Review: ‘Fire Birds’

Originally titled Wings of the Apache for the Apache assault helicopters prominently featured, Fire Birds resembles a morale booster project leftover from The Reagan era. A paean to Yankee air power, it shows the US Army as a take-charge outfit able to kick the butt of those South American drug cartel jerks.

Originally titled Wings of the Apache for the Apache assault helicopters prominently featured, Fire Birds resembles a morale booster project leftover from The Reagan era. A paean to Yankee air power, it shows the US Army as a take-charge outfit able to kick the butt of those South American drug cartel jerks.

Not surprisingly, given changing times and politics, Fire Birds has a tongue-in-cheek aspect. Camaraderie and rat-a-tat-tat dialog may have started out as fun a la Howard Hawks’ classic Only Angels Have Wings but emerges at times as a satire of the genre.

Formula script, which inevitably recalls Top Gun, has Nicolas Cage training to use the army’s Apache aircraft while vainly trying to rekindle a romance with old flame Sean Young. Tommy Lee Jones is dead-on as the taskmaster instructor who cornily singles out Cage for rough treatment. Film’s main novelty is having Young also sent into combat instead of being the woman sitting on the sidelines.

Fire Birds

Production

Touchstone/Nova. Director David Green; Producer William Badalato; Screenplay Nick Thiel, Paul F. Edwards; Camera Tony Imi; Editor Jon Poll, Norman Buckley, Dennis O'Connor; Music David Newman; Art Director Joseph T. Garrity

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Nicolas Cage Tommy Lee Jones Sean Young Bert Rhine Bryan Kestner Dale Dye
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