Ahh, the cheesy action films of the 80’s and 90’s. So low budget, so light on a solid plot, but oh so fun thanks to action scenes that’ll make you cheer or laugh or both. MVD Entertainment knows of these cult classics really well, to the point they’ve made their own MVD Rewind Collection for films such as these. They were kind enough to send me one that I haven’t seen in ages called Black Eagle: Special Edition. Featuring two legends from the 80’s, the little known but always awesome Sho Kosugi and Jean-Claude Van Damme nearing the peak of his career back then, this is a fun treat for fans and newcomers alike.
Sho Kosugi takes on the role of Ken Tani, a CIA operative that’s sent to Malta to recover a secret laser guidance system from a US fighter plane that crashed into the ocean near there. As he heads there, the CIA learns that Soviet agents are also looking for the fighter, with Vladimir Klimenko (Vladimir Skomarovsky) leading the way with his number one guy Andrei (Jean-Claude Van Damme in a villain role) at his side. You can already guess what all of this is leading to, Kosugi and Van Damme duking it out numerous times throughout the film as the race for the guidance system presses on.
As I did back then, I enjoyed this movie despite all of its laughable faults. Back in the 80’s, Kosugi was well known for playing villainous ninja roles in which he is literally silent and deadly. So to see him going around during the day and speaking broken English while also having his character take care of his two sons in the film was a bit jarring. Regardless, it’s still a cheese-filled fun fest filling with so-so action bits and plenty of unintentional laughs. While this is a Blu-ray release, the picture and sound isn’t as great as it could be, but it’s a lot better than what it was on its VHS release back in the day. There’s also some pretty cool special features included, especially with the option to watch the 93 minute standard version or the 104 minute extended version.
I also loved how the following extras are all new, such as “Sho Kosugi: Martial Arts Legend” that features some interviews with Sho Kosugi and his son Shane as they discuss his career playing ninjas and more. “The Making of Black Eagle” has interviews with director/producer Eric Karson, screenwriter Michael Gonzalez and stars Sho Kosugi, Doran Clark, Shane Kosugi, and Dorota Puzio as they share memories of working on the film and more. “Tales of Jean-Claude Van Damme” gives us interviews with the cast and crew as they share stories about working with Van Damme, “The Script and the Screenwriters” has Michael Gonzales, Eric Karson, and some other crew members discussing how the script came to be and other fun stories that made the film come together. There’s some deleted scenes that are mostly added to the extended cut of the film, the original theatrical trailer, and a cool mini poster is included as well.
If you’re a child of the 80’s like I am or just like watching cheesy movies, you’ll want to make it your mission to get your hands on Black Eagle: Special Edition. It’s good old fashioned, mindless fun that demands to be watched with friends and snacks in tow to complete the experience. Just don’t forget to rewind when you’re done watching (children of the 80’s remember what that is).