Iron Eagle II

iron-eagle-2-rev Iron Eagle II  (1988)    TriStar/Action    RT: 105 minutes    Rated PG (language, violence, warfare)    Director: Sidney J. Furie    Screenplay: Kevin Elders and Sidney J. Furie    Music: Amin Bhatia    Cinematography: Alain Dostie    Release date: November 11, 1988 (US)    Cast: Louis Gossett Jr., Mark Humphrey, Stuart Margolin, Alan Scarfe, Sharon H. Brandon, Maury Chaykin, Colm Feore, Clark Johnson, Jason Blicker, Jesse Collins, Mark Ivanir, Uri Gavriel, Neil Munro, Douglas Sheldon, Jason Gedrick.    Box Office: $10.4 million (US)


 Who exactly is Iron Eagle II aimed at? It carries a kid-friendly PG rating, yet there’s nothing in this tepid action picture that would appeal to the under-13 crowd. It doesn’t even feature any teen stars in the cast unless you count Jason Gedrick’s uncredited return appearance in the first few minutes. He gets killed off which makes you wonder if his agent advised him to do it as a way of avoiding any and all future sequels. Surely he didn’t want to build his career on such a dopey franchise? The way I see it, Gedrick dodged a bullet with this one. Iron Eagle II is terrible which is too bad because it has a decent premise. The plot concerns a joint US-Soviet mission to take out a nuclear weapons compound in the Middle East. This would have worked had Iron Eagle II been more of a straight-up action movie. I’m not exactly sure what returning director Sidney J. Furie was going for, but he obviously fails. I went to see this with my father at a second-run theater one dull Wednesday night. He remembered the 1986 original all too well and needed assurance that it wasn’t another dopey kid movie. I didn’t have high hopes for the sequel which is why I waited for it to come to the $1 movie theater. I still felt ripped off two times over since I also paid for Dad’s ticket. This time, we agreed that it was lame.

IRON-EAGLE-2 Louis Gossett Jr. returns as Colonel Chappy Sinclair put in charge of a mission that will have American pilots working alongside Soviet pilots. One of the Americans, a cocky type named “Cobra” (Canadian actor Humphrey), was flying alongside Doug Masters when he was shot down by a Soviet plane during a routine patrol. He’s understandably against working with Russian pilots, so naturally two things happen. First, he falls for female pilot Valeri Zuyeniko (Brandon). Second, one of the other Soviet pilots (Feore, The Chronicles of Riddick) is the SAME one that shot down his friend. Gee, who didn’t see that coming? Initially distrustful of one another, they slowly learn to put their differences aside and work together to take out the compound capable of launching warheads towards both their countries. Would it surprise you to know that the American general (Margolin, Class) that recruits Chappy for the mission intends for it to fail? Why do you think he supplied him with nothing but misfits? One poor chap suffers from claustrophobia. Following this line of reasoning, take a wild guess which character has “dead meat” written all over him? Yep, it’s really that obvious. And it isn’t even a spoof!

 Iron Eagle II has so many problems I hardly know where to begin. I already hinted at its high predictability factor. It’s the kind of movie where you know what’s going to happen long before the characters do. The training sequence is overlong and tedious. It takes up so much time that you’re not likely to care when they finally set off on their mission. Furie even drops the ball in that department. The aerial sequences are perfunctory and unimpressive. The action isn’t all that thrilling. It’s as tedious as everything that precedes it. We’ve seen this before and better. Gossett tries his best, but even his capable performance doesn’t do much for the movie. The other characters suck! Humphrey tries in vain to emulate Tom Cruise from Top Gun but only succeeds in making his American counterpart look like an accomplished thespian (which he most assuredly is NOT!). The romantic subplot doesn’t work at all. The other soldiers behave like clowns and cartoon characters to the point where Iron Eagle II feels more like a Police Academy sequel. In addition, the movie looks cheap. It’s as half-assed a movie as any direct-to-video movie. It’s BAD! On the upside, it’s the kind of bad movie you can make fun of. That’s the only entertainment value found in Iron Eagle II. What’s the point of the movie? It doesn’t work as an action flick. The PG rating precludes any real violence. I’m certain that it’s not supposed to be a comedy. What was Furie thinking? This one is a complete misfire.

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