New Line should do fine business with “Aces,” an action-packed, campy entry in Lou Gossett’s “Iron Eagle” series. Pic was originally slated as an off-season January 1992 release by since-defunct distrib Seven Arts but now receives a prime summer slot.
At its best in its cartoonish moments, this follow-up, helmed by James Bond director John Glen, notably introduces beautiful bodybuilder Rachel McLish.
Though she has to strive mightily to get out her lines of dialogue, the fledgling actress is perfectly cast and has the potential to become an important action heroine.
Producer Ron Samuels shifts here from the youth-oriented story line of the first two “Eagle” pix (both helmed by Sidney J. Furie) to an over-the-hill-gang premise reminiscent of the British “Wild Geese” pix.
Air Force pilot Gossett rounds up a group of fellow veteran fighter aces to fly to Peru and blow up a cocaine factory. The U.S. government won’t support this mission, so the guys use vintage World War II-era planes they’ve been flying in air shows.
Gossett wants to fight the drug lords because a friend was killed by them and his sister (McLish) captured and tortured. He frees McLish, and she turns out to be more than the equal of any of the male combatants.
Scripter Kevin Elders, who has worked on all three “Eagle” films, throws in a streetwise ghetto kid (Phill Lewis) who stows away on the mission and offers a combination of comic relief and heroism.
Film’s camp value derives from the mocking use of the fighter aces, including Christopher Cazenove in the Roger Moore role, vet action star Sonny Chiba as the Japanese kamikaze pilot and a very fit-looking Horst Buchholz as the German whiz.
When not making corny patriotic speeches, Gossett is a steadying force here. McLish is terrific in action scenes and merely needs intensive coaching on her acting to supersede Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton in genre roles.
Paul Freeman reprises his stock Nazi from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” as the nominal heavy.
Dogfights in the air and pyrotechnics on ground are up to the high standards of Glen’s 007 credits.