Picks and Pans Review: On Wings of Eagles

updated 05/19/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/19/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

NBC (Sun., May 18, 8 p.m. ET)

A-

By the end of Eagles, I was leaping off my chair because the ending's that exciting and because I was that happy, finally, to see a decent miniseries again. This five-hour, two-night mini tells the true story of how Texas tycoon H. Ross Perot and his employees rescued two colleagues from an Iranian prison in 1979 (nine months before the siege of our embassy there). Perot's MBA-Team of seven execs—"trained to charge dinners," H. Ross said, "not machine-gun emplacements"—and one amazingly resourceful and brave Iranian named Rashid worked under the command of a retired Green Beret to start riots, liberate an entire prison, outsmart Iranian villains, charm Kurd warriors and run to freedom. This is one great story. The mini takes liberties telling the tale, placing every good guy and bad guy on the same small speck of earth at the same moment. That's not quite how things happened in Ken Follett's book, on which the mini is based. Never mind. The contrivance and coincidence make for an exhilarating climax. In fact, forget all the faults: the stiff supporting cast and the klunker lines (Perot declares, "Whatever it takes, whoever it takes, I'll get them out!"). Burt Lancaster as former Green Beret Bull Simon, Richard Crenna as Perot and Paul (The Burning Bed) LeMat as an armed exec all do good work, even if they are upstaged by Esai (Bad Boys) Morales as Rashid, the real hero of the story. Trust me and watch Eagles. It's thrilling. And it feels good in these terrorized times to see our side win a battle without having to call in the Marines.

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