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Talons of The Eagle (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Talons of The Eagle (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: March 22nd, 2022.
    Director: Michael Kennedy
    Cast: Billy Blanks, Jalal Merhi, James Hong, Priscilla Barnes, Harry Mok, Matthias Hues, Mike Chow
    Year: 1992
    Purchase From Amazon

    Talons of The Eagle – Movie Review:

    One man wrecking crew Jalal Merhi directed, co-produced, starred in and handled fight choreography in Shapiro-Glickenhaus' 1992 action extravaganza, Talons Of The Eagle. As the opening credits play out over stock footage of Times Square, we meet a DEA agent named Tyler Wilson (Billy Blanks) just as he’s busting up a coke deal in the back of a fancy club. With that job out of the way, his boss sends him off to Toronto to help stop the flow of drugs coming into the United States from north of the border.

    Shortly after his arrival, Wilson meets Michael Reed (Jalal Merhi), a detective for the Toronto Police Department. Their goal is to train with a guy named Master Pan (played by a guy named Master Pan) and learn the Eagle Talon technique, and then go undercover into a an underground fight tournament run by a powerful drug dealer/casino tycoon named Mr. Li (played by a scene stealing James Hong). After strutting their stuff, winning their fights and then saving Li’s life, he brings them on as bodyguards to work under his security expert, Khan (Matthias Hues).

    As they go deeper into Li’s organization, they meet a woman named Cassandra (Priscilla Barnes), Li’s main squeeze, who has also been working undercover but who hasn’t been heard from in some time. The three then work together to get what they need to send Li behind bars and bust up his organization once and for all, but of course, it won’t be easy.

    Fast paced and lots of fun, if not exactly deep or original, Talons Of The Eagle is, quite literally, action packed. The fights and shootouts and chase scenes are almost non-stop, and while the plot might be more than a little light, that isn’t really the point. Rather, the film exists to show off Blanks and Merhi kicking ass, trading quips and looking cool, or at least cool by the standards of early nineties B-movie fashion, which is to say not very cool at all in the grand scheme of things. Very much a product of its time, the movie nevertheless offers up a lot of entertainment value and give low budget action movie fans exactly what they want.

    It’s also got some weirdness to it. Our heroes, at one point, steal a woman’s clothes while they should be learning the Eagle Talon technique, only to find out that the victim of their prank is their trainer. They also, more than once, argue about the merits of classical music versus pop music. It seems like the script is going for standard buddy cop movie dialogue with moments like this, and they’re kind of amusing. We also get to see Merhi make out with Barnes, who showers with her shirt on, though her shirt is slinky and white, which means it leaves nothing to the imagination making you wonder why this was done. We also get a neat little mistake in the movie when at one point you see Blanks and Merhi enter the same room twice in the same scene – oops!

    The acting is what it is. Blanks and Merhi have very little range but they move well and are pretty enthusiastic. They’re fine in their respective roles. Barnes, best known for her stint as Terri on Three’s Company, seems out of place here but delivers a decent enough turn as Li’s MILF-tastic pet. Hues throws his weight around really well and delivers a great fight with Blanks during the film’s finale, and Hong, being Hong, acts circles around everyone else. We also get small parts for Eric Lee and Harry Mok, both of whom appeared in the always amazing Ninja Busters!

    Talons of The Eagle – Blu-ray Review:

    Talons Of The Eagle arrives on a 50GB region free Blu-ray disc with an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen newly scanned and restored in 4k from its original 35mm negative and taking up 28.2GBs of space on the 50GB disc. Picture quality is fantastic, the colors really pop throughout the movie and the black levels are inky and deep. Skin tones look spot on and the image is pretty much spotless, preserving the grain but showing virtually no print damage. Detail, depth and texture are impressive in pretty much every frame and really, it's hard to imagine the movie looking any better than it does here.

    The English language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track, which comes with optional English subtitles, sounds very good. There are no problems to note with any hiss or any distortion, dialogue is crisp and clear and both the effects and the score all sound very good.

    The first of the extras on the disc is a commentary track with producer/actor Jalal Merhi that is, unfortunately, riddled with dead air. When he does talk, he discusses shooting on location in Toronto, working with Blanks and their relationship, bringing James Hong and Priscilla Barnes into the fold, the locations that were used, some of the fight choreography and lots more.

    A featurette titled Blood, Blades And Blanks proves to be a pretty entertaining making-of documentary featuring interviews with the cast and crew spread out over twenty-seven minutes. Appearing here are Merhi and Blanks but also Matthias Hues, Harry Mok and Mike Chow. This is a lot more fun than the commentary, everyone involved is quite enthusiastic about strolling down memory lane. We hear about the sets, locations, stunts, the different training that these guys have gone through, shooting in Toronto, the film’s modest budget and plenty more. Make sure you watch this one all the way through the end credits.

    Rounding out the extras is the original trailer, menus and chapter selection options.

    As far as the packaging goes, Vinegar Syndrome offers this release, part of their VSU limited edition line, (limited to 5,000 copies and not to be re-pressed) with a hand numbered bottom loading slipcover, a reversible cover sleeve and a double-sided poster.

    Talons of The Eagle - The Final Word:

    Talons of The Eagle doesn’t even try to reinvent the action movie wheel, but it is pretty fun and makes good use of an enjoyably goofy cast. Vinegar Syndrome’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds excellent and features some decent supplements are nice packaging. Recommended to the B-grade action movie aficionados out there.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Talons of The Eagle Blu-ray screen caps!

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