Philippine War Week II: Eye of the Eagle (1987)

If you joined us for our “Philippine War Week I” and made it though this second and final week, you know the production drill of these films. Nick Nicholson, Steve Rogers, Jim Moss, Mike Monty and Vic Dias all “star” here — and with the added incentive of Robert Patrick, yes that one: the T-1000 one.

What? No tigers? Nope, Rocky III wasn’t until ’82.

Everyone has to start somewhere and Patrick debuts, here, as Cpl. Johnny Ransom for this Cirio H. Santiago faux-Stallone romp. Patrick also starred for Cirio in the Max Mad rip, Equalizer 2000. Then Patrick became a defacto “star” in The Raiders of the Lost Ark rip, Future Hunters — by way of Cirio cutting in footage from Equalizer 2000. Or that may be the other way around: Patrick ended up in Equalizer 2000 by of way hunks of his Future Hunter work being cut in. You know how it goes in the Philippine editing suites of Silver Star Productions.

It’s been critiqued that Cirio’s Killer Instinct (1989), aka Behind Enemy Lines, which also stars Patrick, is a sequel to Eye of the Eagle; it’s not: the only throughline is that Patrick’s character is also named Johnny Ransom — and for no particular reason. But all of the war footage certainly looks the same, because it is — and is par for the course when it comes to the recycling war coffers of the Philippine Rambo Consortium.

Adding to the confusion: Eye of the Eagle is also known as The Lost Command. And Battlefield Vietnam. And Killer Instinct, aka Behind Enemy Lines, is also known as Eye of the Eagle 2: Inside the Enemy, and as Killed in Action (instead of Missing in Action IV to evoke a little Chuck Norris). And Last Stand at Lang Mei (1989) — which has nothing to do with the other two films, outside of Cirio H. Santiago directing them — is known as Eye of the Eagle III.

We give up. Is one a sequel to the other? We really don’t care.

Patrick also starred in another 1987 film, Warlords from Hell, that is believed to be another Cirio cut n’ paste joint: it’s not. That’s actually a trashy action flick about American bikers taking on a Mexican drug cartel that shot in the U.S. and was directed by Clark Henderson; he’s known for his behind-the-scenes production work on Roger Corman’s Forbidden World and Space Raiders, Cirio’s Wheels of Fire, and major U.S. films such as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and The Cider House Rules.

And now, back to our program of Eye of the Eagle. The first one.

All of the usual, endless barrage of (stock footage) gun battles and over-the-top explosions ensues as Sgt. Rick Stratton (Brett Baxter Clark, who got his start in Tom Hanks’s Bachelor Party and the teensploitation romp Malibu Express; he also appears the Filipino war flick, Delta Force Commando), along with Cpl. Johnny Ransom (Patrick), set off with their “Eagle” squad to stop a band of U.S. renegades known as “The Lost Command” terrorizing South Vietnam. Stratton also has a side hussle: avenge the murder of his brother by the renegades. One of the missions Stratton and Ransom need to pull off is a train hijacking — and yes, those are shots of an electric model train. Hey, Silver Star productions can’t afford tanks or planes — only ones cut in from other films — so why did you think they could afford more than a model train and one real rail car to shoot on? Is there a mouthy, know-it-all pesky female photo journalist to get them into scrapes? Ah, you know your Philippine war flicks better than we thought.

You can enjoy the awful sound and jumpy edits and bad-everything-else-we-love on You Tube.

Of course we dug up Eye of the Eagle II and Eye of the Eagle III for you, both on You Tube. Sorry, that is actually kind of mean of us. Eh, you know you wanna watch ’em.

About the Author: You can learn more about the writings of R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.

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