Saturday, April 8, 2017

American Eagle

   I'm always so tempted to rate movies like this so much higher because I enjoy them so much, but none of them are particularly good. Steele Justice, The Soldier, Trained to Kill, etc etc. American Eagle is worthy of its place right alongside them.

   So yeah, they're not 'good', but they are fun. Moreover, they have their own standard I hold them to. They have to at least have a consistent pace, which means lots of shootouts, funny moments, and or T&A. All of these elements have to produced with some semblance of production value. Which is why I can't stand Samurai Cop, but I loved Steele Justice.

   Anyways, American Eagle is proudly a three star movie. It's aspires to be nothing more than a serviceable actioner with some slick violence, a handful of decent one liners, and the like. However, where American Eagle truly earns my favorable opinion is with a few surprisingly thoughtful moments, sprinkled throughout. After one particularly gruesome action scene, the hero stops to console his hysterical sidekick/partner. In any other movie of this kind, the uber macho action heroes would just keep on trucking, because they're the manliest of men.

   There's also a surprising excess of plot in the movie. The hero is a black ops special soldier or assassin or something- and then his wife convinces him to retire, as his missions are wreaking havoc on their marriage. Anyways, she decides to go visit her brother to give him time to think about it, and she runs into some bad guys who kidnap her and a bunch of other ladies. As it turns out (spoilers ahead) the hero's old commanding officer kinda orchestrated the whole thing to hold her hostage if he doesn't agree to kill the President so that a certain elected official in "the Middle East" can rise to power.

   WOOOOAH. That's a fuck load of plot. And 80% of it, while not unwelcome (when it's even coherent), is wholly unnecessary. The bottom line is, some assholes have this guy's wife- and he's going to kick all of the ass to get her back. He teams up with her brother- his old war comrade, to face off against Vernon "Commando" Wells, and the bad guy from Jackie Chan's Who Am I?.

   The two male leads have a fun dynamic- chatting about baseball while interrogating a baddie, or discussing their half-assed plans to clear out of roomful of thugs. "You shoot the ones on the left, I'll shoot the ones on the right." It's a lot of fun. It helps that star Asher Brauner has a personality- even if it is the typical Rough & Tough™ guy thing, he also has a sense of humor and a laidback nature to him. Basically, he has decent B-movie charisma. Like a cut-rate Bronson or something.

   It also doesn't hurt that each shootout is staged with an assured confidence and an accomplished competency. Thunderous gunfire roars across the screen, blood squibs explode, and the leads trade witty remarks before moving on to the next room, and the next squad of gun fodder. That's the formula these movies boil down to, and you'd be surprised how easy it is to get horribly wrong- so it's seriously appreciated when a simple little flick like American Eagle gets it all right.

   Bonus points for the movie having a theme song so epic it repeats "American Eagle" a billion times with all the fire and intensity of a Kenny Loggins single.

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