4.7/10
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52 user 17 critic

Fire Birds (1990)

PG-13 | | Action, Adventure | 25 May 1990 (USA)
Elite Apache helicopter pilots are tasked with destroying powerful armed drug cartels operating in South America.

Director:

David Green

Writers:

Step Tyner (story), John K. Swensson (story) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicolas Cage ... Jake Preston
Tommy Lee Jones ... Brad Little
Sean Young ... Billie Lee Guthrie
Bryan Kestner ... Breaker
Illana Diamant ... Sharon Geller (as Illana Shoshan)
Dale Dye ... A.K. McNeil
Mary Ellen Trainor ... Janet Little
J.A. Preston ... General Olcott
Peter Onorati ... Rice
Charles Lanyer Charles Lanyer ... Darren Phillips
Marshall R. Teague ... Doug Daniels
Cylk Cozart Cylk Cozart ... Dewar Proctor
Charles Kahlenberg Charles Kahlenberg ... Oscar De Marco
Gregory Vahanian Gregory Vahanian ... Tom Davis
Robert Lujan Robert Lujan ... Steward Rives (as Bob Lujan)
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Storyline

The U.S. Government is willing to help any country that requires help in ridding themselves of drugs with support from the Army. Unfortunately, the drug cartels have countered that offer by hiring one of the best air-combat mercenaries and have armed him with a Scorpion attack helicopter. The army decides to send in its best people from its Apache Air Combat school. But first they have to be taught how to fly air-to-air combat missions Written by Michael O'Keefe <epamok@epa.ericsson.se>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The best just got better.

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 May 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aguilas de fuego See more »

Filming Locations:

Tucson, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$22,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,358,761, 27 May 1990, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$14,760,451
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The bar scene was filmed at VIP Showclub located at 5120 E Speedway in Tucson, which was a topless bar at the time. The club was made to look like a regular nightclub with a live band, as seen in the movie. Filming took place over three days. Location is currently Ten's Showclub. See more »

Goofs

An OH-58D (The helicopter flown by Sean Young's character) can not be flown single-pilot in the left seat. Many of the Mission-Related controls are only available to the Right-hand seat (Pilot-in-command seat.) See more »

Quotes

[to Brad Little]
Jake Preston: Well that's very big of you, Little.
See more »

Connections

Features Crack USA: County Under Siege (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Do You Remember
Written and Performed by Phil Collins
Courtesy of Atlantic Recording Corp.
by Arrangement with Warner Special Products / Virgin Records Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A true car crash of a film. I couldn't look away
15 June 2015 | by bowmanblueSee all my reviews

'Wings of the Apache' is a truly awful film. I can find little good to say about it. During the first five minutes I was 'on the edge of my seat' only in a bad, jaw-droppingly amazed kind of way. I've watched many bad films over the year. I normally turn them off. However, I sat all the way through this one's one hour and seventeen minute runtime. I really couldn't avert my eyes.

Most people describe 'Wings of the Apache' as 'Top Gun with helicopters.' Yeah, I think that's a reasonable description, only Top Gun was watchable for different reasons. The opening five minutes I spoke about is basically Nicholas Cage narrating over a bland action scene involving a helicopter dogfight over some mountains. Now, I'm no expert, but I seem to remember the first rule of storytelling is 'show, don't tell.' Yet Cage just tells us what's happening in a monotone voice. Apparently, the drugs cartels are now using helicopters to shoot down American helicopters. Does this actually happen in real life? Never mind, it does here. And Nicholas Cage – being the only guy who's seen the cartel's helicopter in action – must lead the charge against the lone chopper.

He's ably aided by Tommy Lee Jones – a great actor in his own right, now reduced to barking orders in the most stereotypical 'drill instructor' way possible. Plus there's a love interest. Guess where that subplot goes? So Nick, Tommy and the token woman must train to fight the baddie then fight the baddie then save the day. Hardly inspiring, but I think the most unforgivable element of the film is the editing. It's just bad. It's like every shot has been filmed separately to every other one and then spliced together – badly. There's a slight pause between when someone answers the person original speaking, making conversations seem stilted (assuming the dialogue spoken was any good to begin with – and nine times out of ten it isn't).

So, in case you haven't got the drift of what I've been saying, 'Wings of the Apache' is just bad. And I watched it all until the last credit rolled. Now I've seen it, I wonder why I did and yet I'm also curious as to why I may – one day – even watch it again, just to remind myself how bad it was. It's bad, but bordering on that so-bad-it's-good kind of way. If you're prepared for that, it will certainly keep your eyes fixed on the screen for exactly one hour and seventeen minutes.


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