BLACK EAGLE

If you want vintage Sho Kosugi, you are better off watching Revenge of the Ninja. If you want James Bond with a splash of 80s casualness, you are probably better off just watching The Living Daylights. But if you don’t mind somewhat slack and flawed, cheap action films, Black Eagle isn’t completely shabby, though I seem to be a lonely voice in saying this movie wasn’t all that bad (The Soldier was much worse, for example, even though it had Klaus Kinski in it). The Malta location allows it to have an air of the jet set about it, even if it’s not really trotting the globe all that much. It doesn’t look cheap. The plot never quite seems to know what it’s up to, but ultimately, it becomes inconsequential anyway. As Kosugi’s swan song (his next movie was a schizophrenic action-comedy remake of Zatoichi, the Blind Sowrdsman, but Rutger Hauer was the star), it encompasses all the strengths and flaws that defined Kosugi’s career and completes the man’s journey from shadowy ninja assassin to cut-rate James Bond with some throwing stars. Like a lot of other low-budget action stuff from the era, it manages to be just good enough without actually being all that good.



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