Although Tri-Star banned critics from its press screenings, "Iron Eagle II" (citywide) is actually a far better film than the original, which achieved a kind of perfection of preposterous awfulness. It was the 1986 picture in which a crusty retired Air Force colonel (Louis Gossett Jr., in a parody of his Oscar-winning performance in "An Officer and a Gentleman") came to the aid of an 18-year-old who commandeers an F-16 fighter to rescue his father, a jet-fighter pilot, who's been shot down and taken prisoner in a fictional Middle Eastern country--read Libya.
As before, there's lots of aerial warfare razzle-dazzle, and once again the bad guys are some unspecified Arabs. But this time director Sidney J. Furie and co-writer Kevin Elders have avoided the ugly jingoism and sheer foolishness of the first film and come up with a punchy, fast-moving action flick. Those Arabs are on the verge of being able to launch a nuclear missile, precipitating the formation of an unprecedented joint U.S.-Soviet effort to mount a preemptive attack from a secret base in Israel. (The film claims to be the first Canadian-Israel co-production.) You guessed it, Gossett's Chappy, who'd been shunted off to an air museum, is ordered to head up the American contingent.