as Kosugi and his 2 children visit various landmarks. I was half tempted to jump online and book a holiday after watching Black Eagle.

Of course this wouldn’t be a JCVD movie if he didn’t do the splits, walk around without a shirt on and do his trademark spin kick. Trust me, you get all of this so you will not be disappointed.

I remember seeing Black Eagle on VHS shortly after its release so I was very excited to see it after all these years. To be honest I wasn’t disappointed and Black Eagle kept my attention throughout. It has a solid if slightly cliche story and its great to see JCVD in one of his earlier roles, plus Kosugi has a real screen presence. I’d definitely recommend Black Eagle but don’t expect too much in the way of martial arts as its more of a spy thriller with a sprinkle of high kicks.

Review by Chris (co-host of 60 Minutes With and ‘The Same Coin‘) from a disc kindly supplied by 101 Films.