Plot: A bleeding edge laser tracking system promises an undeniable advantage to whoever holds the tech, but after an American plane crashes into the ocean, it rests at the bottom of the depths. Even so, a race kicks off to locate and secure the tech, with both American and Russian forces involved. The Russian recovery team is headed by Andrei (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a lethal and imposing martial arts master who seems to be all but indestructible. To answer Andrei’s remarkable skills, the United States sends in Ken (Sho Kosugi), also a martial arts expert and an agent who knows how to get the job done, even under nearly impossible circumstances. But as skilled as Ken is, even he isn’t ready for the depths the Russians will sink to and while he tries to do his job and protect his family, that is no simple task. Can he somehow complete this crucial mission, defeat Andrei, and keep his family safe, or will his divided attention prove to be his ultimate downfall?
Entertainment Value: The draw of Black Eagle is a showdown between Sho Kosugi and Jean-Claude Van Damme, who at the time represented the old guard and the new wave of action cinema. The movie is more of a spy thriller than all out action movie, which might disappoint some, but I think Black Eagle is a fun flick. Kosugi is our lead and the movie takes the time to establish his character, develop it, and then call back on those traits, which I think adds a lot to the narrative. When his family is at risk, it holds immense weight, as we have seen first hand his love for them, as well as his guilt over having to put work ahead of them at times. So no, this isn’t balls out explosions and martial arts duels, but the exposition has purpose. Van Damme has a prominent role as Kosugi’s foil and the two have multiple encounters, including a stylish final battle that delivers on the movie’s premise. I do think the pace here is slow at times and it could use a little more action, but I think Black Eagle is a solid watch and has enough oddball moments to compensate for the deliberate pace. So for fans of 80s action, Van Damme, or Kosugi, it is well worth a look.
No nakedness. Van Damme has a post-sex sequence with a woman who has questionable bangs, but no sexual content is present here. No blood. The movie has action, fights, and such, but doesn’t result in bloodshed. Van Damme showcases his splits of course, this time throwing knives while he does so, while the movie also features martial arts battles, chases, and other action sequences. The action isn’t constant, but it is frequent, just not as often as similar films from the 80s. The fights between Kosugi and Van Damme are fun to watch and the final duel is especially cool, taking place with some stylish touches to add to the epic feel. The dialogue is fine, but the tone is more serious than most 80s action flicks, so it rarely feels wild or over the top. Some tough guy talk, military lingo, and daddy issues, but that’s about it. On the craziness scale, we have Sho Kosugi in some humorous outfits, sometimes dressed like the nerdiest dad ever, then he switches to a speedo to show off his plums. But aside from his quirks here, Black Eagle never gets too wild or outlandish.
Overall Insanity: 1/10