3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When It Sticks to the Air, BLACK EAGLE Soars (Mostly)
In the middle of 1986, Tony Scott and Tom Cruise teamed up for one of the most successful (and formulaic) summer blockbusters of all time: TOP GUN unleashed its Cold War fury on movie-goers - complete with a dynamic pop soundtrack featuring all the latest stars - and the film went on to be the highest grossing film at the box office for that year. In the years that...
Published 9 months ago by Edward Lee
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Familiar and Overlong, But Fairly Entertaining
Jeong Ji-Hoon aka. Rain, the star of "Ninja Assassin," is Captain Jung Tae-yoon, youngest pilot admitted to South Korea's Black Eagles aerobatic team, who is transferred to the 21st Fighter Wing after doing a dangerous stunt during an air show. The disgraced pilot strives to regain the position and honor he lost by winning the upcoming competition, with a help from a...
Published 6 months ago by Tsuyoshi
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When It Sticks to the Air, BLACK EAGLE Soars (Mostly),
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)In the middle of 1986, Tony Scott and Tom Cruise teamed up for one of the most successful (and formulaic) summer blockbusters of all time: TOP GUN unleashed its Cold War fury on movie-goers - complete with a dynamic pop soundtrack featuring all the latest stars - and the film went on to be the highest grossing film at the box office for that year. In the years that followed, there were a handful of imitators, though none performed nearly as respectably. It seemed the days of the daring fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants pilots were all but numbered, but CJ Entertainment plucked the idea from mothballs in 2012 when it brought BLACK EAGLE (aka R2B: RETURN TO BASE and R2B: SOAR INTO THE SUN) - a remake inspired by the 1964 Korean film THE RED SCARF - to theatres.
(NOTE: The following review may contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of character and plot. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)
Tae-hun (played by Jung Hi-hoon, aka "Rain," a Korean pop star) plays a hotshot Air Force pilot who - because of a dangerous stunt he pulls to spice up an air show - gets demoted back into active service. He's granted a bit of a reprieve by his commanding officer: if he can win the upcoming aerial combat contest, he'll be reinstated into the Black Eagle Flying Squadron. Tae-hun realizes the only way he can achieve that end is to have his unit's most talented mechanic - the lovely Se-yeong (Se-kyung Shin) - servicing his plane; but before he can make the transition back to show pilot, North Korean MIGs invade South Korea's airspace, and the race to prevent a global thermonuclear war is on!
There's nothing wrong with a little testosterone in one's diet, and Cold War thrillers - when they're expertly done - never go out of style. However, mixing genres - blending character comedy with character drama AND action film AND Cold War thrillers - is never an easy task, nor one to be entered into lightly. Despite the best efforts of writer/director Dong-won Kim (with additional scripting efforts by Sang-hoon Ahn), the opening hour of this EAGLE felt more like a turkey because so very little of it felt authentic in any way. Rather, scenes felt scripted and/or staged, and audiences are treated to one goofy comic bit after another.
Where this gets even a bit more complicated is the fact that, once EAGLE enters the second hour, it's all serious. Character deaths are dealt with; the stakes of an impending political showdown between North and South Korea (along with some friction from the United States) are raised; and it all gets downright deadly in a heartbeat. All of this serves to really question what happened to all of those light and fluffy moments of the first half? Thankfully, they never returned - that would've been an unconscionable mistake - but so much of the story feels like it's been done before - maybe not `better,' per se, but done.
Still, there's something to be said for carrying on. Like these pilots who soldier on despite the odds heavily stacked against them, BLACK EAGLE keeps trying. I'm not sure how much of this aerial combat was live - some CGI is obvious - but it certainly gets the adrenaline pumping. When it sticks to the air - when it gives itself over to the action - EAGLE delivers an impressive series of sequences - one after the other - so it's easy to forgive any shortcomings. If the first half hadn't felt so listless, this probably would've been a bigger hit. Certainly, it's crafted to be a big audience crowd-pleaser. Rain delivers a good performance, but Se-kyung Shin was the one it's probably easier to root for; she's the only character given some solid depth - AND some humorous scenes that make sense - so you're happy when things work out the way they should.
BLACK EAGLE is produced by Zooomoney Entertainment, Red Muffler, and CJ Entertainment. DVD distribution (stateside) is being handled through CJ Entertainment America. For those who wish to know, this is a Korean-spoken-language film but there is an English-dubbed version available. As for the technical specifications, the film looks and sounds impressive with no loss in audio and bright, crisp colors. There are a handful of special features including "Sortie's Ready! 500 Days of Filming," "Pilot G-Force Test," some character shorts as well as a behind-the-scenes mini , and the theatrical trailers. It's a nice collection - certainly it's more than you get with most of these foreign releases - so be thankful for that.
RECOMMENDED. Narratively, BLACK EAGLE is a bit of a mess, mostly because it feels like two distinct films. The first half - while light on action - tries to be a character drama/comedy with much of the shtick falling flat (so far as this reviewer is concerned); while the second half puts the pedal to the metal, amps up the action and CGI, and mostly succeeds despite more than a fair share of predictability. Much of the effects work is very solid, and, despite presenting a cast of modestly talented actors and actresses, EAGLE has moments where it soars. Mostly, it's when the story stays in the air. The rest of this? Well, it should've been grounded.
In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at CJ Entertainment provided me with an advance DVD screener copy of BLACK EAGLE by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great high octane action,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)Saw this movie when it was in the theaters in 2012 and loved it! Now I own the dvd. The action is incredible, the story line has depth and the acting is excellent. Rain who plays the main character Captain Jung Tae-yoon does an amazing job portraying the bravado, heart and human emotions of this fighter pilot. This is a high quality movie worth owning.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Familiar and Overlong, But Fairly Entertaining,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)Jeong Ji-Hoon aka. Rain, the star of "Ninja Assassin," is Captain Jung Tae-yoon, youngest pilot admitted to South Korea's Black Eagles aerobatic team, who is transferred to the 21st Fighter Wing after doing a dangerous stunt during an air show. The disgraced pilot strives to regain the position and honor he lost by winning the upcoming competition, with a help from a mechanic (and love interest) Technical Sergeant Yoo Se-young (Shin Se-kyung).
The first half of the film is light-hearted and comedic in tone, short on action scenes and special effects. At around the one-hour mark "Black Eagle" (also known as "R2B: Return to Base" and "Soar Into the Sun") gets more serious and action-packed, with the advent of the North Korean air forces. Effects are decent if not outstanding, and aerial sequences are beautifully shot.
It is reported that the film is a remake of a Korean movie "Red Scarf" (1964), which I have not seen. Whatever the original may be, the remade version suffers from all-too-familiar storyline, stock characters and heavy-handed direction in the romantic comedy part. Still, those who are looking for thrilling aerial action scenes will find the film fairly entertaining, especially its action-filled second half.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advanced F-15K Movie Debut, Great Air Combat Action Footage, Silly Humor, Good Acting!,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)This movie has the most air combat action footage of the more advanced version of the mighty, high-tech, rugged, and heavily armed F-15E, the new F-15K, built for South Korea's advanced tactical fighter competition, and now the ROK's primary long-range strike fighter. Fans of the F-15E or F-15K will find the ample air combat action footage satisfying because they really used the F-15K throughout the movie with lots of spectacular maneuvers, firing of missiles such the AIM-9M Sidewinder against the newer MiG-29 Fulcrum which appeared to have used it's vectored thrust engine against a skyscraper in one of the air combat sequences, rippled firing of 4 training versions of the AIM-9 Sidewinder against 5 training targets on the ground during the training competition scene which created a huge realistic explosion, cobra maneuvers made by the MiG-29 Fulcrum and the Korean Aircraft Industries (KAI) FA-50 which climbed up into the sky then turned off the engine for a free-fall towards the bay waters in front of an air show crowd then turned its engine back on at full afterburner just before hitting the water which created waves that splashed the airshow crowd! The F-15E and F-15K are much more advanced than what the movie portrayed, however, there were 2 instances where the radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow and beyond-visual-range AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) were used against the MiG-29 in this movie in an effort to make the movie more entertaining, they stuck mostly with close-range air combat instead, with the MiG-29 and F-15K pilots literally looking each other in the eye by flying past each other upside down at supersonic speeds then shooting each other with the plane's gattling guns and heat-seeking missiles. There was also 1 instance of two F-15Ks using 2000-pound JDAMs against ground targets, and the FA-50 using an AGM-65 Maverick infrared and tv-guided missile on 2 separate occasions, one against an underground bunker with the maverick flying deep into a tunnel before obliterating an entire underground squadron of MiG-29s, and the other against an ICBM silo. Finally, the FA-50 used an AIM-9 Sidewinder heat-seeking missile to destroy the North Korean Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) just after it launched from its silo, homing in on the missile's huge heat exhaust, detonating the missile's fuel and warhead in one powerful explosion that took out the whole enemy command bunker. Overall, the jet fighter combat action footage in this movie is superior to any other jet fighter movie ever created, easily beating past Top Gun, Iron Eagle, or Air Force One. At present, this is the first and ever extensive non-classified use of the powerful F-15K, a more advanced version of the F-15E in any movie out there. You can also see some great HD footage of the F-15K on YouTube by searching the keyword "F-15K" but you'll be missing the storyline, the silly humor, and the compelling emotional drama perfected by the main characters, which communicates the story well. The acting of the characters is good on the drama side, showing natural human emotions of anger, grief, and vengeance, and values such as humility, self-discipline, and modern leadership professionalism, but sometimes overly cocky, trivial, vague, or style-outdated on the humor sections, reminiscent of old Bruce Lee movies. It seems that many of these older South Korean actors grew up watching those types of kung-fu movies which have had a great influence on their acting style. They also did the tower flyby scene with the F-15Ks screaming past their commanders spilling coffee on their shirts similar to the Top Gun scene, which sort of became tradition among fighter pilot movies, or maybe it was supposed to be funny. The awesome display of military discipline and self-control was also inspiring. I particularly didn't appreciate the physical assault by one of the commanders on one of the pilots during the beginning part of the movie since that behavior is no longer tolerated in any modern military organization, realistically that would get any military member locked up in the brig or discharged if not demoted to the lowest rank and punished with extra duty at minimum. Fraternization was also the basis for the whole romance story in this movie, where the lead fighter pilot actor falls in love with his F-15K's mechanic or technician who happens to look like the Binondo Girl actress, Kim Chiu, a beautiful and intelligent technical specialist who also used to fly the F-15K and flies gliders as a hobby over the scenic Korean peninsula during her free time, which they both flew on a date and landed on a beach in one of the romance scenes. Another lead fighter pilot actor fell in love and proposed to his subordinate co-pilot or Weapons Systems Officer (WSO). To sum up this movie fairly, the air combat action footage involving the real F-15K is superb to any other movie out there in terms of realism, detail, technical complexity, sophistication, and video quality which exploits the latest advances in High Definition (HD) technology. The story and character environment is set in modern-day South Korea with modern skyscrapers in the high-tech city of Seoul and realistic modern-day scenarios, with outstanding performance by civilian extras on the ground when the MiG-29 attacked the city by opening fire on civilian vehicles on the streets and tall buildings. If close-range air combat were ever to take place between North and South Korea in today's world, this is how realistic it would look like. However, the F-15K is much more capable in beyond-visual range air combat using the venerable AIM-120D AMRAAMs to take out enemy aircraft from ranges of over 120 nautical miles using the F-15K's APG-70 Advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AAESA) radar and other advanced long-range sensors. It is also armed with long-range strike weapons such as the Joint Stand-off Weapon (JSOW) with a range of over 1,500 nautical miles, that distance is like almost the entire length of the East Coast, with the capability to cruise at low altitude, GPS, infrared, and optical sensor guidance, it's almost like putting a Tomahawk cruise missile on an F-15E. However, all that long-range capability of the F-15K was not shown in this movie to make it more watchable to the movie-going audience who would rather see close-range swirling dogfights which the F-15K maneuvered for superbly with its new pair of Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 digital engines, the responsiveness of the maneuvers was crisp and instantaneous and much more powerful with two digital high-performance jet engines, which also enabled the lead pilot actor to pull off the cobra maneuver, a rare footage for this new high-tech, rugged, heavily-armed beast, the F-15K from Boeing, in cooperation with the high-tech Korean Aircraft Industries. This newest version of the F-15E is now Boeing's most popular export long-range strike fighter aircraft for high-tech air forces such as the legendary Israeli Air Force, Republic of Korea (ROK) Air Force, Royal Saudi Air Force, and recently, the Republic of Singapore Royal Air Force, outperforming foreign exports of the F/A-18F Super Hornet and the Dassault Rafale in recent years. So overall, this movie has almost all the elements of a great movie: high-tech action, compelling story, compelling actors, romance, some humor or comedy, character-building ideals or moral lessons such as self-discipline, self-control, and military professionalism, but lacks any or is almost completely devoid of any sexual content to keep up with the tradition of Top Gun, maybe because of the more restrictive culture, or maybe to have a broader movie audience in the PG-13 category.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Eagle enjoyable,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)I enjoy Korean entertainment and this is a good story. I thought the action sequences were spot on and the acting was good. It was worth the money I paid for it. Even if you aren't a Rain fan, you will enjoy this movie.
5.0 out of 5 stars Black Eagle also known as Return 2Base with actors Rain,Jung Suk-won & Lee Jong-suk,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)I purchased this movie originally because I like the actor Rain (Bi, Ji hoon)-but loved the movie on it's own merit.
5.0 out of 5 stars Good movie,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)I love Rain, plain and simple, although the movie itself was not great but I liked it because of him.
3.0 out of 5 stars If Top Gun was remade in Korean 20 years after the original.....,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD).....this movie would be it. There are some differences, no aircraft carrier, Slam Eagles in place of Tomcats, no overly "just for the chicks" volleyball clips, but this movie generally follows the Top Gun script. Granted, the flying sequences from Top Gun were better than this movie, the live in-flight parts of the movie of the F-15K are good. It is also nice to see the SAR teams in action and a general sense on how South Korean SAR operations play out. But I would hope that their ground crew personnel aren't the bumbling idiots that the movie occasionally portrays them.
This is a "sit down with a lot of popcorn" movie made for the masses that matches a lot of Hollywood movies today with a lot of action, explosions and noise, and little on reality and facts....and should be viewed as such. It's an alright movie, I'll watch it when I'm building my model aircraft or if I want to watch something different.
5.0 out of 5 stars Diehard Rain Fan!,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)I love Jung Ji Hoon (Rain), so I will watch just about anything he makes. I thought it was a pretty good movie-- cute. The movie also stars another of my favorites, Kim Sung Su (who co-stared with Rain in "Full House"). I still have my finger crossed for "Ninja Assassin 2," but until then, I'll take "Back 2 Base," or whatever else I can get.
5.0 out of 5 stars Let Praise RAIN Down!,
This review is from: Black Eagle (DVD)I will start off by stating that I am a huge fan of Jung Ji Hoon (Bi/Rain) and Korean Dramas. That being said, I was very interested in this movie on more than one level. I LOVED Top Gun with Tim Cruise and realized the similar story theme in this movie. However, since Black Eagle is based on a story from 1964, there were bound to be differences. I found this movie to have a familiar feeling but with the differences that come from another country. It's a good thing.
Rain was true to his reputation in this movie with quick wit, flashy smiles and abs, and an onscreen presence that can't be denied. He is a natural fit for a cocky ace pilot whose looking for a chance to prove he's the best, and looking for love wherever it may appear. I also enjoyed seeing TWO women in strong character positions. They were inspirational in their roles.
The aerial shots were very appealing and well done, with lots of action. The movie had a gritty, realistic feel to it. This was the first movie of it's kind to ever be filmed in South Korea. While it may not hold up completely to US standards for a blockbuster action film, Black Eagle came VERY close. I felt it definitely was worthy of my rating of 5 stars for being the first of it's kind from South Korea, and being of such high quality.
I have read complaints about the format of the movie: aka taking too long to get to the action scenes, being heavy handed in parts, etc. I don't agree with these complaints. I have logged about 3000 hours of watching South Korean TV series as well as Kpop movies. Black Eagle is true to their form of story telling. My only complaint is that, as a movie instead of a TV series, there wasn't enough time to fully develop some parts of the story. Of course, this is in comparison to a minimum of 16 hours for a story. Not possible within the time frame of a movie.
If you enjoy fighter jets, testosterone-filled confrontations, defiance of stiff regulations, a good love interest, and good looking actors, this is a good show to watch. I am happy to own a copy of this show.
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Black Eagle by Dong-won Kim (DVD - 2013)
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