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‘Aces: Iron Eagle 3’

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
June 15, 1992


John Glen
Lou Gossett Jr.;
Rachel McLish;
Paul Freeman;
Horst Buchholz;
Christopher Cazenove;
Sonny Chiba;
Fred Dalton Thompson;
Mitchell Ryan
Under 17 restricted

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"Aces" is the film that escaped from the USA Network and will hide in movie theaters for a week or so before being captured and returned to its late-night home on cable television. An uncalled-for continuation of the "Iron Eagle" series starring Louis Gossett Jr. as the aging air ace Chappy, the film slides into self-parody by teaming Chappy up with three World War II aces in an aviation circus. This is a decidedly new world order alliance of both Axis survivors (one Japanese, one German) and Allies (Chappy for the U.S.A. and a Brit who needs to see a few Terry-Thomas movies).

Somehow, they become involved with the only enemy left in the age of detente -- the Colombian drug cartel, here working with a former Nazi sadist to import cocaine to the United States via Peru. After one of Chappy's pals is killed and served up as a drug runner, a surviving sister escapes from her Peruvian captors and heads Stateside, where she enlists the multi-culti flight crew, further augmented by a wisecracking homeboy tagalong. This film is chock-full of racial and ethnic stereotypes, none of them particularly objectionable, but all of them faintly ridiculous.

The crew heads for Peru in a makeshift squadron of World War II fighters equipped with laser-guided bombs, which gives "Aces" its only modern look, albeit one derived from television coverage of Desert Storm. In flight and fight, the filmmakers uncork several howlers, including what may well be the stupidest stunt plane trick of all time. "Top Gun" this isn't.

As for Gossett, he looks pained, as do his fellow aces. As for the heroine, it's none other than bodybuilding ace Rachel McLish in her cinematic debut. Beautiful and gracefully muscled, McLish often comes across as a distaff Sylvester Stallone -- call her Rambi -- but her acting is on a par with the script, which comes in on a wing and an unanswered prayer.

These four "Aces" can be beaten with a royal flush.

"Aces: Iron Eagle 3" is rated R and contains some violence.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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