Iron Eagle is a 1986 action film directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Jason Gedrick and Louis Gossett, Jr. While it received mixed reviews, the film earned US$24,159,872 at the U.S. box office. Iron Eagle was followed by three sequels: Iron Eagle II, Aces: Iron Eagle III and Iron Eagle on the Attack, with Gossett, Jr. being the only actor to have appeared in all four films.
Doug Masters (Jason Gedrick), son of veteran U.S. Air Force pilot Col. Ted Masters (Tim Thomerson), is a music lover and an experienced civilian pilot, hoping to follow in his father's footsteps. Then, his hopes are dashed when he receives a notice of rejection from the Air Force Academy. Making matters worse is the news of his father being shot down and captured by an unnamed Arab nation while patrolling over the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the incident occurring over international waters, the Arab nation's court finds Col. Masters guilty of trespassing over their territory and sentences him to hang in three days.
Seeing that the U.S. government will do nothing to save his father's life, Doug decides to take matters into his own hands and come up with his own rescue mission. He requests the help of Col. Charles "Chappy" Sinclair (Louis Gossett, Jr.), a Vietnam veteran pilot currently on reserve command and an old friend of Col. Masters. Chappy is skeptical at first, but Doug convinces him that with his friends, he has full access to the airbase's intelligence and resources and he can give him an F-16 fighter for the mission. To Doug's surprise, he learns that Chappy had already begun planning the rescue operation himself after he learned the outcome of Col. Masters' trial. The combined efforts of Chappy and Doug's team result in a meticulously-planned mission and the procurement of two heavily-armed F-16 planes, with Doug flying the second unit.
On the day of Col. Masters' execution, Doug and Chappy fly their planes to the Mediterranean Sea and cross into the enemy nation's airspace. In the ensuing battle, they take out three MiG-23 fighters and destroy an airfield, but Chappy's plane is damaged by an anti-aircraft gun. He tells Doug to climb to a high altitude and play the tape he made him the night before, then his engine fails and Doug listens as Chappy's fighter goes down.
Chappy's recorded voice gives Doug encouragement and details that help him complete the mission and rescue his father. Making the enemy believe he is leading a squadron, Doug threatens the enemy nation into releasing his father from prison and moving him to the base's northernmost runway for pickup. Before Doug lands his plane, Col. Masters is shot by an Arab sniper, causing Doug to destroy the airbase and engulf the runway with napalm to keep the army at bay while he lands and picks up his wounded father.
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