This subpar action film boasts a deficient screenplay and downright clumsy direction, although the martial arts sequences, choreographed by TALONS OF THE EAGLE's two stars and Pan Qing Fu are decent.
New York City DEA agent Tyler Wilson (Billy Blanks) is transferred to Toronto to help local cop Michael Reed (Jalal Mehri) bust up the powerful drug ring of Mr. Li (James Hong). The boys first undergo rigorous training to master the lethal "Eagle Claw" martial arts technique as practiced by Master
Pan (Pan Qing Fu). Posing as entrants in Mr. Li's kickboxing tournament, a hobby partly devised to keep his brutal top bodyguard Khan (Matthias Hues) in shape and amused, Wilson and Reed impress Li enough (they save his life from an assassin) to gain $5,000-per-week jobs in Li's glitzy nightclub,
an "adult playground" catering to Toronto's elite judges, politicians, businessman and the social set with prostitution and gambling.
The club is run by Li's girlfriend Cassandra (Priscilla Barnes), who is an undercover agent and quickly falls for Reed. The final-reel parade of battles features Wilson, Reed and Cassandra, aided by Master Pan's army of students, taking on and demolishing Khan, secondary Li bodyguards (Eric Lee,
Henry Mok) and Li's cutthroat army, while the drug king himself is subdued by Reed, arrested and carted off to jail.
Kennedy's biggest failing, unfortunately a crucial one, is the final melee, which goes on far too long and is absolutely unsuspenseful, despite its staging in the candy-colored nightclub which is rigged to explode in five minutes. The pairing of Blanks (one of the few Black actors in the genre,
who usually plays villains in more mainstream films like THE LAST BOY SCOUT) and Merhi (who also produced) is disastrous; both have done better previous work. Their combination herein seems to emphasize each other's already meager acting talents, and their attempt at LETHAL WEAPON-style
wisecracking repartee falls pitifully flat.
The veteran Hong and the monstrously hulking blond Hues make fine villains. After a hiatus in her career, Barnes (THE LAST MARRIED COUPLE IN AMERICA, LICENCE TO KILL), who looks great, has resurfaced in B pictures like this; she seems a tad helpless for a wily undercover cop (Reed has to save her
from a potential rapist); then again, she is able to pick a variety of locks with her earrings.
Like all of Mehri's Canadian-shot productions, TALONS OF THE EAGLE at least looks good. Although the boys surprisingly do not use their new, laboriously learned "Eagle Claw" technique (they do rip open a couple of trees with it during training), the film does feature one clever new wrinkle for the
genre: Li effectively sports a deadly razor-blade-studded fan as a weapon. (Violence, profanity, nudity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1992
- Rating: R
- Review: This subpar action film boasts a deficient screenplay and downright clumsy direction, although the martial arts sequences, choreographed by TALONS OF THE EAGLE's two stars and Pan Qing Fu are decent. New York City DEA agent Tyler Wilson (Billy Blanks) is… (more)