Monday, September 05, 2005

Guilty Pleasure - Iron Eagle I

Another action flick from the 1980s (and from Golan-Globus, the producers who brought us Sahara and Firewalker). I really love this movie. You have to simply give yourself over to it and enjoy the unabashed tugs on your patriotic heart strings.

The story is about Doug, a 17-year old whose dad is an Air Force pilot. We see Doug getting training in a real F16 with his dad on the sly - this sets up the plot. Soon after, his dad goes on a mission and crash lands into the hands of an evil Middle-Eastern military dictator. The US won't negotiate, and his dad has 3 days to live before the dictator hangs him.

Doug decides to take matters into his own hands. He knows of Chappie Sinclair (Gossett), an ex-colonel who is now in the Air Force reserves. Doug has all his Air Force brat friends secretly compile (steal) all the intel and specs he needs to mount a rescue op. He then takes it to Chappie, because he needs a partner who can plan the thing.

He eventually talks Chappie into it, and they manage to steal 2 F-16s, fully loaded, and take off to the Middle East. Chappie is shot down in a dog fight, and Doug must finish the rescue op alone, which he does.

The best thing about this movie is, in truth, the soundtrack. It is incredible. But I still watch the film when it's on because it is a lot of fun, though you almost sprain your "poetic faith" - what Coleridge called our ability to suspend disbelief when we read fiction.

There have been 4 sequels. I've seen the 2nd (don't bother), parts of the 3rd (don't bother), but the 4th is interesting because it reunites a bitter Doug and a guilty Chappie. You see in the second film, Doug is shot down over enemy territory in the opening (I guess Gedrick couldn't make the film). He is believed dead. In the 4th film, we find out he was in an enemy prison for years, and he blames Chappie for not coming after him. The 4th film is not as "good" as the first, but it is worth watching just for the continuing relationship between the two main characters.