Hard Eagle (1993)

Directed by:
Harold Wells

Writing credits:
Steven Seagal (story)
Harold Wells

Genre: Action Drama (more)

Tagline: Justice will soar.

Plot Outline: John Flying Eagle is forced to leave his home on a Utah reservation when it is illegally bought by the U.S. government to be used as an eagle hunting preserve for the super-rich& (more) (view trailer)

User Comments: Despite great action, Seagal's "message" film gets bogged down in phony Native American (more)

User Rating: A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!? A STAR!!!! A STAR!!!! NO STAR!!!! NO STAR!!!! 5.3 / 10 (4,373 votes)

Credited cast:
Steven Seagal....John Flying Eagle
Geoffrey Lewis....Senator Ronald Blastman
Jeff Fahey....Gene Wonderful Kid
Sandra Hess....May Raspberry Peanut
Jimmy Smits....Andy Corn Tail
Ally Walker....Tasha West
Jerry Orbach....The Wind Laugher
Sho Kosugi....Barbara
Mason Adams....Arthur Peppers
Earvin "Magic" Johnson....Irving Magic Wolf
(more)

Also Known As: Bloodfeather (Canada)
Runtime: USA: 99 min
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color (Econoluxe)
Sound Mix: Tri-Stereo

Goofs:
  • Native Americans do not eat their dead. (more )
Memorable Quotes:

John Soaring Eagle: This land belongs to my people, Senator, and we don't believe in private ownership.
Senator Ronald Blastman: Maybe my friend Benjamin Franklin would change your mind.
John Soaring Eagle: You can keep your money. Benjamin Franklin slaughtered my people by the thousands, your honor. (more)

AMDB Trivia:
  • Director Harold Wells refused to use actual Native Americans in the cast because he was worried that they would "wander off."
  • Leading actor Steven Seagal wrote the original story outline, according to his 1995 autobiography Aikido Monk: The Story of One Brave Man's Quest for Harmonious Non-judgment of All Living Things and People and How it Made That Man Famous and Spiritually Pure, "on top of a glorious big rock."
  • Director's Trademark: Half-chewed food spilling from dead person's mouth.
  • When test audiences complained that the film was paced too slowly, Harold Wells went back to the editing room and removed every fifth frame. Curiously, he chose not to remove the half-hour subplot in which John Flying Eagle re-panels his den.
  • The "Petulapwotamy Nation" is not a real Indian tribe.
  • Two hundred barrels of oil were poured in Utah's Mantua Lake during the production on a dare from the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Jimmy Smits insisted on always being in character, even between takes and off the set. "We played friends in the movie," recalls Jeff Fahey, "and he would act like my friend all the time. He was always talking to me. I was like, 'get over it, Smits, you're not my friend.'"
  • The character May Raspberry Peanut was named after Steven Seagal's two Negro Terriers, Raspberry Peanut and May Raspberry Peanut.
  • Although Native American groups boycotted and heavily protested Hard Eagle due to its appalling inaccuracies and its portrayal of modern Native Americans as cannibals, Jerry Orbach was nominated for a Congressional Native Spirit award for his portrayal of The Wind Laugher. "Basically, I just did my Indian voice," recalls Orbach, "But I was definitely amused to be honored by a subjugated race."
  • Andy Corn Tail's spirit animal, which is referred to by characters as a badger, is actually a swamp tapir.
  • Due to the heat on the Utah set, the ice cream eaten by Earvin "Magic" Johnson in the shopping center is actually chemically hardened elk tallow dusted with sulfur. After eating the substance, Johnson was branded permanently ineligible for health insurance.
  • Budgetary restrictions necessitated that Jerry Orbach only be filmed from the waist up. His lower torso and leg contracts were still owned by Paramount, and Wells' fledgling Bison Ultrafilms company could not afford to buy them out.
  • The notoriously difficult Sandra Hess repeatedly walked off the set after the filming was completed.
  • Hard Eagle was filmed on a real Indian reservation, which was dismantled and sold at auction when the production was complete.
  • Director trademark: Characters drinking urine as if it's normal.
  • Extra security had to be hired for the production after a marauding band of savage Mormons swept in on horseback and stole Mason Adams' baby.
  • Sho Kosugi, whose character played a much greater part in the original screenplay, was demoted to a female role due to a conflicting commitment to film Ninja Revenge II: Ninja Revenge Vengeance (1993).
  • Steven Seagal was rushed to hospital after falling off of a six-story building and landing directly on a horrifying vertical steel spike. Miraculously, his impalement was superficial; the hole was bunged with clay and he was gingerly freed into the night air, trembling.
  • Tom Berenger offered himself the role of Gene Wonderful Kid, but refused.
  • An economical filming schedule meant that Ally Walker only had to be unpacked and revived twice.
  • The production was halted for two days when stylists ran out of treacle for Steven Seagal's hair.
  • Harold Wells made Jimmy Smits cry by telling him that the lunch meat at the catering roundabout was made from baby anteaters.
  • Director trademark: Breasts.
  • Steven Seagal was furious when he learned that over sixty bald eagles were killed during the making of the film. In the director's commentary track on the 1998 DVD release, Harold Wells explains that "we didn't tell Seagal we were using real eagles, he would have shit his self. But what the fuck, a real eagle and a permit to be cruel to it costs way less than a really good fake eagle. We must have shot fifty takes of the scene where Geoffrey Lewis beats up that eagle and tears it apart. He kept asking for more takes. He loved it, he loved the feeling of power, I think. Plus we needed to kill about a dozen more eagles for the feathers on all those Indian& you know, those hats. We got really good at killing eagles, between Geoffrey and I. About as good as anyone ever has been, maybe."
  • The Indian reservation upon which Hard Eagle was filmed sits beside the very same lake in which Steven Seagal's sideburns were caught.
  • Algerian-born theorist Jacques Derrida was flown from France at great expense to oversee the filming of the "pissing contest" sequence.

– Dr. David Thorpe (@Arr)

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