March 29, 2012

Movie Review: The Order of the Black Eagle

I have to profess my great thanks to Netflix, without it I would probably have never heard of this gem of a bygone era. If there is one thing the demise of the video store, and primarily the Mom and Pop type of store, is that we cannot browse the shelves of VHS titles and find these crazy titles. There is no other way I would have stumbled across this. I also have to say that this is what happens when you are looking for some old school cheese. The Order of the Black Eagle is one of those movies that makes you wonder just what were they thinking when they made it.

The Order of the Black Eagle was unleashed upon the masses back in 1987. I do not know what kind of release it had, but I suspect it was not a very big one. The movie is a low rent James Bond rip off that takes the Bond formula and takes it back to the basics and then keeps going. It is a movie that denies explanation, the sort of B-movie that is either pure awfulness or a slice if cinematic genius in its deconstruction of the spy thriller, exposing the goofy nature of the exercise. Actually, it is probably just one of those things that is so bad it just kind of fun to watch.

As the movie starts, we are treated to old footage of Hitler while voiceover tells us about how bad a guy he was. We jump ahead to the present of 1987 in Geneva. There is a scientific seminar where they are recognizing a scientist who specializes in lasers. Some bad guys in ninja outfits and machine guns bust in, shoot the place up, grab the scientist, and hook him to a cable hanging from a helicopter.

From there we jump to the United States where an Middle Eastern-looking bad guy is gloating over some jewels he had apparently stolen from a museum. This brings us to the hero's introduction, Duncan Jax (Ian Hunter). He sneaks out of an air duct, grabs the jewels, sets of the alarm, punches a couple of bad guys, and escapes with the help of a tuxedo wearing baboon named Boon. Yes, I am serious.

All of this leads us to the main plot of the film that has Jax and his partner, Tiffany Youngblood (Jill Donnellan), heading to South America to stop a plot by a neo-Nazi faction (the Order of the title) to destroy major communications satellites and take over the world. Not only that, they are going to awaken a cryogenically frozen Hitler. One thing leads to another and everything get blown up and Duncan Jax walks off into the proverbial sunset.

That alone does not sound too bad, right? Well, now I just want to go over a few things that are in this movie that push it towards the the epic line.
  • Ian Hunter is a dead ringer for Michael Bolton.
  • Director Worth Keeter has made a career out of directing Power Rangers projects.
  • The baboon likes to flip people off.
  • Our hero has his own version of Q Division and is equipped with just the right tools for the job.
  • Apparently in this universe everyone turns to America for leadership ("Just like Libya").
  • Jax and Tiffany hate each other until South America where he helps her undress and she suggests they make out. What?
  • A superspy will scream like a little girl when in a shallow river.
  • The back up mercenaries include Fred Williamson and Grace Jones knock offs.
  • The bad guy looks like Orson Welles with a glued on beard.
  • The baboon can fly a plane and drive a tank.
  • Halfway through the "script" is given up on and they just blow stuff up.
  • Apparently this was successful enough to warrant a sequel the following year.

There are probably more gems that are escaping me, but that is what stuck in my mind. Unfortunately this is not one of those 80's B-movies that loads up on blood and nudity, but it is still kind of fun. It is the kind of movie that will give the serious movie fan fits trying to see where it fits in the pantheon. It is a terrible movie, but it is also a lot of fun.

I kind of liked it, but it takes someone who likes bad movies to like it. Time to track down the sequel...

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