Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rare Flix: Order of the Black Eagle

Are you a parody or not?  The 1986 action film Order of the Black Eagle is listed as a 'parody of action films.'  Aside from a few moments though, it feels like just like all of the others.  Is that a compliment or an insult?  Is the movie so good at the parody that I just can't notice the difference?  I'm really not sure what to say here, so let's jump to the plot summary.  Basically, a group called the Order of the Black Eagle is the modern Third Reich and has plans to make a super-weapon.  This looks like a job for Duncan Jax...whoever that is.  Jax is apparently a famous spy who appeared in one other movie- Unmasking the Idol.  Yeah, I apparently watched the second film first.  In my defense, I defy you to find five people who have heard of this movie, let alone the original.  In spite of that fact, let's see what this film's non-hype is all about.  Decide whether or not you want appetizers or not, since we're about to make our...
The film begins- like most comedies do- with stock footage of Adolf Hitler.  The point of that will be clear later.  A meeting in Geneva is disrupted by a bunch of terrorists dressed like Guardian Angels.  They kidnap a scientist, but all end up dying in the process.  Without a segue, we cut to a guy breaking into a building and stealing a valuable of some sort.  He sets off the alarm and flees to the roof, where he meets up with...a monkey.  No, really.  This is Duncan's pet monkey and the pair fly away in a small helicopter.  After that title, he goes to his boss' home and gets a new assignment.  Before that, however, we get the most tired cliche of 'spies teaming up' movies- the 'I met you once before, so we won't get along' bit.  When it's been done in Black Cobra III, it's been done to death!  Duncan and a lady spy named Youngblood (Holy Rob Liefeld, Batman!) are sent undercover to a meeting held by the titular group of Nazis.  As luck would have it, a captured member is nearly Duncan's twin, save for a mustache.  They meet up with this film's Q, who gives them a bunch of gadgets that will get used once and abandoned.  Don't they all.  The meeting goes well, as we learn that the Order has a giant laser to be operated by the kidnapped guy and, oh yeah, they have a frozen Hitler.  Our heroes sneak out and get captured, leading to a chase and the end of a very-defined First Act.
In Act Two, our hero meets up with a group of mercenaries hired by, um, somebody to help out.  It seems that they only had two days to stop the bad guys, so good planning there.  The group includes a tough black guy (a modern day Chocolate Mousse), 'Iman' with throwing knifes, two hippies with guns, a hot brunette with an Uuzi and an Old West gunslinger.  I'm still not sure how much of this is parody, by the way.  A Mexican man attacks them for killing his buddy during a card game in Act One.  This scene is mostly filler, as it serves no purpose to the plot other than showing off how tough the mercenaries are.  They fill about five minutes with this shoot-out that ultimately serves nothing.  As a bonus, they just leave and the plot never comes up again.  In the base, the scientist is threatened with torture and apparently he gives in.  They don't show this take place, but he's helping them in the next scene.  By the power of Editing, you have all the power!  The group have some trouble making it to the base as their truck gets stuck in the mud and then crashes.  Thanks to more Editing, half of the group ends up on a boat headed towards the base.  As a bonus, 'Q' and the monkey pet are on the boat too, despite not being shown going to the place.  After a speedboat chase and some explosions, Act Two ends with the big showdown looming.
In Act Three, lots of explosions and shooting ensues.  Our heroes start blowing up the bad guys' tents and start shooting.  Everyone gets their own moments to shine.  'Chocolate Mousse' beats up a bunch of guys ,since they decide to run at him rather than shooting him.  The gunslinger guy even gets his own, bizarre musical cue during his scenes.  Well, aren't you special, Django!  Our hero goes in to take out the lead guys, getting cornered by the boss.  The guy brags and manages to stand still long enough to get a spear tossed through his body, despite having the drop on our hero.  He gets to the laser controls and has one half of the 'off-switch'- the fingers of the dead guy.  The other guy burns his hand off, so that plan is out the window.  Instead, our hero has the explosives expert set a bomb at the bottom, while he sets one at the top.  The brunette escapes with the captured blond girl while the building is blown to hell.  More importantly, the monkey gets in its own tank and starts blowing the shit out of everything.  Why isn't this the focus of the movie?!?  In the Epilogue, our heroes leave on the boat.  Duncan decides that this is boring, so he leaves in a hot air balloon...which is also in the ship.  He flies away as his monkey flips them off.
When all else fails, put a monkey in a tank.  The plot of this movie is weird and just kind of there.  Let's really lay this one out, shall we?  Some Fourth Reich guys kidnap a scientist to work on a laser weapon that they already built.  To stop them, the U.S. government hires a spy to infiltrate the group, since he is practically the twin of a guy that they already captured that belongs to the group.  That's...convoluted.  So is this film a parody or not?  It has some silly moments in it, but is mostly played seriously.  The jokes are alright and the action isn't bad, so I'm not complaining.  I'm just a little unclear on what kind of film this is.  The Magnificent Seven is serious.  Top Secret is a parody.  Somewhere between those two, I guess this film sits.  If you can get pas the confusion, this is a fun movie.  It doesn't bring a whole lot of new stuff to the table.  Of course, it does have a monkey driving a tank.  Why am I being critical again?  Take it away, shot of our hero playing up a bad, gay stereotype...
Up next, Blockbuster Trash brings us yet another Aliens rip-off.  This one features 'Charles Manson,' space nurses and a robot.  Stay tuned...

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