When Eagles Strike

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When Eagles Strike
Directed byCirio H. Santiago
Produced byCirio H. Santiago
Roger Corman
Written byMichael Kinney
StarringChristian Boeving
Stacy Keach
Eddie Garcia
Rey Malonzo
Monsour del Rosario
Music byNonong Buencamino
CinematographyHenry Crum
Edited byRoy Stark
Concorde-New Horizons
Premiere Productions
Distributed byNew Concorde
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • April 20, 2004 (2004-04-20)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States, Philippines
LanguageEnglish, Filipino

When Eagles Strike (aka Operation Balikatan in the Philippines) is a 2003 war action film starring ex-bodybuilder Christian Boeving, Stacy Keach, Davee Youngblood, Nate Adams, Eddie Garcia, Rey Malonzo, and Monsour del Rosario. It was directed/co-produced by Cirio H. Santiago, and also shot on the Philippines due to low budget. Roger Corman executively produced the movie.

The film received mostly negative reviews, and the response for Boeving's portrayal of a classically written action hero has been mixed.


A group of American commandos go on a mission to save American politicians who were kidnapped and held on a forgotten Malaysian island. Tough-guy lieutenant Andrew Pierce commands the group. During the mission it's revealed there's a traitor in the ranks of the team. Consequently, American soldiers are betrayed and captured by the opponents, who then interrogate and brutally torture team's lead Andrew.


Production and release[edit]

Subic Bay in the Philippines where most of the movie was shot.

The film was shot on the Philippines (including Manila and Subic Bay) early in 2003, with shoots starting on February 4.[1] American as well as Filipino actors were cast in the film, with ex-bodybuilder Christian Boeving taking the lead. Boeving makes his own stunts during the filming, and he stated in the interview for AHF Magazine: "I get my ass severely kicked in the movie, which is something I'm sure a lot of people would like to do to me."[2] The producers devised his role as "very physical," and he spent months preparing for his performance. Because of those torturous trainings, he was in the best condition of his entire life when the shooting occurred.[3] The actor based his image in film (a muscular commando) on Arnold Schwarzenegger's image from the late 80s: mostly on Major "Dutch" Schaefer from Predator (1987) and Colonel John Matrix from Commando (1985).[3] There was an alternative edition of the interrogation-torture scene, which includes a shirtless Boeving being tortured longer and more violently, in a tribute to the infamous torture sequence from the cult classic action film Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), starring Sylvester Stallone. The scene was cut out of the film's final version.[3]

Originally, action movie actor Matt McColm was considered to star as Andrew Pierce, based on his muscular physique.[3] Boeving took the role. Oscar-winner Jack Palance was supposed to appear in the movie but is not seen in its final version.[1]

When Eagles Strike was released on June 11, 2003 in the Philippines. Then the project was released directly-to-DVD in such countries as Russia (under the title Когда орел атакует), Brasil (as O Ataque dos Águias; the film was tagged as based on a true story), and Japan (as Codename Eagle). In April 2004 the film was released on DVD in the United States. The movie was released as Black Hawk Down sequel in Taiwan.[4][3]


The film received mixed to generally negative critical reception, currently holding 33% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Scott Weinberg from eFilmCritic.com concluded: "One might be tempted to classify this movie as 'ripped from the headlines' when in fact 'ripped from the trash heap' would be an infinitely more accurate assessment. (...) If (...) you're looking for a solid war movie, just keep on walkin'." Weinberg called his review of When Eagles Strike "Where's John Rambo when we need him?", and awarded the film one star out of four.[5] MonsterHunter believed that characters in the movie are "noisily dull," and named Christian Boeving's lead "Uncle Sam on steroids," saying that "his massive arms are the only real development his character has."[6]

An editor of Actionfreunde called Boeving "a walking muscle", a man "as charismatic as a slowly drying wallpaper piece."[7] In The German Lexicon of International Films it is stated that When Eagles Strike is a clichéd, stereotypical action movie riddled with references to the September 11 attacks.[8] A reviewer from action cinema-related website Yippee-ki-yay, Motherf*cker! believed that the movie lacked the element of surprise but praised Boeving as its sole positive aspect. "Boeving is refreshing as a macho-type commando. (...) He's a resurrected 80s action movie hero—dripping sweat, super handsome, running through the jungles in a tight undershirt."[9]


A sequel, When Eagles Strike 2 − Mission: Survive, was written and supposed to filmed in 2004 as a television film, but the project was canceled. Lieutenant Andrew Pierce was the main character once again.[3]


  1. ^ a b Mayor Rey Malonzo, binalikan ang pag-aartista. Pilipino Star Ngayon. Philstar Group. Retrieved on 2020-03-18.
  2. ^ Christian Boeving Makes Movie Magic For 2004. AHF for Men. Canusa Group, Inc. December 2003/January 2004. Retrieved on 2020-03-18.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Operation Balikatan (2003) − Trivia − IMDb. IMDb. Amazon. Retrieved on 2020-03-18.
  4. ^ "黑鷹計畫2 − (When Eagles Strike)". ivideo.com.tw. Retrieved on 2015-02-08.
  5. ^ Weinberg, Scott (2004-05-04). Movie Review - When Eagles Strike. eFilmCritic.com. Retrieved on 2012-02-08.
  6. ^ When Eagles Strike (2003). MonsterHunter. Retrieved on 2020-03-17.
  7. ^ When Eagles Strike | Actionfreunde. Actionfreunde. Retrieved on 2020-03-18.
  8. ^ Das Zweitausendeins Filmlexikon: When Eagles Strike. zweitausendeins.de (de). Retrieved 2020-03-20.
  9. ^ Nie taki diabeł straszny | Yippee-ki-yay, Motherf*cker!. Yippee-ki-yay, Motherf*cker. Retrieved on 2020-03-18.

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