Wings of the Apache Review

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Ready to help any country that needs to be rid of drug-lords (excluding themselves, of course) the US of A sends its flighty crusaders from the Apache Air Combat School down to somewhere in the jungle where the baddies have an even bigger and better Scorpion attack helicopter. Better teach them how to fly air-to-air combat missions then...


Released and quickly buried in America as 'Firebirds', presumably because someone realised that it's actually all about attack helicopters and thus doesn't have many wings in it, this cut-rate Top Gun didn't fare much better under it's new title in the UK.

Nicolas Cage, looking terminally bored, is a hotshot chopper pilot whose buddies have been zapped in an engagement with a terrorist flier working for a South American cocaine cartel. He trains under hard-bitten old-timer Tommy Lee Jones to take a squadron of Apache helicopters in on a strike mission to zap the bad guys in the jungle where they live, but not before we have to go through the regulation military movie bullstuff - Cage rekindling his romance with pushy lady pilot Young and aging Jones trying to come to terms with his slowing-down. This takes up about an hour before we get airborne again for a finale which busily packs in lots of action without ever getting even close to exciting.

British director David Green, who was previously responsible for Buster, was obviously shaping up to be the Michael Winner of the 90s with this thrill-free wet hanky of a movie (as it happens, Green only went on to make one more film ten years later, the instantly forgettable Breathtaking). Performers of the calibre of Cage, Young and Jones - none of whom are at anything like their best - raise the expectations, but this is essentially the kind of action crapper you ought to find quietly creeping around in your local rental shop.

Co-written and produced by Dale Dye, the military adviser on films from The Fourth War to Platoon, this is precisely the sort of inoffensive recruiting poster of a movie the US armed forces just love Hollywood to make.

Wings Of The Apache: Damp squib