1986 - PG-13 - 119 Mins.
|Director: Sidney J. Furie
|Producer: Kevin Elders, Joe Wizan, Ron Samuels
|Written By: Kevin Elders and Sidney J. Furie
|Starring: Jason Gedrick, Louis Gossett Jr., Larry B. Scott, David Greenlee, Jerry Levine
|Review by: Joe Rickey
Films having to do with the American can-do spirit became popular once again during recent times with such films as Behind Enemy Lines and, in a different venue, Miracle. There are no doubt films of this type for every country but it seems that American filmmakers exploit such a theme more often than anyone else. Perhaps they know that there will always be a sort of craving for this type of film, if you want to call it that. There is the old adage, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it.” Hollywood probably knows that by heart because they milk ideas and variants on ideas more than anyone else could possibly do. Iron Eagle, a film that utilizes jingoism to the nth degree, is also a terrible film anyway you slice it.
Iron Eagle concerns a young man of eighteen years of age (Jason Gedrick) who flies in an F-16 to the Middle East in order to save his imprisoned father. While this plot isn’t exactly the most creative, it could possibly work if done correctly. Here, it is mishandled in almost every way that it could be mishandled.
For one, during the flight not once does he stop to refuel, something that is just incomprehensible when you take into account the distance. The film also suffers from the fact that there is a period of time during the film where nothing much of interest happens and the viewer almost becomes lulled to sleep as a result. I am all for leisurely paced films, just as long as they spend enough time developing the personalities of the characters. Iron Eagle disregards much in the way of character development so the slow pace is inexcusable. The film easily could have given more insight to the mind of the villains but it forgoes such an option in favor of creating paper-thin villains with less developed motives than the villains inhabiting your average superhero comic book. The film also lacks much in the way of continuity, with events not always connecting with one another in a plausible fashion. Of course, it doesn’t help that the acting is downright wretched across the board.
In the lead role, Jason Gedrick takes his role as the rebellious but determined youth as an opportunity to overact in every way imaginable. Not only is the character severely underwritten, but also the actor portraying the character manages to make everything even worse through his altogether hollow and excruciating performance. In the role of his father, Louis Gossett Jr. sleepwalks through his part, maybe sensing the mess he has gotten himself into and therefore deciding to exert as little effort as possible. The rest of the cast shares his lack of enthusiasm, giving little to no effort so as to become undistinguishable from one another and wholly less than dynamic.
Overall, Iron Eagle is a dreadful film in each and every regard and it is a mystery this side of the Bermuda Triangle how such a bad film spawned three sequels.