Iron Eagle IV: On the Attack (1995) — Deadliest final exam ever

“Nothing is impossible, Doug, if you believe in who you are. In who you’ve always been.”

Justin’s rating: I feel the need for slower speed

Justin’s review: Since you no doubt watch the entire Iron Eagle series on a weekly basis, you don’t need me to tell you that in the second movie, our hero Doug is shot down and killed by the Soviets in a shocking moment that will forever echo throughout our pop culture landscape. Memorial statues were erected, roads were renamed, and “Doug” became the most popular baby name of 1988.

But now it’s a decade later and returning director Sidney J. Furie really hopes you don’t remember that plot too well, because he’s retconning it all over the place in Iron Eagle IV: On the Attack. Not only did Doug survive the encounter, but he’s now transformed into a completely different actor (Jason Cadieux).

Still edgy and defiant as ever, Doug finds himself oh-so-reluctantly pressed into service once more by Chappy (Lou Gossett Jr.) — this time as a flight instructor for a school that caters to delinquent teens. Because when you’re dealing with hormone-crazy troubled teens, the best therapy is to give them a giant aircraft to play with. What insurance company would underwrite that?

Doug drags his feet in training the six teens in a competition against the local Air Force base crew in simulated combat games (which involves biplanes and paintballs for some reason?). But things get complicated quickly as one of the students gets involved with tank-using drug dealers and the rest uncover a military conspiracy to use chemical warfare against Cuba.

Suddenly, these plucky rapscallions find themselves in a struggle against a rogue group of pilots that’s using all of the military lingo that the screenwriter remembered from G.I. Joe. Doug grudgingly leads them into combat, Chappy’s got to keep the school from shuttering, and the kids try to evade the law from putting them into proper detention. Everyone’s committing just so many crimes but laughing it off even so. The stakes are crazy as they are high, and this makes for a very entertaining time.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve spent time in the Iron Eagleverse, but I do remember that I always liked the lunacy of making kid pilots the heroes. The odds are stacked against this rag-tag group of misfits, but they’re not giving up — and I’m here to cheer them on. It takes a whole lot of plot contrivances for the gang to get combat ready training planes in the air, but by the end, we get some zippy aerial dogfights and well-deserved victories.

Nobody seems to like this film much, but I’m here to attest that Iron Eagle IV is a truly great time with very little in the way of boring filler. It’s a last hurrah for both Chappy and Gossett Jr., and you can see everyone pulling out the stops to make it one to be remembered. Ridiculous? Sure, but that beats being grounded any day.


  • They are not pulling any Gs whatsoever, no matter what they say
  • Nothing like kicking off a movie with a retcon! Doug lives!
  • “You look like dog vomit, Bucky.”
  • “Being bitter’s not a job, Doug!”
  • “Wait a minute, I’ll go fire him.” HAH.
  • Watching all the kids fighting, Chappy deadpans to Doug, “Let’s go have a beer.”
  • Chappy waking them all up with the “Day-O” song
  • Doug falling asleep in the plane
  • Upbeat training montage
  • Chappy blasting jukebox music as they take tests
  • Been a while since I’ve seen a female movie character with a mullet
  • About time this movie have a fight involving drug dealers, heavy armor, and grenades
  • This soundtrack is so happy for everything
  • Bullets vs paintballs
  • “I’m sure this version of Doug Masters disappoints you. That’s too bad, because you had a hand in making him.”
  • Prison break! Using paintballs!
  • Chappy dressing to the nines out of the blue
  • Biting your nails hacking
  • They shot Rudy!
  • “Nice wasps.” Kid, do you KNOW wasps?
  • Uh, those are bees, not wasps. Clearly.
  • “You keep on running, son.”
  • Evil scientist lady is gleeful of this toxin… and then she dies from it seconds later
  • In the middle of the fight is the best time to listen to an inspirational speech on a cassette deck that your fighter jet has
  • “Where’s the pilot?” “He stepped out.”
  • You can use a cell phone to call a radio in a fighter jet
  • Suicide by toxic gas chamber

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