Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Iron Eagle IV

Where does it go wrong for actors? In 1982 Lou Gossett Jr starred in the hit movie An Officer and a Gentlemen. Lou won an Oscar for best supporting actor.

After a career spent mainly in TV this should have been his launching pad to better work. Unfortunately he chose to make Jaws 3D and a couple of TV movies.

By 1986 his unerring ability to involve himself in middling films took him to Iron Eagle. A ridiculous but likeable film about a teenager who recruits air force colonel Gossett to steal some fighter planes so they can rescue his father who’s been shot down in the middle east.

As if this project wasn’t bad enough, the film somehow spawned three sequels. Gossett, ever the glutton for punishment signed up for the lot, including Iron Eagle IV.

The plot for this one sees Gossett’s character running a flight school with a bunch of misfit teenagers for pupils. They stumble upon some corrupt air force pilots who are dealing in toxic waste. The teenagers must come-of-age whilst foiling the conspiracy.

The toxic waste plot unravels. The corrupt General decides it’s time for his men to make a retreat when the airfield he’s operating from is shot up by one of Gossett’s flight cadets in an F-16.

One of the General’s men grabs a machine gun and jumps on board a waiting helicopter. As it takes off the F-16 comes in for another pass on the airfield. The soldier desperately tries to shoot down the F-16, but is hopelessly outgunned by the fighter jet which turns it into a chopper fireball.

Artistic merit

A nice juicy looking fireball. There’s repeated edits so we get to see the same explosion from a couple of different angles. However, the helicopter stays largely intact. Would’ve been nice to see it properly blown apart.

Exploding helicopter innovation

Director Sidney J Furie doesn’t advance the genre. Disappointing as The Ipcress File is one my favourite films and he did such a good job on that.

Number of exploding helicopters



The helicopter is the corrupt General’s personal vehicle, and delightfully he’s taken the trouble to stencil his name on the side. A nice touch.

The chopper in question is also pleasingly featured on the poster for the film.


You do have to wonder if any soldier would be stupid enough to try and escape in a helicopter with a F-16 buzzing around. Is this what they teach at Westpoint?

Interesting fact

Iron Eagle IV features the character Doug Masters who might be familiar to viewers as the guy who was shot and killed in Iron Eagle II. What makes it even more bizarre is that the revived Doug Master isn’t played by the same actor. As he isn’t integral to the plot why bother resurrecting him?


  1. I gotta check this one out, or maybe go back and do all the Iron Eagles again. I remember when part 3 was in the theater-- or maybe that was part IV. Either way, it didn't last long.

  2. 3, IV, they're all pretty interchangeable. Let me know if you do them, be interested to see what you make of them.